Telis Demos reviews No Place to Hide by Robert O’Harrow, in The New Republic:
To veteran Washington Post reporter Robert O’Harrow, September 11 was the tipping point in a battle for civil liberties. For decades, private companies and hush-hush government projects have been expanding and improving their ability to gather information about American citizens. When the planes hit the towers, the political will to use these capabilities was born, and since then a frightening new surveillance society has arisen, according to No Place to Hide. In anecdote after anecdote, O’Harrow details the incredible range and variety of information being collected, and how the FBI and other agencies have begun learning to put it to use. He explores new fingerprint and eye-scan technologies that the government can now match up to terrorist watch lists. He notes that the Department of Homeland Security has awarded record-setting contracts to private firms to analyze the disparate consumer data floating around, tag people who make suspicious purchases and travel arrangements, and create actionable police reports. O’Harrow recounts many instances where this information wasn’t used against terrorists but rather in routine police investigations, for which the post-9/11 intelligence reforms were never intended.