In the vein Michael Lewis and Doug Stanton
THE IDENTITY MAN
by McKenzie Funk
St. Martin’s Press, TBA
The subject is « data fusion, » the detailed digital dossiers built on us by private companies, sold for profit, and used for an increasingly wide and disturbing array of purposes by the healthcare, insurance, and mortgage industries, to name only a few, as well as by ICE to track down illegal immigrants, and by the criminal justice system to decide who will become a criminal in the future. Journalist McKenzie Funk has found a great angle in the character of Hank Asher, a former drug dealer who created the first data fusion system and whose own life was as interesting and chaotic as the business he created. As we watch both stories unfold, we are forced to examine our uneasy, and unwitting, relationship with both the convenience and intrusions this technology has wrought. Asher’s story leaves us with the essential question: If your past no longer belongs to you, what about your future?
McKenzie Funk‘s last book, “WINDFALL: The Booming Business of Global Warming”, won a PEN literary Award and was shortlisted for an Orion and a Rachel Carson book Award. It was featured on Fresh Air, Morning Joe, BBC and many other media outlets, and was named book of the year by New Yorker.com, Mother Jones, Salon and Amazon. He is a Knight-Wallace Fellow and and Open Society Fellow and writes for The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, and National Geographic, among others.