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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Tangled Web
Author:
Richard Power
ISBN:
0 7897 2443 X
Publisher:
Que
Pages:
Price:
Reviewer:
Francis Glassborow
Subject:
security; internet
Appeared in:
12-6
While this book is not, as far as I know, fiction, it is a collection of stories - ones that happened.

The subtitle isTales of Digital Crime from the Shadows of Cyberspacewhich is a fair description of what you will find in it.

There are eighteen chapters and 3 appendices divided into six parts. The first appendix concerns U.S. Laws and International Treaties. In one sense that is the kind of material that often annoys those living elsewhere but in this context I think it is reasonable as the body of the book is not confined to the U.S.

Appendix C, 'Resources and Publications' does largely focus on U.S. based material. As a result, it the listings of periodicals and conferences are of less value to those outside the U.S. but the online resources and books are helpful to all. It would be useful if the author and publishers would extend this appendix electronically so that worldwide information was available from a single site.

I am not going to say very much about the body of the book. One runs a gamut of reactions while reading it between amazement and depression. Some chapters depend heavily on the author's personal perspective while others are more objective.

For example Part IV - Muggers and Molesters in Cyberspace - contains two chapters. The first concerns the increasingly disturbing 'crime' of identity theft. In this chapter, alongside a description and examples of this crime we have some advice on how to deal with the problem should you become a victim.

The second chapter - Child Pornography on the Internet - relates the efforts of the Swedish police to get to grips with the problem. The description is superficial and could largely be summarized as 'We need to do something about it, but current law makes it difficult.' I think that there is far more that could, and arguably should, be covered in this section and the second chapter does not fit the general approach of the book.

Certain aspects of the presentation of the book irritate me. The publishers seem to have forgotten that the prime purpose of the body of the text of a book is that it be read. Playing games such as printing the first page of a chapter on a gray background is silly.

Over all I think this book deserves to be widely read by IT professionals though I am less certain about readers with little or no understanding of IT in general and the Web in particular.