First: 1984, by George Orwell
1984 has a unique and fascinating construction. While tackling the fantastically ambitious topic of a distopian future world, it does it in a way that feels very easy to understand. It is embraceable; it can be read in large chunks. And when you get into it, it is very hard to deny said large chunks.
So read it, just for that.
But there is more to it. I find myself all the time comparing certain things to 1984. Everyday, I hear about increased oversight in this committe, on that group of companies, on this particular branch of government. There seems to be more people verifying things than actually doing things. And then, you have this whole Snowden [+Edward Snowden] debacle, and well, we can thereby infer that this isn't a temporary issue.
I had an argument with a friend of mine recently. A friendly argument with a friend of mine. As you may know, the government is building a huge data center somewhere out there. In and amongst it, we argued as to why the government was collecting data. His position was that there was nothing illegal about collecting the data, and that it could be useful somehow. I argued that the point of collecting data is indeed to use it, somehow, but in some way that I have little or no control of.
Yet, there it goes. Everyday, more oversight, less privacy. And what makes me think of 1984 is the willingness that comes with the increased oversight. People, by and large, are demanding increased oversight, control, etc. What if these demands were consolidated into some program, say a PRISM, or Big Brother? Aha!
So read it.