Bad Reviews: Special Monitoring Chips

I love to read reviews of books or other things on Amazon where someone gave it 1 or 2 stars. I figure these people have an axe to grind, and if they complain about shipping or the size of the print or whatever, maybe the book is fine; where if they complain about content, then I’m interested in what they complain about. For example, very helpful is a physicist reviewing a physics book and complaining about the accuracy of the science. This is great for someone like me to see because I’m not a physicist and I would read the book to learn. If the information is not accurate, I will not learn anything and worse, I will learn incorrect information.

So with that I’m reading reviews of Richard Clarke’s book Cyber War from 2010. You may remember Richard Clarke from such events as “9/11”. As far as I know he’s still the only person to apologize for failures leading to 9/11. Anyway his book “Cyber War” discusses a pet issue for Mr. Clarke, “cyber security”. But Amazon reviewer James D. Crabtree wants you to avoid Richard Clarke’s book, because “politics”. His main arguments against you reading the book are political, in that Richard Clarke is political, since he’s worked in government and discusses presidents he has worked for…so, mainly since James gets the impression that Clinton and Obama come off better on these issues than Bush, you should not read Clarke’s book.

But what really caught my eye was this:

“[Richard Clarke] talked about how the government wanted special monitoring chips put in computers so the government could ‘wiretap without a warrant’…which is ‘what Bush did'”

The reviewer then goes on to mock how foolish this sounds or how it makes no sense. But yet here we are, a few years later, and oh look, “special monitoring chips“. But I bet given the political motivations driving this reviewer, he was still flabbergasted at the story about these chips, likely blames Obama and exonerates Bush, thinks this all just came out of Snowden, doesn’t give Richard Clarke credit for mentioning it years before and in broad daylight in the book he doesn’t like, and is generally a civil libertarian nowadays after cheerleading for the Patriot Act and whatever. Sigh. Politics.

So anyway, I like 1 and 2-star reviews.