A context for a novel; working title ‘Malleable’

“The connectivity that is the heart of globalisation can be exploited by states with hostile intent to further their aims.[…] The risks at stake are profound and represent a fundamental threat to our sovereignty.”

Alex Younger, head of MI6, December, 2016; cited in “The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked” by Carole Cadwalladr.
Fear of social media image.
Sourced from HASDAC: https://www.hastac.org/blogs/shawnclark101yahoocom/2015/12/10/through-eyes-social-media and also: National Council (see https://algonquincollegesocialmedia.wordpress.com/category/com0011-introduction-to-social-media/) Creative Commons License.

Though it may seem strange to the members of this House investigation committee (no doubt you’ve skimmed ahead) to be required to read what seems essentially a ‘story’ about gaming (you’ll discover that it is one game, called Burris, in particular), it requires little synthesis to link this digitised gaming environment with concerns over dataset harvesting via social media and the manipulation of our digital selves. The quote from Alex Younger, then head of MI6, will no doubt become pertinent for you fairly soon. I should add that the documents herein will extend certain parameters noted in the MI6 statement; what is at stake is more than national sovereignty and national conflicts; what the text will elucidate is that the ‘hostile intent’ is extra-national, often in fact—in the US—domestic. The intent is hostile because it appears innocuous (hence the gaming paradigm, for one); what is being manipulated are the tastes and actions of a group that Salman Rushdie once called ‘malleable’. The statement by the then head of MI6 is not, I would ask you to believe, dated; merely an indication of how effectively certain interests have protected their intent, which is quite simply a fundamental re-ordering of social orders based on their goals. We have been successfully diverted and duped over the course of at least three presidential elections, perhaps longer.

The documents contained herein are:
1. An account of one player’s experiences of and in what is called a ‘rogue game’ among the gaming fraternity, something that has become almost de rigueur for testing beta products for Gaming Companies in the last 7 or 8 years. (Phantom Gaming—the makers of Burris—were one of the first companies to use the rogue game strategy in this way.) This account constitutes the bulk of the text you are holding in your hands. Please note that this document exists only on one laptop; 2 back up copies are held in secure locations elsewhere. The laptop is not connected in any way with the Internet; you will understand my reasons for this once the full implications of what you hold in your hand become apparent.
The player’s name is Jon Seche and he has been interviewed by me 5 times over the past 15 months. Some of his story is thus a second hand construction by me via notes I made during the interviews, particularly the first ones. Other parts of it are written accounts by Jon; he made the suggestion to me that he write up—as narrative—game play scenarios he experienced. I agreed.
2. The smaller part of this text is documents I have culled from outside the narrative of Jon’s game play. I have inserted these (the quote from MI6 is one such) at various points into Jon’s narrative; a kind of puzzle assembled much as I did prior to communicating with intelligence agencies in the States and elsewhere. Forgive what might be a narrative conceit on my part. I wanted you to read this as revelation; a kind of digital bildungsroman. These OUTSIDE documents include transcripts from other journalist’s work, FaceBook pages and profiling lists, QandA from blogs and gaming sites—including Phantom Gaming’s site, explanations of gaming technology (mind boggling what it has come to) and methodologies, several company memos which have been passed—sometimes at risk to the person passing it on— to me, and other pertinent materials.

I am to appear at the Hearing in October; any questions arising from your reading can be sent to me via contacts the FBI has established and delivered in separate documents to you ( I am sorry if this is reading like some pot boiler spy thriller), or, if not pressing, on my appearance at the hearing.
A note on the ordering of this text. I hope that it will be clear to you as you read what lies within (or inside) the narrative of game play that is the heart of this text—a key to the meaning of the narrative inside the game is to remember that Jon Seche is the player; the character he adopts in the game is one named Norman Mene (his I in game play is actually thus both Seche and his character – confusing, I know, but such is on-line identity ambiguity); what is outside Seche’s game narrative will be so noted by myself.

Linda Adyano, Journalist, Sentinel, September 2, 2028

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