In the beginning of chapter 7, Singh makes several predictions about the future roles of the Internet, many of which are true now. It’s definitely true that the Internet has become a significant, if not the most popular medium for exchange, with a massive volume of transactions nowadays taking place solely online. Email has indeed become more popular than conventional mail, and online tax declarations do exist, but for the most part voting still occurs at physical locations. However, Singh’s claim that information is the most valuable commodity is the truest and most significant of his claims. Now, a surprising (and scary) amount of information about nearly every individual can be found online, and it doesn’t even take that much digging to find it. If you really wanted to, you could easily search through Facebook’s repositories of all your information that they collect (and sell!). Digital information has become extremely valuable to advertising companies, because they’re willing to pay a lot of money to determine the best way to sell you stuff.

Going along those lines, the elevation of the importance of cryptography is mainly due to the negative consequences of others getting a hold of your information. The most obvious bad example is when identity thefts use your information for malicious reasons, but other concerns include government surveillance and targeted advertising. It’s pretty clear why you wouldn’t want the government to surveil you, and encryption can help you get around that. It’s less clear why targeted advertising is bad, but the reason they can deliver ads tailored to your interests is because they’ve done extensive research on your browsing history to figure out what you might be interested in, and have probably paid other websites for their data too. While this may not seem terrible, it should be unsettling to everyone that an extensive online profile has been compiled on pretty much everyone who uses the Internet.