Interview with Scott Allan Morrison, Author of Terms of Use

22 Jan 2016
Tell us a little bit about your new release, Terms of Use.

TERMS OF USE is a thriller that explores the dark side of social media, where big Internet companies use our data to analyze and manipulate our thoughts and actions. On one level it’s an action-packed who-done-it that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. But it also speaks to Americans’ growing anxiety over data privacy and the rise of social engineering. TERMS OF USE began as a thought exercise: during my many years as a Silicon Valley reporter, I always wondered how we could trust the companies that amass, store and analyze all our data. What might happen if the wrong people assumed control of these companies (and every electronic bread crumb we’ve left behind)? How bad could it get? As you see in TERMS OF USE, things could get pretty wild.

Say you now host a literary-themed talk show (congrats). Who would be your first guest? What would you ask that person?

It would be toss up between Stephen King and the late Gabriel Garcia Marquez (assuming he could communicate from the great beyond). They both have/had incredible imagination and I’d love to know how they conjure and coax their ideas, how they mold those ideas into finished sentences and whether they have any tips for new authors (like me) who haven’t been able to fully harness and/or manage that creative process.

What books are currently on your night stand?

“Who Owns the Future?” by Jaron Lanier and “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt” by Michael Lewis.

What’s your favorite quote or scene from Terms of Use?

“And it raises a very disturbing question: If you make a decision that was a foregone conclusion based on the stream of information you’ve been fed, have you really exercised free will?”

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Do unto others… It all seems to work out pretty well if you just follow that one golden rule.

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Credit: Jeffrey Davis


Scott Allan Morrison is the author of the new book Terms of Use.

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Sarah Pannenberg