March 24th, 2015
1984 Essay #4
Technology and privacy is a very controversial topic. In the book, 1984, by George Orwell, the nation of Oceana is controlled by a totalitarian government whose leader is “Big Brother”. Every corner of the city is surrounded with propaganda promoting the slogan, “Big Brother is Watching You”. Streets and homes are filled with telescreens that can witness one’s every move and can never be turned off. Today’s advance of technology is slowly taking society closer to the world of Big Brother because of how easy it has become to access an individual’s personal information through a phone or computer. Our technology is evidently taking society closer to the world of Big Brother with the continuous and rapid advancement of phones. In the article, “That’s No Phone, That’s my Tracker”, Peter Maass and Megha Rajapogalan focus on surveillance technology that we voluntarily carry with us at all times. Almost all smartphones have advanced geographic technology, allowing cellular systems to constantly check and record the location of all phones on their networks. Applications like Google Maps, Twitter, Instagram, and Snap Chat know when and where we go somewhere. It is even more disturbing than it sounds, “New research suggests that by cross-referencing your geographical data with that of your friends, it is possible to predict your future whereabouts with a much higher degree of accuracy” (Maas/Rajagopalan). Privacy settings on many phones pinpoint locations without notifying the user, which highly imitates the telescreens in 1984. Like the telescreens, which watch people’s every move 24/7, our lives are dominated by cellphones, tablets, laptops, and computers that are real-life two way mirrors to most of people’s lives. The biggest direct similarity of today’s society to Big Brothers, is that our government is able to monitor everyone’s phone calls. Our texting vocabulary is also extremely similar to the purpose of Newspeak, whose point is to shorten vocabulary. IPhones have made it easier than ever to collect the nation’s fingerprints, with the “Touch ID”, which uses your fingerprint to access your phone. Cameras on everyday items we use like cellphones, mp3 players, watches, alarms, and cars make it easier for the government to get our information and watch the user at literally every moment of the day. In, 1984, Orwell impressively details how disturbing the telescreens are, “There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment”. The telescreens on streets mirror “the ever-present surveillance cameras that spy on the average person as they go about their daily routine” (Beale). This is not identical to Big Brothers world, but is very similar to it. Our society and the rapid progression of technology has enabled our government and corporations to constantly and broadly collect data from individuals with disregard towards privacy. For that reason, our government is slowly taking us closer to the world of Big Brother. Most people do not think much about it, but the truth is that people are being watched, tracked and monitored more today than at any other time in human history (Synder).
Beale, Lewis. "We're Living '1984' Today." CNN. Cable News Network, 3 Aug. 2013. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.
Maass, Peter, and Megha Rajagopalan. "That’s No Phone. That’s my Tracker." The New York Times. The New York Times, 14 July 2012. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.
Synder, Michael. "So Are We Living in 1984?" Info Wars. The American Dream, 20 July 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
"So Are We Living in 1984?" The New Yorker. N.P., 11 June 2013. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.