1984-Is There Privacy?

Topics: Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell, Identity theft Pages: 8 (1398 words) Published: December 19, 2005
Is there Privacy?

In 1984 George Orwell describes how no matter where you go in Oceania there is

a telescreen right there watching you. Everything you do say or sometimes even think,

Big Brother will know. 1984 was written in 1949 and Orwell hinted at technology which

never even existed. Perhaps he saw it coming because of how popular the television was

becoming. There are many ideas in this novel that Orwell predicts. Some came true in

1984, some did not, but today in United States there is an issue of privacy similar to the

one that is described in 1984. Of course technology didn't develop exactly the way

Orwell predicted it would, but he wasn't too far off.

In Oceania, Big Brother was in control. No one knew who he was or whether he

even existed. Everyone was taught to love Big Brother without question, so no one asked.

Winston would see things written all around the city, things like "BIG BROTHER IS

WATCHING" (6). And it was true, Big Brother was always watching. He had eyes

everywhere, and those eyes were the telescreens. They were inside people's houses, in

public places, at work, everywhere there was a blank wall. Because of this people were

hesitant to say or do things that might seem like they are against Big Brother in any way.

In one instance in the novel a woman is walking toward Winston. He sees that her hand is

hurt and she falls because of the wounded hand and Winston helps her up. But the

woman hides the pain because she knows that any sign of weakness might get her in

trouble. She knows that someone is always watching.

Early in the novel we see that Winston is annoyed by the telescreens constantly

monitoring his entire life. In the morning when woken up, by the telescreens, "Winston sprang to attention in front of the telescreen, upon which the image of a youngish

woman, scrawny but muscular, dressed in a tunic and gym shoes, had already appeared."

(27). This is not the way anyone wants to be woken up, but in Oceania it is for the party

to decide how it will get its "subjects" to work on time and get them in shape. At 7:15 in

the morning Winston can barely get out of bed, and has a coughing fit, from which he

can barely recover by lying on his back and taking deep breaths, after which he has to

exercise in front of the telescreen which controls his life.

Thank god that we don't have telescreens at this day and age, or do we? It's a

common believe in America that we, the people, are free. But now is becoming more like

the novel

Unlike the malignant state agency of Orwell's fiction, though, the new millennium

has democratized surveillance. Anyone can spy. That is particularly evident in the

plummeting price and widening availability of covert audio and video

surveillance devices. (Wood)

"The use of false identities has emerged as a cultural phenomenon."-Writes James

Gleick in his essay "Big Brother Is Us" (362). With the dawn of the internet age it is now

very easy to share information with other people and prove who you are electronically, or

is it? It is also very simple to get your private information into the wrong hands .It seems

that the more advanced and complex the devices we use, the easier our lives get.

Sometimes these ways of proving identity are not always flawless but rather very

indiscreet and revealing. Today, most kids and some adults communicate through

Internet chat because it is fast, easy, free aside from internet charges.

To meet someone new online is incredibly simple, but is that someone really who

he/she really says they are? "THE NYPD YOUTH officer busted in an Internet sex sting

sent a slew of dirty messages to someone he thought was a teenage boy, court papers

revealed yesterday" (Yaniv). This headline appeared on April 3rd, 2005. Apparently

actual NYPD officer (Michael Costello, 39) tried...
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