Privacy: Nineteen Eighty-four and Technology Essay

Submitted By pshah6394
Words: 2745
Pages: 11

Surveillance vs. Privacy On Sunday September 15th 2013 I interviewed my Loss Prevention Manager Sydney Thomas through e-mail from my workplace Nordstrom Rack in Schaumburg IL. She told me how with all the different types of advancements in technology has really helped them to stop shrinkage and prevent theft. Our habits, style of life, and management of time are completely different due to the changes in technology and the effects it has on our privacy. The globalization of the markets and information, the massive diffusion of mobiles and internet, have created many advantages in our workplaces, in our houses, in our cities but on the other hand they have reduced the liberty and the privacy of the individual person and their own goods. Is this the price to pay for the development of technology in our society? When you enter a bank or a shop, when you go to the cinema or to a restaurant, when you take the bus, the train or you are in the underground or in an airport, when you are driving your car in your city or in the highway, you could imagine that a video camera is focusing on you! The video surveillance systems, Internet and Social networks, Collection and use of Data bases shows how we are ready to reduce our private sphere in the name of the modernity and the globalization of technology. When George Orwell wrote his acclaimed novel “Nineteen Eighty Four” in 1949, even he would be surprised at how things he wrote then would become part of society 60 years on. Results of the “Big Brother” effect which he predicted in his novel are now to be seen frequently in our daily newspapers. In 1984 George Orwell describes how no matter where you go in Oceania there is a tele-screen 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 (Orwell). 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," and it was true, Big Brother was always watching. He had eyes everywhere, and those eyes were the tele-screens. 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 Winston is annoyed by the tele-screens constantly monitoring his entire life. In the morning when woken up, by the tele-screens, "Winston sprang to attention in front of the tele-screen, upon which the image of a youngish woman, scrawny but muscular, dressed in a tunic and gym shoes, had already appeared." 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 tele-screen which controls his life. It's a common believe in America that we, the people, are free. But now is becoming