1984: When Is American Security Too Much?

Submitted By BJerger13
Words: 1394
Pages: 6

When is American Security Too Much?
Every second, of every hour, of everyday there is someone or something watching you even when you don’t even realize. This is similar to the book 1984 written by George Orwell, security cameras and monitors were all over Oceania. Nowadays more and more areas across the United States are installing security cameras and other electronic security devices. (Rapp). But when is enough, enough? When do the citizens of America actually get some privacy... Or will we ever? The lifestyle in 1984 was almost like every middle class citizen, also known as the Outer Party and every lower class citizen also known as the Proles, were trapped. They were constantly being monitored. They were even confined to their own thoughts even. “If you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself” (Orwell, 350). Big telescreens spread throughout most public and private places across Oceania. Nobody was really ever in privacy unless they ran away out into the woods where technology was not prevalent, like Winston and Julia managed to do. Modern day America has changed so drastically within the past half century. Lewis Beale stated in an article from CNN News that, “The police now have a device that can read license plates and check if a car is unregistered, uninsured or stolen.” He also mentioned how the National Security Agency can dip into personal information through Facebook and Google searches. Also many stores you enter, checkout clerks are constantly asking for a name, phone number and ZIP code(Beale). What I found interesting was that “stores want your ZIP code because, combined with your name from your credit card, they can use it to find out other information about you from commercial databases, like your full mailing address. They may even sell the information to data brokers, who sell it to other marketers” (Carrns). America is known as home of the brave and land of the free, but the former contractor of the NSA, Edward J. Snowden recently opened the eyes of many oblivious Americans, that we are not in the land of the free. He revealed to the world that the U.S. government collects emails, records telephone calls and snoops through other communications of just about everybody (“The Washington Times”). Snowden showed United States citizens what the government had been hiding and how the privacy is actually little to none in this country. This information leaked was far further than just surveillance cameras (“The Washington Times”).
According to an article by Angus West from the Global Post, Snowden revealed a secret 41-slide PowerPoint presentation apparently used to train US intelligence personnel (West). This revealed the involvement into a program called PRISM. “PRISM is the NSA’s effort to collect massive amounts of data from internet companies such as email content, search histories and file transfers tied to potential terrorism or espionage suspects” (West). The PowerPoint presentation that Snowden revealed also confirmed that the NSA is able to access the servers of large companies like YouTube, Skype, Google, and Apple (West). What is really shocking is that the government can access live information, photos, video chats and data from social networks immediately (West).
The Washington Post also released information that Snowden leaked about the email addresses of not only Americans, but of all citizens around the world. Your contacts, are also NSA’s contacts . The NSA has secretly been gathering millions of email contact and chat lists around the world (West). The program behind all this collects up to as many as 500,000 contacts from inboxes and chat rooms in a single day. This gives the government the ability to access nearly every digital communication (West).
This topic really intrigued me because it was news that I knew I didn’t have much knowledge of. The novel 1984 reminds me of how The American society actually is today, but not many people realize its like that,