It is sometimes frightening to think about how similar today’s society is to George Orwell’s 1984. In his novel, Orwell describes a nation of no privacy. Big Brother, the main leader of The Party, controls every aspect of life in Oceania. Telescreens and Thought Police lurk everywhere, just waiting to catch people that act or think negatively towards the government. “A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself” (Orwell, 220). The privacy factor in today’s world is much like Orwell’s prediction. Due to our supreme advancements in technology, “Big Brother” now has an even greater ability to oversee everything that we do.
Google is a definite form of “Big Brother”, in that it has the capability of monitoring everything that we do through their service. As stated in the article Forgot What You Searched For? Google Didn’t, depending on how much personal information you have given them, Google can know a great deal about you, and they even log everything that their users search for. “Google stores a “tracking cookie” or small file on each user’s computer to store items such as the address of their computer, type of Web browser used, and date and time of each query submitted” ( Walker, 13). This quote exemplifies how far Google really goes to track the things that you do. This is seen in 1984 in the way that The Party monitors each and every individual’s activities. “You had to live-did live, from habit that became instinct-in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized” (Orwell, 6 & 7).
There are many ways to manipulate public opinion, one of which being advertising. According to Wikipedia’s page on advertising, advertising is “a form of communication intended to persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners) to purchase or take some action upon products, ideas, or services” (“Advertising”, par. 1). Advertisers get us to buy because they convince us it is what we need and that it is the best product and the best thing for our well-being. Advertising does most of the work for us so we no longer have to make decisions for ourselves, we can just simply follow what they say. This is quite similar to what occurred in 1984. The government was easily able to persuade the citizens of Oceania of such things as The Ministry of Truth, which was made up of anything but the truth. In reality, it was falsified history to make the government always right. Big Brother and The Party didn’t allow the people to do any thinking for themselves, and if they were caught doing so, harsh punishments would follow, such as being vaporized from the nation. “In the vast majority of cases there was no trial, no report of the arrest. People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registeres, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten” (Orwell, 20)
Thinking about these technologies and how they will affect me later in life, I have come to the conclusion that they will have a major impact. Google is a search engine that I use almost daily, and having my every move being tracked is something I need to watch out for. As I grow older and have more control over my own money and future, advertisements will have a much stronger effect on me. There is a “Big Brother” always watching us and making the attempt to control our everyday lives. Indeed, Orwell was spot on with his prediction of the future.
Walker, Leslie. “Forgot What You Searched For? Google Didn’t – Washingtonpost.com.” The Washington Post: National, World & D.C. Area News and Headlines – Washingtonpost.com. 21 Jan. 2006. Web. 06 Apr. 2011. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/20/AR2006012001799.html>.
“Advertising.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 06 Apr. 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising.