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Category Archives: Beyond 1984

Nowhere To Hide

Was George Orwell’s prediction of the future correct?  He wasn’t too far off when he thought about a society under complete control.  In a world filled with technology that can see one’s every move, there is nowhere to hide. Someone is always watching.

 

1.  Current advances in technology allow for no privacy in public or even in one’s own home.  Even software like Google that once used to be harmless now has technology to recognize faces using a facial recognition software.  was it thought that online browsing histories were private and confidential?  Not anymore. Google can now track every search made when someone is logged into their service.  Even though it is optional, it’s still going against one’s right to privacy.  Anything that is searched online can now be tracked.  Even advertisements on sites such as Facebook use this information to show advertisements based on one’s browsing history.

Advertisements on television use a certain persuasive energy to persuade people to buy their products.  These advertising agencies use demographics to decide who to target for their commercial.  For example, an ad that promotes a pill that will lower the risk of heart attacks will be aimed towards an older generation whereas a cell phone ad will use a celebrity or “teen heart throb” to promote their product to teens.  These advertisements have a sort of control on us as they find what we like to show us something that will make us believe that we need their product.  Even political candidates use this technique to persuade voters to vote for them.  They appeal to what the voters want, even though what they say may be untruthful.  these candidates spy into people’s lives to find what they want from their leader and then show the that they will do whatever it is they want even if they don’t believe in it.

Simple things like garbage cans are now being outfitted with the technology to pry into one’s private affairs.  Cleveland now uses Big Brother to find people who do not recycle.  in his article Look Out, Cleveland” Your Garbage Can Is Watching You!, Salvatore Cardoni states that, “Thanks to a $2.5 million order of garbage cans and recycle carts embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes, Clevelanders who don’t recycle could be fined $100.”  Even our household objects can now spy on us.  If something like this is happening now what will it be like 10 years from now?  20 years?  What about 2084?  George Orwell may have been right in his predictions of the future, just one hundred years too early.

2.  George Orwell states in 1984 that, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face- forever.”  In a sense, he is right.  Right now, like in 1984, we are being controlled, the only difference being who the controller is.  In 1984, the citizens are controlled by Big Brother and today, we are being controlled by technology.  We are living our lives dependent on technology just like the citizens of Oceania were dependent on the Party and Big Brother.  Technology is figuratively stomping on our faces.  We are lead to believe that these technologies are good, but in reality, they ruin our lives by destroying our privacy.  Someone is always watching.  For the citizens of Oceania, it was Big Brother, for us it is our cell phones, computers, and even trash cans.

3.  Technology will continue to advance each year and even more programs and software will come out that can somehow spy on our private affairs.  Before reading this book and the articles following, I did not think much about the cell phone that is always in my pocket or the computer screen I find myself staring at for hours, but now I am almost afraid to use them.  I feel as if someone may be watching me through the camera of my phone or the webcam of my computer.  In the next few years that actually may be the case.  It is possible that ten years from now, I could be spied on every minute of the day through my phone or computer screen, even if they are not turned on.  By 2084, it may be possible that I might be watched through a camera hidden in my room in the retirement home so that people may be able to predict the exact time that I would die.  Anything is possible and from the way things are going now, I will not be surprised if someday there is a micro chip in my head that detects every thought.  There is no telling what someone will come up with.

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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Beyond 1984, Uncategorized

 

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1984 To be seen or to be left in silence

The real question is was George Orwell right about the future? I would have to say that he was not completely right about the upcoming future but some of the things that he mentioned and talked about in his novel have lead me to believe

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Beyond 1984

 

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~Was Orwell Right About Future Life?~

People are always trying to predict the future and once the future comes, the prediction just seems silly.

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George Orwell’s 1984 predicted the future to be a totalitarian, freedomless disaster. Now it is 2012 and we refer to ourselves as Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave. But how free are we? Technology expands rapidly, and we tend to just trust anything with a hard drive. Turns out, not all technology is safe. We are constantly being monitored, whether in public by surveillance cameras, or even in private by the cameras in our computers and those little cameras people put in teddy bears.

Recently I watched a documentary on Netflix (I know I’m lame) called CNBC Originals: Inside the Mind of Google and it was a little shocking. It went inside Google headquarters and showed where everything is monitered and kept and stored forever. There were a few things they weren’t even allowed to show for legal and privacy purposes. I highly reccomend watching it.

In the novel, Oceana is constantly being watched by the government without any consent of the people. In a way America is similar because we never really know who is watching or recording us. Even in the hallways of EAWR we are being watched by cameras and there is nothing we can do about it.

On January 22, 1984, this Apple commercial aired during the third quarter of the superbowl. Based on one of the Two Minute Hate Scenes, it shows Big Brother on the huge telescreen and the girl in the aisle suggests that the new Macintosh will give people more freedom with computing than their competitor IBM. This commercial is convincing people that 1984 won’t be like 1984 thanks to apple’s software, but now its the mainstream of technology that is used for anything and everything and can be easily tracked at any time.

The only way you can really be safe from all monitoring and technology would be to become amish and go live underground somewhere, and still who really knows? It is not a problem I can see ending in the near future because so much has already been permanently stored. Unless we make a memory hole…

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Beyond 1984

 

We are being watched

1.Unfortunately what Orwell has predicted in “1984” can be seen as true in today’s society. Until yesterday I would have laughed if someone was to say that even today we are constantly being watched, yet from these articles I was forced to second guess myself. Orwell invisioned a world where the government monitors and watches over the population with a close eye, and today our government can be seen as doing the same. Our government has the ability to learn basically everything there is about us without us even knowing. There are systems and data basses that keep our pictures and fingerprints along with personal information together for police and any higher official to see. Even doing the research for this I found a site where just by entering someone’s name I could view where they live, if they have kids, or a job, and even their previous criminal records.There is no hiding your life nor living a private life anymore. The fact is that even if we don’t realize it we are being watched and it could be by people we don’t even know and have never met. Even google tracks us, and in cooperation with the government they can see exactly what we have been on and what we researched.Yes this can be seen as a good thing in order to monitor criminals but it is not just used for criminals. All of the things we do on the internet are recorded and left on there for anyone with general knowledge to discover. Where is the privacy in that? Simply there is not privacy prevalant in our society any more. Keepin all of this in mind it is easy to say that though we may not want to believe it, Orwell was right in his predictions on the future.

2. In “1984” even your thoughts are monitored, but how is that any different from now? We as curious people often search our thoughts online or even post or tweet them leaving it open to the public to view, and when saying public that means eveyone. We may not want to believe that the government isn’t listening to our thoughts yet with our modern technologies they posses the ability to do so. This quote by Orwell perfectly sums up what i am trying to say and it is “If you want to keep a secret, you use also hide it from yourself”. It shows how now a days anyone can learn your life and what you stand for and the only way to hide the truth is to also hide it from yourself. Whatever we search online is now recorded and will be there forever , and yet this is beyond our control. Since we are not able to control this and the government is, is this not a huge violation of privacy and a grim reminder of the oceanic world in “1984”? Now in Cleveland people trash cans could be forcedly watched with a chip to force people to recycle. This chip will watch and monitor homes to make sure recycling is being done properly. Once again there is a strong connection to “1984”, with the same thing being done by the telescreens constantly monitoring their every move. Now our cameras are so intelligent that they can even do things that most people can’t even do. Our cameras can recognize faces and even watch your movements and learn your daily routine. Whether or not this is for good or not if the government gets the notion they could turn these intelligent cameras against us and force us to live as every one in oceania. Though our world may not be exactly the same as Orwell imagined it, our government has already started to tighten its grip on humanity and our freedom, leaving Orwell’s prediction an inevitability.

3. Only being 17 years old I still have a lot of life left to to live and granted all of the technologies we already have its is hard to fathem what else there is still to come. Some colleges are already trying to use computerized systems to check where you are at any given time, making sure you are attending your classes. This big brother form of government takes our rights as adults to make our own decisions, along along with our freedom and privacy. Another one of these acts that could affect me is the fact that google tracks people’s history. I don’t have anything to hide yet i still do not feel comfortable with the fact that the government is able to find out so much about me and track me in such a way . These simple things make me realize just how much control the government has and makes me think twice when I’m looking into a webcam or taking a picture. Now even a random picture can be taken and kept by officials, even without our consent. How is this beneficial, and will it prevent me from committing a crime? The simple fact is that these little things are often not beneficial and are instead an invasion of our privacy as americans.

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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Beyond 1984

 

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Orwell’s 1984: Privacy Issues and Public Manipulation

The links related to privacy issues taught me all of the negative things that come along with modern technology and social websites. In Tom Head’s Big Brother is Watching, he says that “as technology improves, privacy as we know it will inevitably evaporate; the best we can hope for is the power to watch the watchers.” By this he means that with the advancement of technology comes the decline of individual privacy. This holds true in my opinion, because I believe that the use of modern technology is linked to the decline is personal relations, and the decline of personal relationships is linked to the weakening value associated with privacy.

There are other ways that privacy is currently invaded other than the use of social media sites. For starters, the CIFA has previously “exceeded its authority and conducted unauthorized spying on innocent people and organizations,” (The Other Big Brother). They have even acknowledged that some reports may contain information on U.S. citizens and groups that “never should have been obtained.” Also, this same source states that the National Security Agency to monitor telephone conversations in the U.S. It has been proven, according to this source, that CIFA’s database has contained information that “may have violated regulations,” because the department isn’t allowed to retain information about citizens for more than 90 days unless there is a reasonable belief that the person is linked to terrorism or foreign intelligence. This regulation has been violated. Also in use are video surveillance, face recognition software, GPS tracking, all of which go beyond the human eye and the evidence these technologies hold leaves an unsettling feeling to potential “victims,” (Tana Ganeva, Massive New Biometric Database).

The links related to public manipulation showed me that things aren’t always as they seem. There was one link that confirmed that the portrait of Abraham Lincoln was actually Lincoln’s head painted atop of John Calhoun’s body. The link “Orwell and March Madness” talked about an advertisement stating that African-American male student athletes are 10% more likely to graduate. A comparison of college basketball players with other full-time student proves otherwise—that the athletes were 20% less likely to graduate than non-athletes.

This link, (Orwell and March Madness) directly reminded me of the scene in 1984 where Winston overhears the telescreen state that the chocolate rations had been raised to 20g when he knew for a fact that the rations had just been dropped to 20g from 30g. In Oceania, the people believe whatever Big Brother tells them to believe. If the telescreen says rations of goods have been raised, then they have been raised. If the telescreen says that conditions today are better than the conditions of the past, it is truth. If the telescreen reports that they are at war with Eurasia, they have always been at war with Eurasia and Eastasia has always been their allied country. The people of Oceania are constantly manipulated by their government to believe that Big Brother is their provider, protector, and savior. Either they mask their realization and pretend to believe in the Party, they really don’t realize that they’re being manipulated, or they are punished and tortured in the Ministry of Love like Winston is in the very end of the novel.

The telescreens can always see and hear whatever is going on, both in public and private settings. There are no secrets and there is no privacy.  They have eyes and ears everywhere, in technological forms and in the form of undercover spies, like Mr. Charrington. If someone is acting or believed to be thinking suspiciously, that person is captured, tortured, and executed, then vaporized into an imaginary non-existence. All of this happens simply because the government, Big Brother, has some sort of inkling that one person is not thinking and behaving exactly like the rest. It could potentially be caused by nothing more than mere suspicion, suspicion that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the governmental spies—the Thought Police and the telescreens. The technology of Oceania’s society is the core of its societal and moral destruction. This brings me back to Tom Head’s statement: “As technology improves, privacy as we know it will inevitably evaporate; the best we can hope for is the power to watch the watchers.” In Oceania, their technology was so advanced that the people were continuously watched, leaving them no privacy. The best the people there could hope for was the existence of The Brotherhood—an organization conspiring to overthrow the unjust Big Brother—or a revolt against Big Brother himself. The could only hope to free themselves by watching Big Brother watch them, see what he sees in order to do what he is incapable of seeing.

While George Orwell’s ideas about governmental surveillance were far-fetched at the time, and still seem over-the-top today, his underlying interpretation of the future government holds true. We are watched and our activities are monitored by our government, though not to the severity assumed by Orwell in 1984. Researching the privacy issues and the ways our government manipulates the public opinion by use of advertisements makes me feel like I ought to be more cautious, especially when on the internet.  I have also learned that in order to know the truth behind certain ads, I ought to research that ad, not just trust it for what it is. Some may say the current state of government surveillance is minimal and doesn’t make much difference, and perhaps that is true, however, what level may it reach in the near future?

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Beyond 1984

 

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Future Life: Was Orwell right?

1.

The Government could be watching your every move right now. They are able to track your web searches and they might even be able to tap into the front facing camera on your smart phone. You never really know when they will be able to see what you are doing at a certain moment in time. 

Have you ever searched something on Google for a really long time and then looked over while you were on Facebook and saw an advertisement for the same subject? If not, look next time and try to pay attention to see if it happens to you. If so, this is because our web browsers can track the things that you search and click on and matches that to the advertisements it gives you. For companies, this is a good thing. If you are being exposed to the advertisements that seems to be the same as your interests, you are more likely to click on it to see what it is about.

Almost anyone can access whatever you are doing at almost all times. You could be video taped or have pictures taken of you without you even knowing it. Your computer records can be accessed by anyone at any time. You really do not have any privacy these days.

2.

This is just like 1984 in the same way as telescreens. Everything you do or say in Oceania is watched and heard. You never know whenever you are going to be watched or recorded and it is used as mechanisms to impose fear. They are tracking what you are doing, where you are at, and even what you are thinking. This is just like Facebook today, except we are doing it openly and purposefully putting our information out there for all of us to see.

3.

This has a lot to do with our present and our future. Sometimes I wonder if our government just gets their ideas from this book. Our every move is being tracked. If need be, a government official could access this post even without me publishing it. Even just a computer wizard could do it. Our past, present, and future is being documented with every step and that could be both good or bad. If they wanted to, our government could use the internet as a fear mechanism and would very easily be able to take over all of us without our permission.

As of now, though, video surveillance has not become a bad thing when used properly. It helps to ensure that everyone is on their best behavior and that we can catch them when they are not.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Beyond 1984

 

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