Was Orwell right about future life? In fact he was. Orwell was not completely correct on how privacy of personal information would be violated or how society would manipulate people’s personal opinions, but he was correct in the fact that both those issues would become increasingly bigger issues later on in life. Life in the twenty-first century is obviously nothing like Winston’s life in the novel 1984, but our rights and privacy are being violated just as much as Winston’s was. We are similar to Winston in the fact that at first we are unaware of what exact violations are being committed against our personal rights. Winston was unsure because everyone acted as if it their way of life was normal, they knew nothing else but having their every move monitored; we are unsure because most Americans are unaware that they are even capable of being monitored, and to what extent.
The PATRIOT Act was created shortly after the terrorist attack on 9/11 which allowed the government much more capability on finding personal information on suspicious people. Ironically, the government could still track people’s information even if they weren’t of suspicion, they could truly get information on any person that they pleased because there was no sort of “checks and balance system” to control this(Rotenburg). In conclusion, the government could get any information on anyone they decided to, from tracking cell phone calls to computer records, the government could find it all. In 1984, the government did not use hacking into technology to spy on people but they just watched them every where they went. Atleast in 1984, the people of Oceania knew they were at risk of being watched at any moment. Winston even states “There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.”(8). In 2011, our government is doing the exact same thing as Big Brother was in 1984, this quote goes along with our society today that our government could be watching us at any moment without us knowing.
Not only is the government capable of tracking our phone calls or information on our harddrive but they can just go through Google to find out what is on our mind, just like the thought police. People Google all the time just random things that are on their mind, and if our government can intercept that information, are they any different than the thought police in 1984? Leslie Walker even states that Google was used to incriminate Robert Petrick who was accused of killing his wife. Information that he had googled on decomposition and rigor mortis was used as substantial evidence to get him life in prison. So when Winston states in the novel “Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death.”(27), is he really that far from the truth in today’s terms? It is not just privacy policies that are being violated in relation to Orwell’s prediction, but manipulation of our own opinions has started to become a great impactor as well. Every where we go we see advertisements, we actually do not even have to go out of our house. We can just get on the internet and there are thousands of advertisements in our face. When I think of all the Big Brother signs in 1984, I think of advertisements and how they’re on the sides of buildings and in our homes. Advertisemets are everywhere, and Steven McNamara supports the claim that advertisements are a from of planting a belief into someones head to get them to buy a product or votes.
Today, as an eighteen year old, I am not directly affected by these conditions. In the future, say I am part of a war protest group, then maybe my rights will be violated and it will be brought to my attetnion. I am not worried about the information that i google being known, but say I google guns and then I am accused of killing my husband, well then yeah I am going to be affected by these conditions. Who knows, maybe by the time I’m in my thirties, privacy may not even be in the dictionary. If Orwell has been right this far, then I would not be suprised if there is a such thing as Newspeak around in 2030.