George Orwell’s classic, dystopian novel 1984 paints a morbid account of a future society where there is no hope. But the saddest piece of that alternate reality is that there is absolutely no privacy whatsoever and it is all done under the guise of securing a better life for its citizens.
Luckily, the world described in the book hadn’t come to fruition in the thirty-five years after it was first published in 1949. However, if you fast forward twenty-nine years to 2013 there are some similarities that are somewhat identical.
With the constant presence of the Internet and Smartphones it’s hard to deny that we live in a vast technological wonderland. And with each passing day the marvels of modern technology evolve exponentially. We’re not as close to living like the Jetsons as we should be but in some aspects we have made tremendous leaps from the days of using payphones, record players and pagers.
On the outside it seems like we have everything we need to be a successful society. Unfortunately, to quote a popular oldhead phrase, you can’t get something for nothing. With all of this technology comes new and exciting ways to abuse it. Take, for instance, Cyberbullying. As if being bullied in school isn’t bad enough now there’s a way to terrify people in the privacy of their own homes.
Trolling is another way people abuse the power of the Internet because it empowers cowards to talk a lot of shit from behind a computer screen. They say a lot of inappropriate things but would never conduct themselves that way in the real world.
Finally, one of the greatest technological advances we’ve acquired is in the way we communicate with each other. We’ve gone from just using telephones to using emails, Skype and text messages, to name a few. And we use them all under the impression that what we say and type will remain sacred and private between ourselves and the parties involved.
Unfortunately, there may be a weak link in that chain of secure thinking.
Recently it was revealed that the NSA may have been listening in on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone conversations. Of course, this isn’t the first time the NSA has done something like this and it more than likely will not be the last because in essence that’s what they’re paid to do. But the incident has left the Chancellor a bit confused, and rightfully so.The US and Germany are on good terms so there should be no reason for the NSA to be snooping through an allies personal belongings. It’s invasive without provocation and now there may be some fallout from this situation if the US doesn’t handle it accordingly.
The problem with having too much technology is that it can become a weapon in the wrong hands, much like the situation with the NSA. True, they’re no strangers when it comes to their surveillance efforts. And in some cases it is justified because they do come across valid threats aimed at the security of the US. But if they’re just going around checking in on people because they’re merely suspicious about something that may or may not happen then they’re abusing the power they’ve been given.
It’s borderline fanaticism. But then again it serves as a throwback to Orwell’s 1984, because Big Brother is always watching.
So what does this mean for the everyday US citizen? If the NSA is eavesdropping on their own allies you can best believe they’re monitoring you as well.
Your emails. Your Facebook statuses.
How are we supposed to live our lives with the knowledge that we, too, could be targeted by the NSA just because? Just thinking about it will either strike fear in the hearts of conspiracists or eye rolls and apathy from the nonchalant.
In any event the fact remains that George Orwell wrote 1984 in 1949 and I know it’s a classic but he got the title all wrong.
He should have called it 2013.