Everyone has always wondered if people were ever watching them. Our technology today is capable to eavesdrop in on anyone’s conversations even if their phones are turned off. In the novel, “1984”, the party INGSOC uses telescreens to watch over the people and always know what they are up to. This denies the people’s rights and privileges to go about their business as they please. The technology we have today is almost exact to what big brother uses in George Orwell’s novel by taking over the public and private parts of our lives.
1984, a novel by George Orwell, represents a dystopian society in which the people of Oceania are surveilled by the government almost all the time and have no freedoms. Today, citizens of the United States and other countries are watched in a similar way. Though different technological and personal ways of keeping watch on society than 1984, today’s government is also able to monitor most aspects of the people’s life. 1984 might be a dystopian society, but today’s condition seems to be moving towards that controlling state, where the citizens are surveilled by the government at all times.
Both governments create a sense of constantly being watched through spies and technology. In 1984, the Party uses an ever present way to surveille their citizens. One way they do this is by the use of telescreens. Telescreens can see and hear everything that is not in the shadows or spokened in a low whisper. “Winston [keeps] his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer; through as he well knew, even a back can be revealing” (p.5) because of how observant the telescreens can be. Even the slight contorting of the face or breathe taken out of place can cause the government to worry about thoughtcrime. Anything you do must be so calculated because “it was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wonder when you were in any public place or within
George Orwell's novel, 1984, depicts a society in which human rights do not exist, straying from standard political thinking is not allowed, and the government controls every aspect of life. While no present-day country mirrors 1984’s society exactly, the predictions that Orwell made in 1984 can largely be seen in facets of modern society such as, the constant surveillance of citizens, the extreme use of propaganda, and the need to conform in order to be accepted. When a person opens their laptop or smartphone they automatically succumb to unknown surveillance. Facebook monitors every like, dislike, and page opened. Google keeps search histories and some houses record when the door is opened and closed.
These are monitoring devices placed strategically in both private and public areas with the goal of having a watchful eye to keep society in check. This aspect of 1984 most closely resembles post 9/11 United States, the government has permission to essentially spy on its own people through devices that a majority of the population possesses. The government was given this ability after the Patriot Act was put in place in late 2001. The attacks of September 11, 2001 sparked a mass fear of terrorist attacks, this led to the willing loss of freedoms and privacy to ensure safety. In the novel Winston desires to have the freedom of speech but the telescreens prevent him from voicing his opinion.
In 1984, another characteristic of a totalitarian rule is that the citizens are perceived to be under constant surveillance. The people of Oceania are being watched through the telescreens that are mandatory for each citizen. Microphones are also placed around the nation, listening to conversations between citizens. The people are in fear constantly with “The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up… There was, of course, no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment” (Orwell 6). People like Winston are under constant surveillance and are constantly aware of their surroundings. Citizens are monitored constantly and are expected to attend gatherings where they are being watched. This is where “it was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself – anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called” (Orwell 54). Individuality
Nationwide surveillance in the United States has grown substantially with the global advancement in technology in the 20th and 21st century. The internet gave the world a way to connect with anyone at any time in a moments notice. This advancement in technology led to other advances like GPS which can track your exact location down to mere feet. In 1984, the main character Winston is constantly being watched by T.V’s and Cameras which are called “ Telescreens”. These can see and hear your every move.
“The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard.” (Orwell, Book 1, Chapter 1) This shows the similarity between today’s situation and the life in Oceania. People being kept under surveillance as a method of manipulation and to
“1984” and Technology Surveillance Technology is one of the most essential and powerful part of human life, it makes life much easier and fast. However, if technology is misused could lead to endangerment of human life. In the book “1984” by George Orwell describes a society in constant surveillance and control by their government. The government in “1984” uses technology as a tool of surveillance to control and maintain its power, thereby, making its citizens who wants a free and individual life frustrated as their dreams seems impossible to accomplish. Technology surveillance was also used to spread propaganda and read the minds of the people.
This artifact is a video in which government surveillance is once again discussed. This artifact was published to youtube and features reporter Joe Biggs. This was published in September of 2014 and the reporter is speaking to victims of the situation, people who are subjected to lack of privacy due to government surveillance.
Orwell explores the full range of government surveillance by including both of these types of observation in 1984. For the majority of the book, the reader explores Oceania with Winston under panoptical surveillance. The plot is filled with ways he and Julia try to evade the eyes of the régime; from Winston finding the one blind spot in his apartment to write, to Julia discovering a patch of unobserved grass far from the inner city to be with Winston. But the reader feels the true betrayal of the surveillance when the surreptitious surveillance is exposed. The hope felt from Winston’s success at evading Big Brother’s eyes, even for small moments, was crushed as the picture was removed from Mr. Charrington’s shop revealing a telescreen. Big Brother ultimately defeated Winston through the enlistment of surreptitious surveillance- they let him believe he was free from observation to see how he would act without constraints. In this instance, it is important that 1984 was written in limited point of view, for if the reader was aware of the trickery from Big Brother prior to the reveal, the betrayal would not have been as
The surveillance in the 1984 novel is similar to our society today. Because the governments can use technology to make it is easier to spy what are we doing. Moreover, they can look through the cameras, which are everywhere in our country. But those are not such all the bad things. The governments can also use those cameras or other technologies to find the evidences for any crimes.
The society in the book 1984 is similar to 2015 because of surveillance, propaganda, and government agencies.
Have you ever wondered what type of information about you applications on your device have? Or that someone, somewhere has information about you, and you have no idea? This is something similar to what Winston, a character from 1984 had basically known everyday of his life. Big Brother was always watching you. People say that Big Brother is real, and he is watching you now.