Big Brother REALLY IS Watching You

Monday, August 06, 2007
1984 has arrived. Don't say we weren't warned.

Perhaps I'm becoming paranoid in my old (mid?) age. It could certainly be the influence of books I've read recently including Orwell's classic 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World. Or movies such as Enemy of the State or Conspiracy Theory. People are always talking about it on television and we all know how much the Captain loves her television programmes.

While we certainly haven't reached the extreme's laid out in either Huxley's or Orwell's works of "fiction" (*cough cough*), look around you, do some digging and you'll realize that we're but a step or two away from telescreens, party uniforms, and altered news. Oh wait, we've already reached that point...

Take for example the internet. Somebody somewhere is tracking every website you visit, every search you enter into Google (I'm not saying they're doing it themselves, per se), every bit of info you pass on through communal sites such as MySpace, Facebook,'s all being monitored by someone ... out there ... somewhere. What about your GPS tracking system in your vehicle? Think that's there just to help you find your way to the World's Largest Ball of Twine? Canada also now has "no-fly" lists. Is your name on there? Might be but you won't know until you try to board a plane to god-knows-where and suddenly you're arrested at the airport on suspicion of terrorist activities. How did they come up with this list? I have no idea. And you might want to be careful what sorts of books you check out of the library these days...just in case.

For those of you who live in larger cities, especially in the US, look around you at the lamp posts. Or what you think are lamposts. Chances are there's a street cam there recording your movements. Oh sure, the government is going to tell you that they're there for your protection (and to a point they are), recording crimes as they happen and providing the police with clues that might help them. But they're always on and always recording. Were you aware that you can get access to the video? Tis true. At least according to an expert they had on Montel Williams today (and yes, I know, it's not exactly the pinnacle of television journalism...). This expert claimed that if you request video from a specific camera for a certain time, you can get a copy of the video. Why? Public record. Yes indeed.

I'm all for assisting the police to catch criminals. I've called 911 my fair share of times. But if that camera happens to be pointed so that it catches my house in it's view, it will be recording the times I arrive home, when I leave for work in the morning, and, if I have kids, what time they come home from school. And anyone out there can get that sort of information. That's encouraging isn't it? But who's monitoring these cameras? And is crime prevention the only thing it's being used for?

Did you know that even if you don't have a GPS system in your vehicle, the manufacturer (for newer models) may have included a tracking device without your knowledge? Same goes for your cell phone and your laptop. Think of your IP address. If the right (or wrong) people have it, they can end up with more information than just a bunch of random numbers.

And now the US government...correction, George Jr. ... has signed a controversial wire-tap bill.
"The new law gives the attorney general or the director of national intelligence the authority to approve surveillance of suspected terrorists overseas." And apparently, Bush pressured Congress into staying in session over the weekend until it was passed. While the bill is limited to "overseas", this is one step closer to giving the government free range to listen in on it's own citizens. Which I'm pretty sure they do anyway. However, you'll never get them to admit. When you've got a vice president who refuses to subject himself to the laws of his own country and a president bent on waging war with every possible enemy out there (and making a lot of new ones in the process), is it any wonder they're spying on us?

Orwell had it wrong. Big Brother isn't a black mustachio'd face gazing down at us from posters plastered on every street corner, he's a heart-attack prone, glasses wearing, shoot you in the face, war mongering, hell bent on world domination ... Dick.


Wandering Coyote said...

Amen, Sister!

And don't forget every time we use our debit card or credit card, that is also tracked.

Have you read Fahrenheit 451? There's another you should add to your list...

SME said...

I know they're watching us, but since there's jack I can do about it I just go with the flow and laugh at the idea of some low-level government employee being forced to monitor my boring-ass phone conversations or video rentals.

Paranoia worries me. Sure, we've got reasons aplenty to be paranoid, but it really is a hazardous mental state unless it's channeled appropriately. Early last month one of my favorite bloggers, Theresa Duncan, killed herself...apparently because she believed she was being gangstalked and harrassed by former colleauges, members of the art community, and Scientologists. And a costume designer in Italy recently killed herself because she believed she had stumbled onto the real secrets of The Da Vinci Code and would be offed by a psychotic albino monk at any moment. Of course not everyone spirals this dramatically, but concern over surveillance can bleed over into other areas of life. I know a chiropracter from Winnipeg who is 100% convinced CSIS reads all his incoming and outgoing email, a fringe political figure who thinks his phone is tapped, and a woman (on my condo board!!) who believes senior citizens are being murdered by nano devices in their flu shots! They're all intelligent, nice, functioning (even successful) people, but their idea of what the world is like is a bit...skewed...because of free-floating paranoia.

Um, okay, this is a very long comment. Sorry 'bout that. :)

Candy Minx said...

I saw a movie last year made in Great Britian about a woman who had lost her husband and child they were murdered who also worked for a surveilance governemtn company and how she spied on the guy who killed her family when he released from prison. It was a slow but interesting little movie. I can't remeber the name of it...

I've been in a few cities that have cameras in the streets etc. I usually feel more nervous about the neighbourhood I'm in than the actual camera...I kind of start to look around for muggers etc. or "doings"

Interesting post.

SME said...

I admit, if I had to see posters of Cheney everywhere, I'd probably become pretty paranoid myself. Sinister!!

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