Wednesday, December 13, 2006


It's weird how the idea of Big Brother watching was not that long ago a scarey thought and is now a reality that no one seems to even be aware of.


Laura said...

Don't forget a reality even welcomed by some for their own "protection." Even though for most American citizens, the likelihood of them being even remotely close to a terrorist attack is virtually null.

Off topic: There's a book out (I can't remember the title) about how Americans sweat the remote stuff (bird flu, terrorism) and ignore the threats right in front of them (obesity, not wearing seat belts, etc)

PS: I think this beta is preventing me from logging in as myself to comment. Had the same problem on other sites this morning too...

Shawn said...

It's this ridiculous 'well, if you've got nothing to hide...' mentality that so many people have. This is the country of people that believed that Bush was making their little worlds safer.

As for immediate threats like you mentioned...they're not bad until Oprah tells them they're bad.

Miranda said...

I think if we were truly living in a 1984 style world, you'd be afraid - not free, to post what you just did. And if no one is aware of it, then why do so many people mention it?

Many things exist that you'd think people would do everything to avoid.

Certain aspects of 1984 are now real (though not all) and most of Brave New World is ot only reality, but a reality many embrace.

Don't worry, though. Now that the Democrats are in power, they'll put an end to intrusive government actions. Won't they?

Shawn said...

Orwellian indeed. But unlike 1984 which was work of fiction and a supposition of what things could be like, the reality of today is a bit different.

Many of the ideas in the book have come to fruition however and really should frighten people. I'm not talking about the government reading my blog, but rather the fact that someone sitting at a computer somewhere can find enough about your life or my life that they could completely steal it. Of course, the joke would be on anyone who stole my identity because it would be a bit like a car thief stealing a rusted out Pinto with $800 worth of parking tickets, a busted radiator and no brakes.

On the information gathering front though, the biggest gatherers, buyers and sellers of personal information are corporations.

It's really not that overtly scarey to think that means that I'll start getting coupons for Life cereal after I buy it at the local grocery store. It would be a bit disconcerting though to start getting mailers for Trojans after pausing in that aisle for more than the alloted normal time. It's also a bit unnerving to think that in theory one could have more frequent police drive bys past your house if a program flagged you because you bought anti-depression medication and say a gasoline can in the same shopping trip.

Or, what about the idea that if I wanted to stalk someone, or someone wanted to stalk me, it could be done for the small outlay of a couple hundred bucks by punching in a cel phone number at a website and having that number pinged by a service which can track the location of that cel phone (even without GPS) by calculating the distance from the nearest cel towers.

Just a few thoughts. It's not the end of the world, just some examples of how people give up things and later find that they gave up much more than they ever imagined.

Laura said...

A friend of mine works for Best Buy. Did you know they have a whole system of "identities" that they use to categorize customers based on prior purchasing habits? It's kind of creepy when you think about it. I never, ever give my phone number when they ask - b/c I know what they're doing - they're tracking my purchases.

Medical information and financial information are the most dangerous to have in a big-brother type system. Think about your "free choices" being circumvented for your "own good"... like this commercial. I know... far fetched right? No one would ever do that? Corporations would never use customer data to increase their profits at the expense of free choice... or would they?