In a recent survey of famous books that people claimed to have read but hadn’t, 1984 was in the top three. The other two were understandably there
– Ulysses (too difficult); War and Peace (too long).
I do however wish more people had read this classic novel that seems to mirror todays surveillance society, in hope that the general public would
understand that more surveillance does not make us safer.
The combination of multiple mass and individual surveillance and snooping systems if far more complicated and powerful than the dystopian horror
depicted in 1984, where such surveillance did not extend to the majority of the population, the"proles" who were not considered to be powerful
enough to be worth the resources to keep under constant surveillance.
However, in today's police / nanny / database /surveillance state, there are huge automated or semi-automated mass surveillance systems, especially
linked CCTV cameras, Automatic Number Plate Recognition, DNA databases, Fingerprint databases, Passenger Name records, landline Telephone, Mobile
Phone and Internet Communications Data, and Communications Data Intercepts, Financial banking and credit card transaction databases, Internet Search
Engines etc. etc., which can and are used to snoop on innocent people, rather than on real criminals or terrorists or foreign enemies.
Even where mass surveillance systems fail to detect or prevent crimes or "thought crimes",
it is the fear which they can instill, which is so useful to a repressive government or organisation.
What is interesting is the speed that new surveillance equipment gets installed, usually after a terrorist attempt, which makes you wonder if some of
these events are staged by the government itself, so as to be able to implement these security measures to make us "safer".
The classic example was 9/11 and the following patriot act, but of course when you delve into history it is by far not the first. There is a lot of
documented evidence that Hitler burned down the Reichstadt, and there is even speculation that Pearl harbour was allowed to happen.
Today, a failed crotch bomber has airport scanners installed in most western countries, and the latest time square bomber has New York pushing for
more security cameras. Even though London had 500,000 of these and that did not stop the subway bombers.
Do you think that more surveillance equipment makes us safer from terrorists?
Or is this just another plan to keep control on the mass public?
Thank you for your thoughts. I agree with the premise that more "security" via cctv does not stop any one from doing anything. It is useful
typically after the fact if at all. One gigantic "eye in the sky" is going to be flying now over the US/Mexico border, as drones are going up.
Why? We already know they are there. How will it help?
We used to do "1984" and "Animal Farm" book report comparisons as a matter of course in English Lit in High School in England. Not sure if they
still teach these two books.
If you can't read for whatever reason (after all, the average attention span is about 45 seconds and your ritalin supply might be finished), there is
a REALLY good movie version of 1984 with William Hurt and Richard Burton. It was made in 1984, and the bits where Winston Smith is writing in his
diary were actually filmed on those days in 1984.
You'll never think the same way every time you go past any room or apartment labelled "101".
Ulysses and 'War and Peace' are also well worth the read, but probably beyond the comprehension level of anyone who isn't at least a high school
Of those three books, I have read 1984, which conveniently is the most relevant to this thread.
I don't think security cameras are going to deter any serious terrorism. I mean, why would suicide bombers care if they get caught on camera before
the blow themselves up? The cameras help with the investigation, but as a deterrent, I can't imagine that they are too effective. Take the London
subway bombings, for instance. (was about 2003 I think, I know it was on July 7th) there was surveillance EVERYWHERE, and it still happened. They
know pretty much every step the terrorists took that day, but what good did it do anyone that day?
As for students studying 1984, I somehow managed never to read it until it was assigned to me in a history class in university; we were to write an
essay comparing the Big Brother state of 1984 to communist China as our final project. I'd read Animal Farm before then, but nothing else by Orwell.
(those are still the only two books of his I've read; I don't think I could even name a third book he wrote)
Originally posted by DragonsDemesne
They know pretty much every step the terrorists took that day, but what good did it do anyone that day?
It didnt do anyone any good that day, It did however do wonders for the companies making security cameras.
It seems they are more interested in installing security devices to catch who did it after, rather than stop the crime.
Afterall, if they stopped the terrorist events before hand, it will seem that we have an adequate system in place.
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