Once upon a time, before I had ever heard of the title 1984, I thought that Big Brother was just a program, thought up by John de Mol. I also thought that 1948 was just a name of an album of the Eurythmics. How wrong I was. It turns out not to be an idea first created for a program, but a fear that James Orwell (James Orwell was his pseudonym, his real name was Eric Arthur Blair) first noticed when the so-called Cold War started, just after the Second World War. This fear was caused by the two sides, especially the Soviet Union, exerting remarkable power over the minds of their peoples, by using propaganda and always watching their minions.
I think James Orwell is a genius, because even though the book was published in 1949, the fear of power belonging soley to the government, is still very big today.Where do we have to put the line between security and privacy? We have heard that question a lot in politics, here in Holland. Is it acceptable for the government to tap phonecalls? Is it acceptable to hang camera’s everywhere in the name of public security? Take a look at London for example. This city has the most government security camera’s in the world (also called CCTV). There are about 4,2 million of them in public places all over the town and every citizen is filmed about 300 times a day.
But this is not only in London and it’s not only with videocamera’s. What about the Public Transport Chipcard you are using? The gouvernment can check where you’ve been. Or the internet shopping you’re doing? Or your Bonuskaart or debit card? If the government wants to, they can find out anything about you. Maybe this isn’t a problem for now, but what if the power is in the wrong hands? Will we still be happy with all the camera’s then?
How close is our society to the world of big brother? Is big brother already watching us?