Has it ever occurred to you that George Orwell’s novel, 1984, is now actually coming to life, right before our eyes, with many of us seemingly unaware of it? Not the awful situation he imagined the world to be in of course, with its tyrannical government and the dreadful punishments dealt out to any who failed to obey the ‘rules’. However, look around in any large city, and some of the smaller ones, and look carefully.
You’ll suddenly realise there are a large number of cameras on the sides of most buildings, all pointing down at the street, where you are, some of them actually moving, as they follow various people walking past. All those cameras are connected directly to a police station or a government office somewhere nearby, so that those in control can keep an eye on us, whatever we might be doing and for whatever reason. Oh, I’m sure the watchers aren’t able to catch every single person, all of the time, but they can certainly recall any required bit of film in a moment, should the situation require it.
As if that wasn’t enough, I expect most people carry a smartphone nowadays and if you do then the authorities know where you are — all the time the phone is switched on! All sorts of information can be extracted from our equipment too, whether we want them to have it or not. The mobile phone is a wonderful piece of technology, which has changed the history of the world to a great extent, putting more of us in touch with one another than ever before and giving us a virtual library containing just about all the known information on everything, but as I say, and as nature dictates, we have to give up something in order to maintain balance, and our privacy is a part of that price we pay!
Then there’s the enormous difference the discovery of DNA has made to our lives, or at least to the lives of any people doing something illegal! If you just walk into a room, turn round and walk out again, chances are you’ll leave some sort of DNA sample behind, so people can prove you were there. It’s all causing a real crisis for the criminal elements of our communities!
Apparently, DNA is a more accurate identifier than even fingerprints — once the be-all-and-end-all in proving someone’s whereabouts. The DNA apparently also tells those with the means of checking it, whether you have been, or are, taking drugs, where you’ve eaten in the past week or so and who your relatives are, in general terms, so the authorities will be fully aware of the fact that you belong to a family with criminal tendencies, etc., should that in fact be the case.
Further proof that George Orwell wasn’t completely wrong in his estimate of the future, apart from the fact that he was several years too early — we are now completely documented by authority; they know where we live, where we were born, what our blood group is, every misdemeanour we have committed since childhood and what the condition of our health is, yet at the same time they say no one has a right to ask us for any of this information (except them, of course). Now that sounds genuinely Orwellian to me (“good is bad, bad is good!”) as does the brain washing of entire populations in Communist countries, where all films are government made and controlled, showing films that are, by Western standards, blatant propaganda, rather than entertainment.
Luckily, the people of so-called Western countries, with their education and their freedoms, are unlikely to allow the same to happen here. Nonetheless I think it is up to all of us to be watchful, in the protection of our way of life!