Contemporary Voices P. 4 November 29, 2012 1984 Today In the book “1984” by George Orwell, depicts a dystopian society in a country called Oceania that’s under heavy surveillance because the government wanted to have total power and crush any possibilities of individualism, which is why they are always at war with one county and allies with the other. Almost everything in this book is a paradox, for example the names of the different ministries they have, like the ministry of plenty, love, and peace.
The society that existed in 1984 is very similar to the society we live in now; there isn’t an Ingsoc or any telescreens watching your every move, but there still is a major lack of privacy that most people don’t even realize its happening. Modern technology is great, however in the wrong hands it can be a dangerous weapon of mass destruction, and worse yet, mass control. In 1984, Orwell showed a world in which the people are under the control of the government through surveillance twenty-four seven.
There are many similarities to the society in 1984 to now, for example ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) and traffic analysis too, “the government has got an eye on everything you do; the world is a raw victim to totalitarianism” (Zone). Things like this show people that in fact the society isn’t any better than the one depicted in 1984, but that it’s a lot more like it than we have ever imagined.
Even today many private companies are using these surveillance systems to watch both their property and their employees. Surveillance devices have become so small that it is now possible to make a camera and a microphone fit into a very small hole in the wall. Police admittedly use small microphones as wires to get confessions in undercover operations. It is entirely conceivable that the government could be watching us now, just like big brother did in 1984.
If you want to take it a step further though, heres something else to consider if you think you still have your privacy, There was a bill sent through Congress which would force telecommunication companies to place a small chip called the Clipper Chip into all of their products, and this chip would allow the government to watch our telecommunication transactions, but it’s a good thing that this bill didn’t get passed. However, they did pass an act called digital telephony.
This bill states that the government will give a certain amount of money to large telecommunication providers to re-work their networks so that the government's people can attach themselves and listen to our private conversations. So basically they’re using OUR money to watch us. If this isn’t an invasion of privacy, then I don’t know what is. Some of the government policies in 1984 are more similar than different in comparison to our society today.
One of the quotes that had stood out in the book would be, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past” (Orwell). It may not seem as much as a policy but if you think about it, its quite true because like in 1984 it was essential for the government to maintain total control, but in order to do so they had to change parts of the history depending on what they wanted or needed, they did this so it wouldn’t look like they were lying or contradicting themselves, when in fact they were doing just that.
But in today’s society, the government still does this they’re just sly about it, for example there have been pictures and books written on a secret weapon called the death ray that’s not supposed to really exist, but there has been scientist who have claimed to have work on these projects in developing this weapon for the government, so when these scientist spoke out about these weapons to the public, they mysteriously died by “natural cause”.
This is just the governments way to eliminate any problems, so they simply get rid of the evidence itself and before you know it people will have forgotten, just like the quote in 1984, “who controls the past, controls the future…” and now, its 1984 all over again. Works Cited "Is This 1984, George Orwell, Surveillance, Freedom, Thought Police, Totalitarianism. " Trilightzone. org, 2005. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. . Orwell, George. 1984, George Orwell. New York: Spark Pub. , 2003. Print.