In his book 1984, author George Orwell wrote about a society where all the activities of its citizens were watched over by Big Brother. Even at home, people were surveilled twenty-four hours a day through the use of telescreens, televisions that transmit images, but also contain cameras to keep a watchful eye on the inhabitants.
There were many things to fear about Orwell’s dystopian future, but it is surprising to see how quickly we (and by we, I mean the United States of America) has quickly and quietly acquiesced to modern-day telescreens.
From pleas about how drones should not be feared to efforts to make Google Glass cool, hip, and trendy, it appears that most people (with the exception of the Electronic Frontier Foundation or the Electronic Privacy Information Center) don’t seem to care too much about having their everyday activities recorded and stored without their consent.
To show you how far this acceptance of the all-seeing eye peering back at you has become, I simply direct your attention to the bit of your computer screen just above where you are reading this. I’m guessing that there is a webcam perched atop your monitor or on your smartphone or on your tablet.
It’s a camera staring right back at you. And you have no idea who is on the other end.