Are you on Facebook? MySpace? Do you Tweet? Do you use a credit card? Shop online? Buy beer? Cigarettes? Us an ATM machine? The internet? (of course you do). Use a search engine? Text message? Send email? Go to a chain department store? Have cable or satellite TV? Ever get a speeding ticket? Been charged with a violation or a misdemeanor? Ever been finger printed or drug tested merely for a job application? Been to a big-city train station? Ever write something on a public forum... like this one?
Well, if you answered "yes" to almost any of these questions (and many more that I haven't the time to think about) then Big Brother has been watching you and knows a whole lot about you... and that information will live in zeros and ones long after you are but a fleeting memory in the minds of the few people left who knew you in the flesh.
George Orwell couldn't have imagined what Big Brother would become in the digital future... or what he will morph into later on. There is, for today and tomorrow, a whole new spin on the concept of immortality.
I would echo the sentiments that increased technological dependency can help to create a setting of a "big brother" setting. Global positioning devices, internet traces on addresses, as well as other technological advances which can be utilized to ascertain a person's habits, practices, and locations could represent a sense of control that would allow a governing body to gain information about its citizens. The notion of "big brother" implies a greater ability to move into the realm of the private, enhancing the strength of the public. If government was able to co-opt the domain of technology, greater control and power can be exerted on the part of government over its citizens. One must remember that part of the Patriot Act, passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks, helped to increase monitoring habits and government authority via technology.
That is an important question. I think if you take "big brother" as the one who watches your every move there are many "big brothers." I think we should be alarmed at this, because this, in my opinion, is a form of control and limits freedom. Let me give you a few examples. First, on a very small level, there is ezpass. By this the government can know where people are going. Second, there is a proliferation of video cameras in public areas. We are being watch or potentially someone can watch us. Third, we see that all of our internet activity can be traced through IP addresses and our phone records can be traced as well. Someone knows a lot about us. So, there are many "big brothers."
I don't have any in my own life, but here are some ideas that people would probably give:
- For teens, I would think that parents and teachers could be seen as personal "Big Brothers." These authority figures might seem to always be watching, trying to control the behavior of the teens.
- For workers, bosses will often feel like this. This is esepcially true of people who work with computers because a lot of companies and other employers monitor their employees' computer usage.
- Some people feel the government is starting to fill the role with things like traffic light cameras.