Big Brother

This opening line gave me chills.

“It used to be easy to tell whether you were in a free country or a dictatorship.”

It is well past 1984 and yet the government can check up on us in ways Orwell never imagined. And you and I make it easy for them.

The line above is from the article titled “Learning to live with Big Brother“. This was the second in a series published in The Economist. It does not focus on the illegal or border-line illegal methods practiced by the current administration. Instead it describes the myriad of information available that we put out there. Everything we do electronically, every payment with a credit or debit card, every website we visit leaves a data trail.

Data mining is being conducted with increasingly sophisticated mathematical formulae that can sift through large data sets to uncover patterns and even predict certain behaviors. This may be helpful for uncovering terrorists but the information can also be used to keep tabs on us non-terrorists.

Even those of us with nothing to hide can be cursed with incorrectly entered data or be mistaken for someone with the same name. Senator Ted Kennedy was denied boarding a plane because his name came up on some list. I get asked if I am “the actor” all the time when I meet new people. (It never ceases to be “funny” no matter how many times I hear it. He is dead btw.)

I am not sure what to do. All we can really do is hope that each future administration uses the data for our good and not for their own evil ways. Or, we can become cave dwellers.

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About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

One Response to Big Brother

  1. Frank says:

    Man, it’s what worries me about retina scanners and EZ Passes…they know where you are every minute. I read a couple of years ago that there’s NO provision for airports to ask for identity…but we give it up willingly. There’s a guy out there fighting that fight. I’m getting to be more and more a fan of protecting my identity…meaning the gov’t doesn’t need to know what I do.

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