A prelude to 1984

The book 1984 by George Orwell is about Winston Smith who works for a repressive regime that rewrites history to fit their current narrative.

It has actually quite a few years since I read this book but you might think with all that is going on in the world it is a rough draft for a new book. We don’t have a repressive regime at the moment but there is quite a few of the elements that could be important for such situation.

We definitely have the Stalinesque ability to track people. Oddly enough rather than having televisions that track us, well, we have some of that as well but most adults do carry around a device that can be used to track the person carrying it within a few feet. We also use computers in such a way that allows a number of different companies to know a lot about us including very personal information. The people tell search engines and ISP’s information about themselves and what they are interested in.

The US government does surveillance of their own citizens in quite a few different ways. One of which is to track the communications of its citizens. So much data has been looked at this is “this isn’t a wiretap, it’s a country-tap.”. Knowing who is calling who, along with the frequency, can help to get a picture of who your “circle of friends” are. To be honest, if you looked through my phone bill for a few months you would have a good idea who I call, if there is a pattern and perhaps by looking at the names you would know if they are family.

If you don’t make many phone calls this is a pretty easy way to see who you are really connected to but with all of the new technology some of these calls are starting to fall off the radar. It is possible to call your digital contacts using apps such as WhatsApp, Signal, Facebook messager, Skype and many others. Some of these other apps actually make it harder for wiretaps whether they are with or without a warrant.

How can we fill in this lost information? The government could start to find your circle of friends a bit more directly by looking at the various social media groups you participate in.. Yet, how can you know if John Smith is a Facebook member and what his username is? Perhaps you can have your law enforcement gather which companies you frequent – nah that would be over the top.

LAPD officers told to collect social media data on every civilian they stop

Nope, I guess the Los Angeles Police force has been doing just this and this is including individuals who are not arrested or accused of a crime.

This would give a lot of direct information, again, the people being surveilled would be keeping all of their relationships current.

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