In George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984″ the totalitarian state watched over its citizens with a TV which was two way and couldn’t be turned off and with various wire tapping devices and spies. When the book was written in 1949 there was no inkling of the digital revolution to come. Computers were still as big as houses and used vacuum tubes instead of transistors or integrated circuits.
Our whereabouts can be tracked in real time by our mobile phones. All of our text messages can be read. All of our purchases are monitored through our debit/credit cards. There are surveillance drones which can fly, climb and hide all while taking video and sound recordings. Now they are the size of a small bird but they are working on a mosquito sized version. Armed drones can use infrared tracking and kill people on the ground with bullets or missiles. They can do this without any human intervention. The webcams affixed to our computers can be hacked to take video and sound recordings without our knowing it.
The really weird part is we actually pay for most of these items ourselves.
Then there is closed circuit television (CCTV). They are everywhere these days in stores, shops, storage yards, ATM machines, petrol stations and even on street corners and light poles. In some places they can supply real time feedback to police stations over great distances.
This would be cool if it weren’t so scary.