September 8, 2018

Big Brother is watching... better be paranoid

The 2010s will be remembered as the first decade in which we, the people, paid for the pleasure of welcoming Big Brother into our lives. When George Orwell depicted an inescapable surveillance state — telescreens in every room monitoring every move, recording every sound, and reporting it all to the authoritarian leader — in his classic novel 1984, he probably never imagined that in 2018, folks would pay $600 (plus a recurring monthly fee) for the privilege of carrying a telescreen in their pockets.

China’s surveillance apparatus includes facial recognition technology connected to an expansive network of CCTV cameras and to camera-sunglasses that police officers wear; soon it will be connected to a flock of drones disguised as birds. The Chinese government has also announced they will soon be requiring facial scans at train stations as part of their growing dragnet.

Some Chinese citizens are even being required to install special software on their phones that tracks what they download. Footage from surveillance cameras, tweets, Facebook posts, and attempts to visit banned or otherwise “bad” websites can all affect your “social credit score,” which has been used to prevent “risky” citizens from doing all kinds of things, from buying airline tickets to getting your kids into private school.


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