5 Ways We're Living (and Working) in an Orwellian Society

You might not be a fan of grim dystopian fiction, so allow me to explain what an Orwellian society is: the term is based on author George Orwell’s vision of the near future featured in his seminal work Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell’s vision of this world was a totalitarian, elitist political system in which its citizens are controlled, brainwashed and constantly watched, and as a result have no privacy.

Information is misrepresented to facilitate the system’s agenda, and people who decide to stand against this system are completely erased from existence. Now I know you’re wondering what totalitarian governments and work have to do with one another, but I ask you give me a few moments of your time, and you will leave here feeling a little bit more enlightened (and a lot more paranoid).

The NSA IS Big Brother

In Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the leader of the totalitarian state was an ill-defied omnipotent godlike character named Big Brother. He in fact is so ill-defined (not because Orwell was a bad author) that he was more of a symbol of the state, an imaginary figurehead of sorts, that the dictatorial government spoke through. One of his main points that this emblematic persona conveys is “Big Brother is Watching You” to the extent that, if you didn’t watch the propaganda played on the Telescreens or were seen wearing a dissident facial expression while Big Brother spoke, was grounds for you to be unpersoned, or erased from existence both literally and in terms of documentation.

On top of everything else, Big Brother also monitors against thoughtcrime, or thinking in a way that is damaging to the Inner Party (which is what the government in Orwell’s book calls itself). Maybe the NSA won’t prosecute you for thinking a certain way (on the other hand, I really wouldn’t try), but they are watching you and engaging in others nefarious things than that. Let’s take a look.

Target Doesn’t Care About Thoughtcrime

Big-box stores like Target don’t give a rat’s ass about your plot to overthrow the government and replace all the state representatives with Shetland ponies. They just want to know if you’re pregnant… if that’s a biological possibility, of course. If you’re a dude… well, we’ll get to that later.

According to ex-Target statistician Andrew Pole, he was approached by the company’s marketing team to figure out a way to track new parents. The reason is that new parents generally consolidate their shopping trips and only visit one location for all their household needs as opposed to going to multiple and more specialized shops as most other consumers do. New parents for multi stores like Target are considered pay dirt because, instead of going to the mall for clothes, online for toys and to the supermarket for food items, they shop everything from one big-box store.

They Know Where You Want to Go

Yes, multinational security firm Raytheon has created software that can predict future behaviors based on your movement on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. Although the company says that it hasn’t yet sold the software, a lot of surveillance and national security agencies have shown great interest. In irony of ironies, the system is called RIOT ‘cause why make a system that has the ability to trample on civil liberties and watch the movement of free citizens if you can give it a nefarious name?


Big Brother’s Brother Is Watching

In a fictional universe in which Big Brother had a sibling, it would probably be Big Corporate Boss. If you think that shiny new iPhone the company gave you for both business and personal use is a great perk, think again [cue ominous music].

Only four states in the States have specific laws relating to tracking the movement of employees with GPS technology: California, Connecticut, Delaware, and Texas. OK, so we are familiar with GPS tracking for company cars to curtail fuel consumption, but did you know that an employer can ask you to put a tracking device on your personal vehicle if you use it for work-related activities, or that they can use a company-owned smart device to track you? Again, without legal repercussions! Because, as the little section below indicates (sourced from Dinsmore), not being at work when you should be or fraudulently claiming you are home sick when you’re in fact at a Blink-182 concert doesn’t infringe on the items below, and can get you shit-canned.

Invasion of privacy claims:

  • Appropriating the plaintiff’s identity for the defendant’s benefit
  • Placing the plaintiff in a false light in the public eye
  • Publicly disclosing private facts about the plaintiff
  • Unreasonably intruding upon the seclusion or solitude of the plaintiff

They Sell YOU

I’m pretty sure Big Money could beat out Big Brother any day of the week. Why? Well, because Big Money is always interested to infringe further on their customers for money; Big Brother just wants to preserve the status quo. The thing you need to remember about Big Money is that it’s all about getting something for something – something for nothing doesn’t exist. Free apps, free email carriers, and Facebook all gather information in hundreds of different ways and sell it off to the highest bidder.

You know those annoying games you keep getting invited to? Well, those addictive pieces of shit, once installed on your phone, seek out your email address, current location and sexual preference – to name a few creepy items. Skype actually looks for photos and birthdays… of not only you but your friends, too. One of Yahoo!’s Facebook apps does the same, but they claim it’s to better their services and that the personal information taken from their customers is very secure. This would be great news if it wasn’t for the fact that they shouldn’t have had that information in the first place.

So, Facebook offers a free service which you pay for with your personal data and then sells that to advertisers that want that information – pretty great setup… for a corporation that treats its users like milk-bearing cows. Wake up, people: Facebook and other free services are pulling at our teats! OUR TEATS!!!

See Also: 4 Most Lucrative Black Market Trades

Are there any other indications that we might be living in a totalitarian society with little to no privacy and even fewer rights? Well let me know in the comment section below and remember 2+2=5 because Google says so.