Big brother is watching you!


This statement has already resounded in my head so many times that I cannot get it out sometimes. Is there really anyone sitting, listening and watching each of my steps? My entire week, my career, my life? The idea is definitely unsettling, but how could we avoid it? Not buying all our up-to-date devices – but they are so attractive and we definitely cannot imagine our lives without them. Just think a little moment about your mobile. Living 350 kilometres far away from my parents our contact would be almost completely lost. To be honest having no mobile I would not move so far but still. And my pc? My laptop? My tablet? Ok, the tablet is a little bit unnecessary, maybe from time to time, but the others are not. All currently living generations cannot surely live without these gadgets. Unfortunately, the risk of being watched is still current and is more current each day of our lives. Each day there can appear a new surveillance camera in front of our office, in front of the bus stop where we wait every day for the bus and even in front of our house, because our neighbour wants to feel safer. The „eye“ is everywhere and the feeling of unease is growing.


Nevertheless, until a certain point in my life I wasn't feeling and seeing any threat. Perhaps it started after reading one of the most famous and popular novels of the 20th century, the book called 1984, written by George Orwell. Of course, I heard about the book about 15 years ago at school, but reading it made my eyes wide open and my mind understanding. For those who have never heard or read this book it is an exquisite story about perhaps a 40-year-old man living in a strange world. The world, where each of his steps is being watched by something or somebody. The surveillance cameras, microphones, his neighbours, his enemies and, unfortunately, also his friends pose threats or are potential ones. As the reader can easily understand, the man has no right to choose – he has to do what he is told and nothing more. One example from many - what really struck me was the point of having sex. Intercourse was, of course, allowed but only for procreation, not for our own pleasure, as it is natural.

So in this world if you do anything inappropriate, you can be very easily „vaporised“ and no one will know if you are dead, imprisoned or only moved away. You just stop existing. But the most shocking fact I have felt after finishing the book was the truth it contained. As far as I know, the book was written some short time before the Second World War. I believe, this fact means nothing to you now, but if you read it, you will understand. It perfectly described the world which would be led by the party of communists or fascists. It was so spine-chillingly similar to how our life in the Czech Republic looked 30 years ago, that you cannot miss it. I know I exaggerate – it was not SO brutal, not SO bad, but it was going to be... don't you think?


Big brother can be everywhere! Or maybe he already is... I was watching the news on TV last night and there was a reporter announcing that there is again some unfortunate loophole in the law that allows anybody to get totally legally your social insurance number and other confidential data in the post office, for example. So how can we even protect ourselves when anybody can come and without registration get everything he wants? It is not even worth talking about computers. Hackers can get anywhere. They are sort of invisible thieves and we even don't know we are being robbed. I had a classmate at university and her boyfriend got to the immense troubles just because he let his ex-girlfriend make a copy of his identity card. Yeah, but what followed after some time nobody believed. The execution due to unpaid loan of a half million Czech crowns. What a great surprise!


Another reason which makes me think about this issue is one TV series. It is called “A Person of Interest.” The story is about two men – Mr. Finch and Mr. Reese - cooperating on one common noble idea of saving people who are supposed to be killed or threated. Mr. Finch is a rich IT programmer who was cooperating during his career on many interesting projects. Except for one. One was unique. It was ordered by government so with top security they were preparing the system which would be able to recognise the threat and send a warning to a man in charge who would evaluate the information and send for help. But the system is just a system. He cannot see and understand. He has to be taught to be able to see – through the surveillance cameras, web cameras and so on. So Mr. Finch spent years creating the system and teaching it to understand people and to be able to evaluate the situation correctly. Unfortunately, the system wasn't finally used or bought by government and after some unfortunate events Mr. Finch started to cooperate with the system by himself. But he was definitely not the type of a man who would be able to stop somebody from killing. Therefore, he found his partner Mr. Reese, who was doing this “dirty work” for him. Of course, he was usually not supposed to kill anybody – just stop that. The only, but not the slightest problem, was that the system just gave them the social insurance number of a person. They had to find out by themselves, if the person is a victim or a perpetrator...


This TV show is partly like a fairy tale – fighting for good and threatening the evil … but is this all just a story? Isn't it really part of our world? Hard to tell. We are who we are and we can never know who is in front of our house.



And now, dear reader, I would like to ask you – Do you still feel safe in your country, in your town, in your house? 



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Big brother is watching you! B