Sunday, January 3, 2010

Big Brother Is Watching

One of my favorite novels is "1984" by George Orwell. I remember reading it many times and being thankful that I did not live in such a dystopia. I felt sorry for the main characters and wondered what life would be like having someone watching my every move.

This world is rapidly approaching that concept.
I found out from my husband that there are red light cameras stationed on many of the traffic signals along my route to work. I never noticed them, but this morning I made sure to check as I commuted.
There they were! I was dismayed to see them, for that means I have to be extra careful as I travel along to work. I cannot scoot through a yellow light like I have done in the past. I know it's all done for safety, but I can't help thinking that this is only the beginning. There are cameras in elevators, cameras in the stairwells at my job, cameras at ATM's and fast food restaurants, and major cities like New York and Philadelphia have them on a lot of street corners to observe and record activities 24 hours a day.
We are told they are there to "keep us safe". When will the authorities take the next step and start making these cameras more intrusive? We are already told we cannot talk on the phones in our car, we must wear our seat belts as we drive, bike helmets are required...I could go on and on. Are we so fragile and incompetent that we need laws for everything? How did the general public function before all these laws were in place?
When did privacy become a premium?
I realize that these camera were put up originally at high accident intersections to either keep everyone honest, or, failing that, be able to determine the perpetrator of an accident that was caused by careless driving. But what is the reason for cameras on every corner? I can only think it's becoming an easy way for a town to make easy money by snaring the unsuspecting occasional yellow light scofflaw. It is too easy to make the jump from 1 camera in town to multiple sites, then to more intrusive ways to spy on the public.

I prefer to live my life in relative anonymity. I certainly do not want to end up like Winston Smith, the hero of 1984.
What are your thoughts on this?

1 comment:

green machine said...

I always tell people to read "1984" before it happens.. Living on SI in the past yr i have accrued about 6 red lgt tickets between me and my BF. It is so frustrating as I found that the reason i kept getting one was that i had to slow down to avoid "craterlike" potholes as i crossed the intersection---thus losing the light. Does anyone know if the patriot act will ever expire?