Local News

George Orwell Had It Right: Big Brother Is Watching

Posted December 29, 1999

— Do not look now, but someone is watching you. They may not be peering into your living room, but they are keeping a close eye on you almost everywhere else you go.

The line between "public" and "private" is getting blurry. Technology is letting strangers track just about everybody and everything, and the question is how far will it go?

They are watching you, paging you, tracking you on the Internet, calling you and even monitoring your drive to work.

Not unlike the movie adaptation of George Orwell's book, "1984," it feels like someone is always keeping an eye on us.

"Out into the future, I think people are going to become aware of just how much the world has impinged on their privacy and on their private time," said psychologist Don Azevedo.

Azevedo believes that loss of privacy will breed caution.

"People are going to make a different set of choices about how they spend their time and how free they are with their information," said Azevedo.

"Privacy, when it comes to the camera, is a big issue. Just who can see me?" said Barry Simmons.

Simmons runs a security company. As surveillance cameras get smaller and more sophisticated, Simmons says concerns about privacy increase.

"When it comes to alarm people like ourselves being able to see into the home, to be able to say 'Okay, what's going on there, it's 12:00, and the alarm went off,' they're getting a little sensitive and probably rightfully so about some of that," said Simmons.

Despite concerns, Azevedo says people are not running for the hills yet.

"You're going to see people starting to rebel a little bit, but I don't thing they're going to run to the mountains. I think they're just going to make smarter and better choices," said Azevedo.

Azevedo says some of the choices may be spending less time on the computer and more time with family, turning off the pager and cell phone and guarding information like social security numbers and credit card numbers more closely.

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