You've heard the expression, "Big Brother." It’s taken from George Orwell’s book “1984”. It describes a totalitarian society where every citizen is under constant surveillance: Orwell wrote it 70 years ago. News flash, Big Brother has arrived. Big Brother is already watching you.
On our program recently, China watcher Michael Pillsbury described a global surveillance system, using facial recognition, which allows the Chinese government to watch anyone, anywhere, in real time. If that’s not a modern day Big Brother, I don't know what is!
We've also learned that Amazon's home helper, Alexa, can listen in to what you're saying, even when Alexa has not been asked a question: She's always listening.
Google operates Gmail, the very widely used email service. Google reads those emails: I recently received a call from India offering treatment for back pain. How did the caller know that? Ah! I'd mentioned the problem in an email. Google read it and passed along a tip to India: Hey, this guy might pay for treatment!
Apple's FaceTime has a bug that allows people to eavesdrop.
Facebook knows everything about everyone. They're following you.
I wish I could say there's a way out of all this, but I don't think there is. We've opened the surveillance box and we can't close it up. Much of our life is online. You can't realistically go offline. This is the face I’ve got, and facial recognition will pick me out anywhere.
In the book the main character, Winston Smith is caught having an independent thought! He is eventually "normalized" and ends up loving Big Brother!