In 1949 the world dominated by computers, internet and video surveillance only existed in science fiction. That’s also the year that British author George Orwell published his novel 1984 in which the world was controlled through computers, internet and video surveillance. Big Brother was the dictator who kept watch on everyone, controlling every aspect of their lives, professionally and privately. The people were constantly reminded of his presence with phrase ‘Big Brother is watching you.’
Many of us have the feeling that Big Brother is real and watching us today in the form of the NSA, FBI and who knows who else. But the citizens of Ypsilanti Township in Michigan are moving one step closer to Big Brother spying on their activities and movements the moment they step out their doors.
City officials are erecting surveillance cameras in every neighborhood in the township. Director of the Office of Community Standards says the cameras are only being placed in public areas and are no different than having law enforcement officers standing in the neighborhoods on a 24/7 basis.
But the fact is, police do not stand in every neighborhood 24/7 and they don’t record everything that goes on throughout the neighborhood. But if that’s not enough, Ypsilanti residents will be forced to pay for the camera surveillance system whether they approve of the idea or not.
Big Brother surveillance is creeping into other cities as well. Police in Austin, Texas are requiring live access to all of the video feeds from public schools, using the excuse of ‘in case there is a school shooting.’ Law enforcement in Modesto, California have refurbished an armored truck that they are calling the Armadillo that is equipped with numerous video and audio surveillance equipment to use wherever they drive through the city and residential neighborhoods.
A number of cities already have an extensive camera surveillance system in their cities. Some of these cities like Seattle are starting to use facial recognition software with their surveillance systems.
Technology is a great thing and makes many aspects of life much easier, but like all good things, there are too many evil people out there that will turn it against us. We are hearing about more major retailers that are having their systems hacked, providing the hackers with the credit card info of millions of shoppers. Several government agencies have been hacked as well as numerous businesses. With this capability and the unethical spying on Americans already revealed, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that Big Brother is already watching us. Call me paranoid or not, I keep a Post-it over the camera on my laptop to prevent anyone from hacking in and watching me work, although I’m not sure they would gain anything from doing so.