Lack of Privacy in 1984 Essay

Category: Literature
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Privacy is a loose term in our world today because no one abides by it and the privacy of many people is invaded every day. People don’t even think about being watched when they’re posting personal experiences in their life on social media. Invasion of privacy is a serious issue concerning the Internet, as e-mails can be read and/or encrypted, and cookies can track a user and store personal information. Lack of privacy policies and employee monitoring threatens security also. Individuals should have the right to protect themselves as much as possible from privacy invasion and they shouldn’t have to give in to the lowered standards of safety being pursued by the government. The government has the ability and justification to go through a person’s social media account, listen to phone calls, and read text messages as a way of narrowing down possible suspects for terrorism.

Technology is constantly upgrading and internet is being used daily worldwide which creates unique challenges for individuals privacy rights while there are regulators looking to preserve both privacy rights and the improvement of technology. Today people also need protection from large companies but the law has been slow to provide such protection. People today are concerned about data being collected about them and believe they should be informed about it, but some people do not take their time to read the terms and conditions and privacy policies because its too long to read and they just want to accept to get whatever they want. In 1984, George Orwell is warning us and exposing the world that there is a lack of privacy in technology and that we need to be aware of everything we do and say because someone is always watching or listening.

In 1984, Orwell includes microphones in the bushes in the outskirts of London to warn the reader that someone is listening even if you are in a place that you think no one can hear or see you. In the book Julia and Winston want to meet somewhere, where they will not be heard or seen by other people or a telescreen. They decide to go out into the countryside of London where there were no telescreens but there may be microphones hidden in bushes; “There were no telescreens, of course, but there was always the danger of concealed microphones by which your voice might be picked up and recognized” (Orwell 117). Winston and Julia were being very risky for them to be talking and doing forbidden things when they could be recorded. The microphones being hidden in the bushes shows that someone is always watching or listening even if you don’t suspect it. With the microphones listening for noises or motion they could easily pick up Winston and Julia walking out to the countryside and that is invading into their privacy when they don’t want others knowing about what they are doing. The microphones are there to expose the people that go out to the outskirts of London to try to get some privacy just like Orwell wants to expose how their privacy is being invaded all of the time.

From microphones to telescreens, in 1984, Orwell uses telescreens, that can’t be turned off, to show how the government and Big Brother are constantly watching the citizens and they know their every move. In the beginning of the book, Winston is walking into his flat to and decided not to use the lift but instead use the stairs. Once he got into his home the telescreen was watching him and he couldn’t turn it off, so what he did was, “Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely” (Orwell 2). Winston is constantly being watched and listened to by the telescreens and it is breaching his privacy. The telescreens are showing that literally someone is always watching you and you every move and action. Winston can not turn the telescreen he can only turn the volume down which means that he will never have any privacy. Orwell is warning that technology is evolving and watching your every move and invading into people’s privacy and Winstons privacy every day.

On the other hand, in the real world in today’s society technology is always listening to the things we say and can interpret it in the wrong way. There have been multiple mishaps in technology and one of them was with the Amazon Echo and a couple. The Amazon Echo overheard a couples conversation, recorded their conversation, and sent it to one of the couples coworkers. The reason it could have sent was that the couple said keywords to set off the Amazon Echo. The female Danielle said, ‘’I felt invaded,’ Danielle told KIRO. ‘A total privacy invasion. Immediately, I said, I’m never plugging that device in again, because I can’t trust it.’” (Wamsley). The Echo was listening to this couples conversation because the device is always on and waiting for code or keywords for it to activate, but it is always listening for those words. As Danielle said it was invading their privacy and they are lucky that it was not a confidential conversation and it was just them talking about hardwood floors. The technology of the Amazon Echo is always listening to every conversation and that is invading people’s privacy. The privacy of this couple was violated and there will be many more in the future because there is a lack of privacy in technology.

With there being privacy issues with Amazon there is also an ongoing issue with Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg leaking profile data and information. In their most recent publication they exposed 50 million facebook users accounts. In the article by the New York Times, it said, “The breach, which was discovered this week, was the largest in the company’s 14-year history. The attackers exploited a feature in Facebook’s code to gain access to user accounts and potentially take control of them” (Isaac & Frenkel). The technology exposed the data of many users and put them at risk of getting hacked and their privacy was violated. Technology has come a long way but things like this are what makes it scary because it is so easy for our privacy to be invaded and for our information and data to be used by third parties and hackers. The hackers had the potential to take control over these users accounts and manipulate them. The privacy of all of the 50 million facebook users that were hacked was violated and technology is the cause of that.

In 1984, the privacy of the civilians was non existent and they did not have any due to the government and Big Brother watching over them all the time through the microphones and the telescreens. Winston and Julia had very little privacy in 1984. In the real world today privacy breaches are happening all around the internet and through technology. The couple had their conversation send to another person without them asking the Amazon Echo to do that proving that the Echo is alway listening to their conversations. Also the information and data on 50 million facebook users accounts was breached and had the potential for hackers to take over the account. When dealing with privacy always read over the terms and conditions because companies will trick you with the fine print and always know that technology or someone could be watching and listening invading into your privacy.

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Lack of Privacy in 1984 Essay. (2021, Jun 17). Retrieved from

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