Imagine the world through the eyes of hundreds of cameras and monitoring devices, whirring in indifference for the trusts they have breached and the illusion of privacy they demolish. But it is done quietly. The key is to not be noticed, for the looming hand that grasps us when we are most vulnerable does so in silent shudders. The sacred covenant between the state and the people — between the private and public lives people lead — are besieged by this neurotic insecurity to scrutinize every single move someone makes, in fear that their next move might be destructive. The world is repressed and indignant, the people withheld for the private life has been breached and Big Brother is the flood that deluges the levee.
In America, however, Big Brother is not the oppressive government as depicted in George Orwell’s “1984” but your own spouse. There is a new arms race in the American conscious, and it is happening within our very own homes. There is a race to catch the other person, a cat and mouse game of high-tech infidelity where neither person is safe from the looming eyes of the other’s devices. Perhaps one is familiar with the show “Cheaters,” where concerned husbands and wives would hire a camera crew to see if their significant other was cheating on them and would normally end with an explosive confrontation. However, that is the tip of the iceberg. Sales amongst corporations that specialize in GPS tracking devices are experiencing huge increases . According to one corporation that specializes in the sale of tiny devices for handbags and clothing, their sales have almost doubled. Another company, which sells devices that magnetically attach to cars, has projected quarterly sales that already surpass all of 2011’s profits. Sales for hidden cameras and nannycams are up 40 percent this year and GPS trackers are up 80 percent. Ninety-two percent of lawyers surveyed cited an increase in evidence from smartphones for civil court cases.
Pay really close attention to those statistics, and you’ll see a trend not just amongst how much people distrust each other but also in how much the great hand of capitalism has its diamond hand in all this. The fabric of the conventional marriage and the idealization of trust are disintegrating before our eyes, and corporations are selling us the firewood to fuel it. We’re watching it burn on the camera footage they sold us, the very same ones they’re watching as well. Facebook sells the information of its users to corporations so that they can use the social network’s 850 million monthly active users as continuous sponsors and marketing prey . Every time you click the like button on something, you alert a certain corporation of your interest, thus subjecting yourself to their marketing campaign. Corporations have learned to utilize software to not only track and control their employees but to predict the shopping patterns of their consumers. And all of this is done in the name of making a profit, businesses bearing not a single blush of shame in destroying the privacy of its loyal consumers for one or two dollars more.
The Big Brother of Orwell’s time is the Big Brother of the Patriot Act during Margaret Thatcher’s time, but not at all the democratic surveillance sold unwittingly to the consumer. There seems to be reason for concern as the privatization of technology coincides with the dissolution of privacy itself, and big business being the profiteer. That camera spying on you? A corporation sold that.
Nikolas Reda-Castelao is a contributing columnist. Email him at email@example.com.
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