Freedom, the state, and what Orwell got wrong

 

“Boing Boing co-editor and sci-fi author Cory Doctorow explains the idea behind his novel Little Brother, which he describes as “related” to George Orwell’s 1984 in that both explore similar themes of technology and control. Although Doctorow argues that Orwell may have underestimated the ability of technology to empower individuals, he warns that future technologies may allow governments more control over their citizens — and parents more control over their children — than ever before.”

Assignment: Watch the video and write a 500 word reflection piece. What’s one thing about which Doctorow strikes you as clearly right? What’s one thing about which you think he’s wrong? What’s one question you’re left with at the end? Give examples and reasons.

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13 thoughts on “Freedom, the state, and what Orwell got wrong

  1. Lily K says:

    Reflecting upon the notion of technology and control, Doctorow suggested “technology was giving power back to individuals”. Contrary to Orwell’s beliefs, which argued that technology makes people less free and multiples the power of the state, I too believe that technology has increased the freedom of individuals. The use of technology is rapidly increasing in order to produce greater efficiency for the public. From the comfort of your own home one can go grocery shopping, banking, engage in online gaming, conduct research, download music, connect with old friends across the country, and the list goes on. Virtually, technology has provided individuals with the opportunity to do anything, wherever, and whenever they want to. In my opinion, this is an example of providing individuals with a form of power.

    However, in addition to our freedom in this technological world, comes this aspect of control, surveillance, and authority. Doctorow brings about this concern regarding censorware and mandatory surveillance in federally funded schools and libraries, thus resulting in this “encroachment of personal autonomy”. Although I agree that it is becoming more and more prominent in the society that we live in, I also believe that this sense of censorship should be mandatory in certain institutions, especially those in which younger and more vulnerable individuals are exposed to. For example, when I was in elementary schools, students were given lessons in the computer lab; we were given the opportunity to explore the computer, learn how to type properly, etc. Nevertheless, the computers had certain privacy settings, and would block us from websites that were irrelevant to our learning process. I believe that this type of control is necessary in an academic setting for younger individuals, especially when it results in the students becoming unproductive or easily distracted. Unfortunately, these boundaries of privacy, control and supervision become slightly controversial when analyzed on a larger scale. How far is too far? Is it an invasion of privacy when my Facebook page somehow knows that I am a female university student, resulting in numerous advertisements on Uggs, credit cards, Winterlicious, and how to quickly burn fat? The fine print may read that I have allowed access to this information by somehow clicking a random ‘I accept’ button those many years ago when I first agreed to those Facebook rules. So in that case, I guess that I have allowed Facebook and their partners to survey my Facebook activity. But how about when the United States gets caught spying on their German allies? In this situation, I believe that Orwell could very well have a valid point when he “saw the state gaining more power through technology”.

    In conclusion, I believe that we are left in a ‘technological cycle’. Doctorow pointed out an interesting concept that left me thinking. He mentions that you can build a wall to defend something of yours, but it only takes one imperfection to knock that wall down. Meaning, you would need a perfect wall, whereas others would only need to find one imperfection. Although technology may be used as a tool to control individuals, technology is also being used as a tool to undo it. For example, think about the concept of downloading music or watching television shows online. People learn how to download/watch TV shows illegally through certain websites, but then the sites get removed. A few days later, another website emerges, gains popularity and then it gets removed again. This is just one simple example of how technology can help us undermine other existing technology. This leaves me with a question: will there be an end to this technological cycle?

  2. steph b says:

    I find myself in a polarizing conundrum with this assignment as I respect both Orwell and Doctorow for their ground-breaking (in Orwell’s case) and visionary (in both cases) works. 1984 was written in 1949. In it, Orwell envisions a world totally controlled by the State and an entity known as “Big Brother”. Technology is the weapon the State uses to maintain control over the populous and language (Newspeak) is the ammunition. Little Brother was written in 2008 and finds it protagonist in the wrong place at the wrong time and arrested by the government as he is suspected of being of a terrorist plot. The book shows how the protagonist rallies his friends and peers by using technology in some rather creative ways to fight back. If you have not read either of these books, you should. Both are highly relevant for today’s times.
    In his speech, Doctorow says that since 911 we have lost track of our freedoms and rights. With this I highly agree. What you think you might have as freedom, think again. The most current example is the investigation going on today about CSEC collecting metadata on Canadians in Canadian airports. How free do you think that Wi-Fi is now? Here’s a link to the article if you wish to read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/spy-agencies-prime-minister-s-adviser-defend-metadata-collection-1.2521166 Quite frankly, metadata can be more revealing about you than the contents of your email. Metadata is data about data, so it can reveal information such as who sent the email, from where, how, which email clients were used to send/receive, which device(s) were used to send/receive said messages and perhaps more disturbing, your location.
    Doctorow also said that for the state to maintain control, it takes a lot of work. Yes it does, not only to keep an eye on everyone but to maintain the defenses. Doctorow mentioned all it takes is for someone to find a tiny flaw in those defenses, and down they come. Not only also true, but I would argue they have. One need only to look at two people: Edward Snowden (releasing NSA documents) and Julian Assange (WikiLeaks), and one group: Anonymous, to see the effective holes in the totalitarian wall they have created.
    I do, however take issue with Doctorow saying Orwell got it wrong. Doctorow thinks Orwell mistook the local effect for the global effect. 1984 was speculative fiction written in 1949 about a world that could be, not what it was going to be (although one could effectively argue that much in the novel has come true). Orwell was predicting what could happen with technology using the knowledge (and fear) of technology available at the time, not to mention WWII had just ended and the Cold War was just starting. I think Doctorow has fallen victim to imposing 21st century ideals on a previous era.
    Doctorow also talked about a swing where control went from state to individual back to state (current) and slowly returning to individual. This leaves me with several questions: how far is all of this going to go? Will it eventually even out or will it become a pendulum out of control? Or, perhaps the most frightening of all – will the technology itself become the equalizer? Skynet anyone?

  3. steph b says:

    p.s. here is the link to Cory Doctorow’s blog and website if this assignment has interested you in him and his works: http://craphound.com/

  4. Spencer Page says:

    Doctorow makes a compelling point that I strongly agree with, which is the notion that future technologies will enable Governments to have more control over it’s citizens then ever before, and likewise, will enable parents to have more control over what their children are doing. As technology advances, the power of the Governments to keep tabs on their citizens has multiplied. Surveillance and censorware technologies have undoubtedly created real issues around power and privacy. In fact, Doctorow cited a disturbing example that certain companies were selling transcripts of private instant messages (IM’s) and emails between individuals under the guise of “understanding behavior” but when in reality, it was for financial gain. With regards to the role technology plays in the parent-child relationship, I think Doctorow is once again, spot on. Technology advancements have been the impetus in the development of several new apps and device platforms that are allowing parents to keep track of their child’s whereabouts. For example, “Find Friends” is a free mobile app, which is available on almost any android or smartphone device. The app enables individuals to track one another using GPS technology. Parents are using this app to keep track of their children, which is understandable in certain circumstances, but could also be seen as a violation of privacy and trust between the parent and child. However, Doctorow makes another point, which I disagree with. He believes that technology’s role in our lives “makes people less freer.” While admittedly, there are many new technologies that can confine and limit people, the advancements in technology also exist which have enabled individuals to attain tremendous freedom. For example, it is not difficult to be anonymous online. Many social media applications allow for anonymity to post videos, pictures or comment under an alias, where free speech is not only permissible, but also encouraged. Being able to comment anonymously, removes any inhibitions one may have in articulating their point of view. One question that I was left with at the end, is whether advancement in technology leading to Government control over its citizen, is really a bad thing? I believe that if Governments could effectively employ the new surveillance technologies in high crime-rate areas, would this serve to eliminate, or at least reduce, rates of crime?

  5. Jitesh Vyas says:

    Doctorow’s point on technology giving power back to individuals resonates with me. Doctorow is 42 years old, meaning his adolescence was 30 years ago in the 1980s. This was a critical point in time for the technological revolution our world experienced. The epicentre of the revolution was in the Silicon Valley area, where computer hardware was being mass produced and more accessible to the public. The interesting thing about the technology sector is that as processes become more efficient and the products improve, they also get cheaper. This put technology in the hands of everyday hobbyists and this helped build start-up companies in the tech space. We saw the birth of companies like Apple Computers who further pushed this revolution of ‘bringing tech into the hands of the people’ by pushing out the world’s first commercially successful personal computer. Doctorow is absolutely right in that the power was being put into the hands of the people, figuratively and literally.

    I can also attest to his point where he says that there was no supervision on computer usage; roughly 20 years after Doctorow’s experiences, I used my first computer and my parents didn’t really know what to do with it. I picked up new information faster and had more time to play around with the new toy in the house so that’s expected. Doctorow, however, insists that there are waves of control where the power shifts from the people to ‘big brother’ and then back again. I don’t entirely agree with this; I think the situation in the world with can be modelled by what happens in a household. For example, to start, my parents would put restrictions on my usage; they’d tell me I couldn’t do it and as a good son I would listen. In parallel, if the government restricts things, the citizens generally obey as well. This is in the initial stages however, as soon as a crack is found, as Doctorow mentions, everything falls apart. I started using the computer when my parents were at work and couldn’t tell me not to. Hackers find ways to bypass firewalls all the time. I learned out how to reverse settings my parents had implemented to prevent access to certain sites. Hackers can go into systems and find what governments try to hide at will. Comparing myself to a hacker and my parents to the government, it’s interesting to see that though the power does shift in both cases, but it ultimately goes to the hands of the hackers – or me. That isn’t because we have more resources or more legitimate power (in fact there is 0 legitimate power), but it is because we know how to use it right. I think the cycle as described will break in due time as the world’s population grows. Since more people today are growing up with tech than before, the people of the world (big brother included) will be much more tech literate and the power will lie in the hands of the party who can best use the technology presented to them. It will be a toss-up between the two and I’m left with the question of who will emerge victorious at the end.

  6. Danny Ho says:

    I do not agree with Doctorow’s stance on how technology’s role is to break the norm. He claims that Orwell mistook the local effect, for the global effect when it comes to technology. He then makes strong arguments on how technology helps fight against the norm. In contrast, I believe that there is both a local norm, mostly defined by culture, and a global norm, which takes into account the perspective of society as a collective. Technology actually helps us conform to these local and global norms. One example is the sharing of culture through the internet in the form of uploading recipes for foreign foods in Canada. As one of our local norms is to essentially represent a collection of extremely diverse individuals spanning many races and beliefs, technology doesn’t go against this norm, but rather helps us follow through with our local norm. Globally, there is also the social trend of cultural acceptance, which technology also helps us follow through with. I also believe that there will always be some type of norm, but that this norm is relatively undefined, for it is susceptible to change. In a way, this view is shared by Doctorow when he mentions how technology is helping change what is considered the norm.

    I agree with Doctorow’s views on how my generation is facing issues with surveillance on the internet. One recent example is the case of Edward Snowden, and the NSA leaks. We truly do not know the limits of government control and surveillance of our actions online. Obama, in an attempt to quell general dissatisfaction towards the NSA, spoke during his most recent State of the Union address about how the Government of America is reducing the amount of electronic data that they are currently keeping surveillance on. To many, his words seemed like fluff. Instead of keeping full surveillance on electronic data of people who are three steps away from a terrorist, they will now look only at those who are two. In addition, they will now keep the stored data at a third party server, rather than with the NSA. These two stipulations do not really address the issue of how the government is allowed to survey the private information of millions of people simply based on the veiled threat to national security. Another example is how there are certain governments who completely ban certain sites such as Facebook, and Youtube. All in all, the control that governments have when it comes to our personal privacy, and when it comes to the internet in general, is appaling.

  7. Brittany H says:

    Cory Doctorow discusses the technology in relation to control in the video discussion of his novel, “Little Brother”. In response to his discussion, I agree “technology gives power back to individuals.” I also agree that there is a turning point from “technology that asserts control to a technology that undoes it.” However, I believe this is currently more is in a more advanced phase than just “the seeds”, and that we are in the middle of this turning point now.

    Doctorow believes technology gives power to the powerless, contrary to Orwell’s point that it benefits the powerful. I agree with Doctorow because technology allows people of lesser social standing to have an equal voice and feel empowered and important through social media such as blogs or personal websites. It is not just the powerful that benefit at the expense of others, generally speaking, every one has equal access and ability to reap the benefits of technology. In addition to the benefits of social networking to a person’s autonomy, the benefits of technology as a whole are evident in national healthcare, education, and communication systems. These systems would otherwise be provided to those that could afford it, however technology advancements have reduced costs, and the powerless benefit.

    Users are currently able to find ways to protect themselves from surveillance as long as they desire. Because of this, I believe that the “turning point” Doctorow discusses has already happened. All Internet browsers offer an incognito option, which means that you can browse the Internet without sending or receiving any information. This simple option helps protect the privacy of the user on the most basic level. The demand for higher privacy levels in social media has lead to sites, such as Facebook, to constantly reinvent new settings and options to ensure users the privacy they desire. Although it is well known that these options are not full proof, it prevents the common hacker from access information. Surveillance can only discover as much information as we, the users, make available, and the movement towards privacy and protection of control has begun now.

    The question I am left with at the end is whether or not the additional control from technology is necessary do to changing times. Comparing today’s use of technology to its prior use is unfair given that society has changed drastically since then. There are more dangers to children, and the government sees more threats to national security. Society no longer has the ‘small town trust’ where parents can be confident their child is safe roaming alone. Because of this, perhaps cell phone tracking systems are necessary. I wonder if surveillance is something we should be grateful for, rather than something we should avoid? What is the extent that we are being protected from harm? Is this worth our sacrifice in privacy and control? Do we require a “Big Brother”? We, the users, are faced with the decision of whether or not to conform, and sacrifice a level of privacy and control, or “undo” this control and independently protect ourselves.

  8. Eric Pattara says:

    Cory Doctorow explains in this video that George Orwell’s predictions for how technology would be used in the future, with respect to surveillance, was mistaken in his famous novel, 1984. He explains that 1984 uses technology almost exclusively for the benefit of those with power which, of course, operates at the expense of those whom the government would view as powerless. These individuals are the majority in this totalitarian government and it is demonstrated throughout the novel that they are slaves to their government by means of the technology used in everyday life.
    Doctorow believes that technology has actually empowered the modern citizens, due to the increasingly accessible security measures that they can be afforded through their pieces of technology, most notably computers. In the sense that it provides protection on a small or local scale, I would say that he is correct in making this claim. An example of the scale by which I am speaking would be something such as a family’s home computer system or perhaps a school’s computer network. The software available today for parental controls and malware protection is significantly more advanced than what was available in the early days of the internet, which has provided common citizens with the power of control over what extent they choose to use such technologies.
    I disagree with Doctorow for claiming that 1984 incorrectly demonstrated the potential for surveillance on a national scale. While the methods employed by the government were an extreme interpretation of this concept, there are government parties that have utilized the internet specifically for the purpose of generating a surveillance network. A notable example of this would be the NSA, which was recently revealed to be monitoring the internet and telephone communications of over a billion people worldwide. Though they operate primarily in the USA, due to the global use of american technology (for example, google, yahoo, facebook, etc.) their jurisdiction has expanded, resembling a “big brother” type of system. The NSA’s reasoning behind this increased level of security is to be able to isolate potential national security threats, such as acts of terrorism, for the benefit of the people. However, many people believe that they have crossed a line that jeopardizes the privacy of citizens across the globe.
    One thing that Doctorow never really followed through on explaining was his perspective on the level of control that the government does have with their technological resources. He explained some theory of the role of government technology from both Orwell and his own perspectives, but he then branches off and speaks of the local scale of power given through the increased use of technology. I would be interested to hear what a more informed individual, such as Cory Doctorow, has to say on the matter as my own interpretation of governmental technology use resembles somewhat of a voyeuristic society, where information is widely available and traceable, but there is a lack of action on the government’s part.

  9. Aaron Rush says:

    In ‘Little Brother’ and What Orwell Got Wrong by Cory Doctorow, he is discussing privacy, which is a very heated topic right now. Ever since it came out the the u.s government was spying on their citizens, people across the world are waking up and realizing that their privacy is constantly at risk. Cory Doctorow brings up a good point in his talk, which is that because of the advanced technology, governments, corporations and parents have huge power over individuals. He goes on to talk about the crippling software that allows for parents to spy on their kids, and then at one point this company was going around and selling kids instant messaging chats and emails to advertising agencies. As technology has gone much further then anyone could have ever imagined, so has the power to spy on anyone. With all this advancing technology and power that the government has been given, it brings up an interesting debate on where the line should be drawn. Not only is there technology available today that allows for parents to spy on their kids instant messaging chats and emails, but also there is the ability to track where kids are throughout the day through GPS. I’m positive that if any kids understood what their parents were doing through either monitor their instant message chats or tracking them with GPS, they would be furious. I understand the importance of protecting one’s child, but I believe it’s gotten out of hand when a child no longer has the privacy to speak to their friends through email, or go to the mall and see a movie. It starts to make kids feel that parents do not trust them, when their moments are being constantly monitored.

    Cory Doctorow also goes on to discuss censorship in schools and how it is mandatory to censor computers in schools. I believe that in some cases on the school’s internet network, this may be beneficial to the child’s learning. For example, there are some well known websites that are very popular for wasting time online. While I’m sure they have some educational value as well, for the most part these website are just used as a waste of time. In school’s in my view, it’s not so bad to block these websites as it is the school wifi network and should be used to teach kids as best as possible. Sometimes part of getting kids to learn, especially at certain ages, is to eliminate as many distractions as possible. The question I have is that with this new invasion of privacy of the government versus citizens and parents versus children, it would be interesting for someone to do a survey on how much it is actually helping, maybe there are some surveys done which I am not aware of, but they would be interesting to read. What I mean by that is how many people the government has been able to catch for illegal activities by spying on all their citizens, or how many safety concerns parent’s were able to stop by spying on their children.

  10. Kim says:

    After watching the video from Dr. Cory Doctorow explaining the concepts behind his novel “Little Brother”, he raised several very interesting points. One point I particularly agree with is technology has given more power to individuals. He mentioned that Orwell was correct in addressing rise of empowerment through technology, but he was mistaken about whom technology empowered. We are now in the age where any type of knowledge is attainable online. Websites such as Google, Wikipedia and countless others have given people the access to information like never before, conspiracies and scandals haven been publicly clarified or discredited through mass media. Online forums are discussion boards are everywhere, making companies, products, and services to be more critical and aware of customer feedback. In addition, we have seen various examples of students/activists causing impactful changes through the last decade, such as twitter reaction to the political movement in Iran. Technology has given individuals an equal voice and makes them more empowered through social media, push boundaries of government and authorial, as well as reshaping control.
    However, one point that I disagree with Dr. Doctorow on is technology asserts control and then undoes it. I think right now, society is so dependent on technology, to a point where none of us have any control. Imagine a day living without the internet, cell phone, and online games. This infatuation with technology has blinded us from seeing what the real consequences are. No matter how much power individuals think they have, ultimately the decision relies upon government authorities. They can just come up with stricter guidelines go take back control. In an example Doctorow points out, where there are mandatory surveillance for every government funded school computers, kids in that school might think they can “change the world”, but it is still up to authorities to change those kids’ viewpoint. For example, when someone googles about a political issue, why does such website pop up first? How many articles does that individual read before he makes up his mind? How many people will scroll through 5 pages of articles just to see different perspectives of this issue? Do people in North Korea see the same articles as people here? There are countless “new” problems that will come up, so no matter how much access an individual think he/she has, ultimately government authorities still have the end control.
    This back and forth fight over control has no simple solution, so the question that I am left behind is, how much control does an individual really have? I am very curious on finding out if the Canadian government blocks any websites, what kind of legal actions they can do if someone goes over the line. What is the “right” amount access an individual should have? At the end this ongoing battle of control will never end, as people WITH control will not want to give it up, and people WITHOUT control want to gain more.

  11. Jonathan I says:

    In Doctorow’s talk, he argues that authorities have abused their power in monitoring and controlling their citizens’ actions. This view falls in line with what Orwell predicted in his novel 1984 and is one with which I agree. In the post 9/11 age and with the growth of the internet, governments have implemented more intrusive security measures in the name of homeland security. Prime examples are in the NSA public surveillance measures, designed to track actions of every human on the globe and the Chinese internet firewall that censors websites that disagree with the government doctrine. Though these were initially designed to protect citizens, their scope has expanded to the point where one can question whether they encroach on human rights, such as privacy and access to internet. Using these developments as examples, I also agree with Doctorow when he says that governments have the power to create new technologies to further enhance their surveillance. In addition, I would not be surprised if the government expanded an existing security procedure to further track its citizens, as the NSA has done in the States and in foreign countries.

    I disagree with Doctorow in his assessment of a turning point where technology will allow the public to protect itself against government. He cites newer advanced technologies, such as cryptography, that will help us fortify our “walls” against any digital intruders. In my mind, a more fitting metaphor is that we may be able to fortify our walls; however, the authorities can still have a key to the door. The technology possessed by security agencies is much more advanced than what is available in the marketplace today, making this an uphill battle for the citizens. Furthermore, telecom providers have released private phone logs to authorities without our consent or knowledge, meaning that we are competing blindfolded in this privacy battle with parties who are seemingly above the law.

    A question that I pose in light of Doctorow’s talk: if citizens are given the power to fight back against government control, will they overcome apathy and take action? In 1984, Orwell portrayed a society where the citizens’ undying nationalism allowed authorities to do as they pleased without public revolt. In the Western world, we still see occasions where this happens. Many among the general public were quick to defend the Obama administration after Snowden’s NSA revelations, even though it had campaigned for whistleblower protection just years prior. Though NSA reform is happening at the moment, news networks are still more focused on Justin Bieber’s antics or what Miley Cyrus was wearing at the music awards show, showing that the general public seems to have bigger priorities than personal privacy. Until this apathetic mindset changes, I do not see a turning point as being a possibility.

  12. Madison Lott says:

    Growing up in a generation with rapidly evolving technology has allowed me to observe the different pros and cons that occur as things continue to change around us. When I was first exposed to technology at a young age, privacy problems and freedom issues were not a common stress of people who were using computers, cellphones etc. Almost a decade later, privacy concerns and civil rights in relation to technology, have become some of the biggest controversial issues of our current time period. In Corey Doctorow’s discussion about “Little Brother”, he addresses the civil rights that come hand in hand with the development of technology. Corey warns us that “future technologies may allow governments more control over their citizens and—and parents, more control over their children—than ever before”. After listening to Corey’s opinion on “Little Brother” and what Orwell got wrong, I took the time to reflect on my personal experiences and take a look at what he said that I both agree and disagree with.

    First, I strongly agree with Doctorow when he recognizes that in our current generation, technology is giving people with authority more control and power than ever before. He goes on to explain that when he was a young child, no parents ever knew what their children were doing online. Presently, the conversations that children are having online are being censored, monitored, and even sold to market research companies. As avid technology users, we are providing free labor for authority figures, such as advertising companies. Our dependence on technology is transforming society, and strongly influencing our material needs and wants. Corey explains that on a global level technology is upsetting what the “normal” is. People in power are constantly monitoring our everyday actions, potentially changing the way we would “normally” act. I personally agree with the majority of what Doctorow states in this short clip, and I am looking forward to finding out more about his book “Little Brother”.

    Although I do agree with a lot of what Corey discusses, I would have liked to see him address some of the positive attributes that surveillance and technology have to offer. I think he views technology and its impact on civil rights in a solely negative attitude, when realistically this is something that we are going to have to deal with, and make the most of. Technology isn’t going anywhere. In conclusion, I agree that technology controls who we are as individuals, gives us less freedom, and impacts out civil rights. Although, we tend to forget that the majority of technology users, choose to use the technology they do, and benefit from it greatly. If we want to continue taking advantage of these benefits, we will have to accept the cons, and do our best to prevent total dependence on technological devices, ensuring the best future for ourselves, and generations to come.

  13. Sam Horton says:

    Cory Doctorow’s explanation of the contrast between George Orwell’s book 1984, and his novel titled Little Brother cover many topics and issues.
    I agree with Doctorow when he states “technology gives authorities power to assert even more control than they’ve ever had before” , this being in our current day society. Authorities now have access to information about society than they could have ever dreamed of a decade ago. For example, Apples new Iphone 5s has been criticized for selling their new phones with a finger print scanner. Apple promoted the new phones capabilities of having stricter security than its predecessor because of its unique finger print identifying technologies, but ironically this has been criticized to be quite the opposite. The data collected from individuals phones regarding their unique finger prints have been collected by Apple and shared to the NSA (National Security Agency) According to a Forbes article titled “The NSA Reportedly Has Total Access To The Apple Iphone” backed up with primary sources of such agreements between Apple and the NSA. Such technological advancements continue to share more and more information of individuals than those individuals may even have knowledge of.

    I don’t agree with Doctorow’s idea that technology will eventually overcome the type of technology that asserts control. The idea in George Orwell’s book 1984 that Doctorow’s reiterates as being a plausible solution to an persisting problem is still one of fiction. This ideal transition as illustrated in George Orwell’s book that undermines the power of the government continues to become an idea that furthers itself from being feasible. For example, bills such as Bill C-30 titled the “lawful Access Act” in Canada would provide authorities the ability to place surveillance on Canadians via their communication devices. Such bills like this claim to have positive benefits such as protecting children from predators, but motives behind such acts can also have detrimental effects around the privacy of Canadians. Although the bill was not passed, other bills will definitely be proposed again outlining similar clauses in their contexts, and such clauses may go unnoticed by the majority of those in power to pass it. The fact that the Conservative party pushes for such aggressive bills to monitor the activity of Canadians proves that at least some of those in government would benefit from such power, providing reason to believe that such debates will arise again, resulting in either the publics interests, or the leading power.

    The question I am left wondering is to what extent authorities will be able to assert power if Doctorow’s conclusion that technology will eventually overcome the type of technology that asserts us now doesn’t occur. Although I do disagree with Doctorow’s conclusion, I find it difficult decipher exactly what other possible outcomes may feasibly occur in contrast to Doctorow’s presumed outcome. I see Doctorow as being a optimist in that he believes one day society will benefit in overcoming this control. The issues he doesn’t consider though are the issues around having no authorities protecting us from what may in return be detrimental.

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