A long ways back, my son warned me of the dangers of the "connected" world. Most specifically of the intrusion of CCTV. To those who might not know what that means, CCTV is "Closed Circuit TV". It is those small, relatively inobtrusive, video cameras that monitor such things as street corners, stop lights, shopping malls or elevators.
I was just a wee bit skeptical of his claims at first. But, after some of ruminating, I thought that he might be correct in his assumptions. And still, I had my doubts.
Thanks to that wonderful thing called Netflix, I had my first awakening to what may be our greatest downfall as an independent species. I watched a TV series from the UK called "Caught On Camera". The program highlighted the wonderful advantages that CCTV can offer in bringing criminals to justice. Criminals such as people who urinate in public places, those who decide to light up a spliff on a park bench and even folks who get stumbling drunk on the streets.
Yes, yes, I am making just a little bit of fun about what CCTV could offer. The 3 examples I offered were amply shown throughout the series I watched, along with some very Very effective forms of security related protection this sort of 24 hour surveillance can offer. And yet... I wondered...
I just finished watching a movie on (grazie, Netflix!!) called "The Circle". Other than the enjoyment of seeing actors I have enjoyed over the years, this one film told me that not only was my son correct in his concerns, but that we are truly fucked with regards to any sort of privacy we might think we have in today's society.
The BBC show told me that Britain is watched and constantly monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, if you head out for a night on the town and you decide to pick your nose, someone is watching and laughing at your action.
The movie told me that the technology most probably exists somewhere where anyone or any government agency can (& probably does!) watch almost every move we make in today's world.
At first, the movie seemed to be a fun romp thru mindless time passing. As it progressed, I got this feeling that what was being portrayed was entirely possible. Even I, a simple and boring example of humanity, am equipped with all sorts of recording devices that can be hidden and/or used in a manner that YOU might never know of.
Voice recorders, video and image cameras, heck, I can capture anyone & everyone as easily as I could simply by looking at them. And I am nothing more than a tech fan. I don't know the half (quarter??) of what goes into the creation or processing of all that data. Imagine what a tech nerd, or a government arm with billions of $$$ at their disposal, can do. Or, as in the movie, a private multi-billion dollar company could do. Facebook, anyone???
Ever since my son shared his concerns over privacy invasion via video, I have been increasingly aware of the utter abundance of closed-circuit television cameras everywhere. I see them in my apartment building, in the variety of stores & malls I visit, on the streets and even in government offices (surprised??!!)
We are being watched! George Orwell may well have been overly optimistic in his 1949 vision of a society constantly and consistently under review by government authorities in his book called "1984". We are now far gone from that particular year, even decades!, but...
If you think by now that I am somewhat paranoid about where we are in today's society, I would strongly suggest you watch "The Circle" (starring, in no particular order, Emma Watson -Harry Potter-, Tom Hanks -well, yeah-, and Bill Paxton -look him up-). If that movie does not make you think, then maybe watch the Jason Bourne series of films. There you can see how the government can control all those itty-bitty video contraptions that litter our landscape.
I hope that I just made your day more enjoyable! If not, then, more suspicious...
Keep The Faith*