Big Brother is Watching
In his novel 1984 George Orwell predicted Big Brother would be watching with spy equipment monitoring our every move – but is science fiction now a reality?
Big Brother society
It’s hard to pick up a newspaper and not find an opinion piece or article analysing the Big Brother society we are in. Recently a debate over the spy equipment used in our every day life escalated from the run of the mill CCTV cameras on street corners to tracking devices in supermarket tills.
You may be shopping for more than you bargained for next time you go to the supermarket thanks to the radio frequency ID (RFID) tags used to monitor people’s shopping habits. The debate kicked off in America when civil liberties organisations said they would boycott a supermarket using the tags.
Spy equipment and consumerism
But is there something sinister about using this kind of ‘spy equipment’ or is it simply using technology to try to exploit commercial opportunities. The supermarkets argue it’s to monitor and improve the availability of products for customers. But some people object to this ‘spy equipment’ that allows products to be tracked via radio waves and see it as an intrusion on their human rights.
Pressure groups are trying to boycott stores who use this kind of technology – even if it does help shops eliminate wasteful overproduction or improve how they stock their products. There are concerns the chips will act as ‘spy equipment’ and could secretly identify you by the clothes or personal belongings on your person if they were tagged.
Spy chip concerns
Although pressure groups have concerns over ‘spy chips’ it is thought the technology in the chips is not sophisticated enough to be used as spy equipment – and that the chips can be thrown away with the product wrapping once opened.
It is thought that the ‘spy chips’ won’t be used on a large scale until 2010 but controversy kicked off when in 2003 a RFID tracking system was used in razor blades to catch shoplifters. The ‘spy equipment’ meant that anyone who picked up the razor blades triggered CCTV surveillance of themselves. Although some supermarkets believe this ‘spy equipment’ will only improve security, civil liberties groups object to the infringement.
The debate continues to fuel newspaper headlines such as The Daily Telegraph’s: “Britain: the most spied on nation in the world.”
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