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Has Orwell's '1984' Come 22 Years Later?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the his-words-are-still-precient dept.

1272

gabec asks: "This weekend my mother bought a grille lighter, something like this butane lighter. The self-scanner at Kroger's locked itself up and paged a clerk, who had to enter our drivers license numbers into her kiosk before we could continue. Last week my girlfriend bought four peaches. An alert came up stating that peaches were a restricted item and she had to identify herself before being able to purchase such a decidedly high quantity of the dangerous fruit. My video games spy on me, reporting the applications I run, the websites I visit, the accounts of the people I IM. My ISP is being strong-armed into a two-year archive of each action I take online under the guise of catching pedophiles, the companies I trust to free information are my enemies, the people looking out for me are being watched. As if that weren't enough, my own computer spies on me daily, my bank has been compromised, my phone is tapped--has been for years--and my phone company is A-OK with it. What's a guy that doesn't even consider himself paranoid to think of the current state of affairs?" The sad state of affairs is that Big Brother probably became a quiet part of our lives a lot earlier. The big question now is: how much worse can it get?

Am I just accustomed to old ways? Does the new generation, born with these restrictions, feel the weight of these bonds and recoil from my fears as paranoia? What can I, a person with no political interests--a person that would really rather think that the people in office are there because they're looking out for us, our rights, and our freedoms and not because their short-sightedness is creating a police state--do to stem the tide?"

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1272 comments

Big "OH Brother" (-1, Troll)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803875)

"my mother bought a grille lighter .. The self-scanner at Kroger's locked itself up and paged a clerk..."
"Last week my girlfriend bought four peaches. An alert came up..."
"My video games spy on me..."
"My ISP is being strong-armed..."
"my own computer spies on me daily..."
"my bank has been compromised..."
"my phone is tapped..."
Even if I did believe 1/2 of these anecdotes, I'm finding it hard to feel sympathetic.

Sorry, sir--not to be rude--but I don't quite buy into your "big question". (c'mon... peaches??) There are many other real-world, legitimate examples of our freedoms eroded.

From Dictionary.com [reference.com] :

demagoguery:

n : impassioned appeals to the prejudices and emotions of the populace.

Re:Big "OH Brother" (4, Insightful)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803892)

So if there are many other real-world, "legitimate" examples of our freedoms being eroded how can you not have sympathy? Are your examples more important than the ones he considers important?

Re:Big "OH Brother" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803910)

I think the point is, his examples are definitely exaggerated. Anybody work at Kroger's care to comment?

Re:Big "OH Brother" (2, Informative)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803927)

Maybe they aren't. I can't buy Day-Quil at Wal-Mart without showing ID.

Re:Big "OH Brother" (2, Informative)

supasam (658359) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803950)

I can't buy sudafed at the walgreens without them writing down how much I bought, at when, showing id, and then signing the entry.

Re:Big "OH Brother" (4, Insightful)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803962)

And it's not even on the shelf. You have to take a card to the pharmacy and then show your ID. They want your phone number too. Like I need all that extra hassle when I feel like shit from having a bad cold.

Re:Big "OH Brother" (3, Insightful)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803896)

"What's a guy that doesn't even consider himself paranoid to think of the current state of affairs?"

First thought...more educated and informed than the masses of sheeples?

Seriously, I think a lot of us feel the same way and see that we aren't on a slippery slope any more. We are plummeting down a sheer drop off. The way I see it the government and big business will control more and more of our every day life as we lose more and more privacy and individual choices. Some of us will get sick of it and cash out and go live off the grid in the most remote boondocks we can find and some of us will suffer in relative silence and reminisce over the "good old days" before we lost so much of our privacy and constitutional rights. Others will never notice they lost anything. Maybe there will be another American revolution some day to try and put back into place a government whose altruistic ideals can be effected indefinitely. Hell, 200+ years is pretty good when looked at in the big picture of history but eventually power and money corrupt those who should be looking out for the good of everyone. I guess this sounds kind of defeatist but take the federal minimum wage as an example. How come 30 million people have to try to live on $5.15 an hour? How are their voices not heard? How are our voices not heard?

Money talks and the politicians and big business have the money.

"OH Brother" ... (5, Funny)

jabberwock (10206) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803916)

It's really nothing to worry about until you wake up in a bathtub full of ice, missing a kidney.

Re:Big "OH Brother" (1)

supasam (658359) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803923)

"Sorry, sir--not to be rude--but I don't quite buy into your "big question". (c'mon... peaches??) [Cause I have the same "big question" in mind.] There are many other real-world, legitimate examples of our freedoms eroded." Thats right, everything in the article is wrong because he might have stretched a peaches story, right? You pick one point to poke at and then everything else is, of course, wrong, correct? Why not, instead of saying you think he's wrong, come up with some of those "real world, legitimate examples"? Hum?

Re:Big "OH Brother" (3, Informative)

rodgster (671476) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803924)

I was going to moderate. (4) points about to expire today. But I just cannot let this example of ignorance sit at the top of a story.

Have You ever heard of CYANIDE?

Suggestion: think before you open type and demonstrate how ignorant you are.

http://www.google.com/search?q=Cyanide+peach+pits [google.com]

Don't tell anyone but pressure treated wood contains arsenic.

Re:Big "OH Brother" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803952)

Yes, everybody knows that. But when was the last time you triggered an alert over an apricot in a store? Come on, dude, don't be a fool. I agree w/GP, the guy is a demogogue.

Re:Big "OH Brother" (4, Insightful)

blanks (108019) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803934)

It's simple, its profiling or random checking for criminals.  Even criminals have to buy food, and if they scan in their license there is a general known area s/he frequents.

The funny thing is that people are totally happy with letting companies and goverment track them.  Every purchase with your CC is tracked.  Every purchase with an "awards card" is tracked, and people are totally fine with this type of tracking.

Personally I think it will get to the point where you no longer just punch in for a job.  You punch in to leave your house, enter your house, enter buildings,  ride public transit and so on. it will be so simple, we all ready have a trackable ID on us.  It would be simple too since they all ready do it with people on house arrest (talk into the phone and a device).

But with RFID it will be even easier, and less noticable.

Probably doable right now (4, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804041)

It's closer than you think; many public transit systems already have the capability.

The only thing stopping them from doing it right now is allowing people to purchase with cash. Cash is a problem, because it's harder to trace cash than it is to trace credit cards.

I'll use for example the metro system near where I live, in Washington DC. It's an admittedly sophisticated system compared to a lot of other places, but it's nothing that futuristic. You can pay to use the metro (including buses) in one of two ways: you use either a credit card or cash, and you put the amount onto either a semi-reusable cardboard mag-stripe card, or a reusable RFID card. The RFID cards aren't (I don't think) stored value; they just chirp a serial number. So if you use one of those, it's fairly trivial to track you throughout the system, particularly if you load it with a credit card. Find the transaction where you added money to it, get the serial number of the card you put money on, and then follow that serial number around as you use it.

With cash the problem becomes one of identification. You can still track someone around the system using their stored-value mag-stripe card, but identifying someone as they come into the system if they pay with cash is still a significant problem. The way to get around this would be either by requiring everyone to use some non-anonymous form of payment to get in (which might mean scanning a government photo ID when paying with cash) or automated face recognition. Since most public transport is filled with cameras as is, the latter might be the way to go.

Of course none of this keeps you from buying a ticket (RFID or regular) and handing it to another person, so it wouldn't be foolproof, but I would be surprised if the police haven't used the electronic ticketing systems to figure out where suspects under pursuit enter and leave already. It's such an obvious use of the technology I can't imagine that they haven't, especially given the very high-crime areas that public-transport systems tend to run through.

Personally, I feel that it won't be very long in the future when using cash is the mark of someone suspicious. (It already is, in large quantities and in certain places -- bought an airline ticket with cash lately?) That is, anyone using cash to purchase anything from food to movie tickets will be forced through additional scrutiny, not to mention odd looks from "honest" people (using their Visa cards as God intended).

Re:Big "OH Brother" (4, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803956)

maybe the peaches issue was just a data entry glitch, but the rest of the items are true. I myself am very angry at the absurdity of age/license checks for purchasing cough medicine. As if the big drug dealers will be buying 6 oz bottles of cough syrup to make the hundreds of gallons of narcotic. "But a few high school students made small amounts of drugs with this!", cry the Nanny-State bleeding hearts! "Look at me, I care about the children, so I voted for this law", says the power-grubbing dirt bag politician. For that matter, I was recently at the grocery store behind a 50 year old man who was refused the sale of a bottle of gin because he forgot his ID. This society is going to get a big punch in the reset button real soon, as the rewards of this increasing collective stupidity are reaped. For the simple truth is, the government has neither the competence nor resources to protect everyone from themselves, from each other, and from the realities of life.

Made easier by (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804001)

Computers. Do you think it would have been this easy to build such databases without the computers? What year does Skynet take over anyway? LOL

Go Fig (1)

acxr is wasted (653126) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803876)

I click the link, what do I see? "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."

Re:Go Fig (2, Insightful)

buswolley (591500) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803933)

Its Big Brother, but its a distributed Big brother.

So you won't see much at any one spot. Its thin and everywhere.

Re:Go Fig (0, Troll)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804030)

Its Big Brother, but its a distributed Big brother.

*sigh*

Big Brother was not a tryanny of observation, it was a tyranny of control.

Go back and read that (god-awful) book again. Note the (thorughly depressing and rather insipid) plotline. Pay special attention to the description of how Big Brother operates.

Re:Go Fig (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804052)

I did not mention either position. Personally, Big brother means control. So, I agree. My point was this: If there is a big brother controlling us today, it is one that is an emergent property of millions of smaller decisions.

Durrrrrr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803879)

Ask Slashdot: Has Orwell's '1984' Come 22 Years Later?

I... wonder... what... Slashdot's... answer... will... be.

Peaches? (4, Insightful)

bcore (705121) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803882)

I don't think you can claim that the store told you that four peaches was a "restricted item" without at least explaining the situation a little bit further.

Re:Peaches? (1)

schon (31600) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803897)

Maybe they thought he was moving to the country.

Didn't Ted Kaczynski lived in the country? :o)

Re:Peaches? (5, Informative)

Pax00 (266436) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803905)

Interesting thing about peaches is that they contain cyanide. [cdc.gov] From that respect I could see why the scanner would go off...

Re:Peaches? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803972)

Also fruit contains alcohol. Drunk from peaches.

On the other hand, how many peaches are we talking about? Enough to feed the terrorists?

Re:Peaches? (5, Funny)

filtur (724994) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803906)

I don't think you can claim that the store told you that four peaches was a "restricted item" without at least explaining the situation a little bit further.

Maybe they were underage? :)

SORRY, YOU ARE NOT CLEARED FOR THAT (5, Funny)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803935)

Please strip to your underwear and sit with your hands folded behind your head in preparation for a courtesy visit from your friends and fellow Class 1 citizens from Homeland Security's Produce Control Division.

And stop thinking about goats when you play with yourself.

Re:Peaches? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803951)

Millions of peaches, peaches for me.

Re:Peaches? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803953)

Hey, that's what the imaginary dog was saying to him as he checked out at the grocery store.

Insantity: It's not just for the DailyKos crowd anymore!

Re:Peaches? (5, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803989)

Besides peaches being a source of cyanide, also note that the only source of ricin [wikipedia.org] , one of the most deadly poisons known to man, is castor beans.

It may be too late... (4, Interesting)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803883)

"What's a guy that doesn't even consider himself paranoid to think of the current state of affairs?"

First thought...more educated and informed than the masses of sheeples?

Seriously, I think a lot of us feel the same way and see that we aren't on a slippery slope any more. We are plummeting down a sheer drop off. The way I see it the government and big business will control more and more of our every day life as we lose more and more privacy and individual choices. Some of us will get sick of it and cash out and go live off the grid in the most remote boondocks we can find and some of us will suffer in relative silence and reminisce over the "good old days" before we lost so much of our privacy and constitutional rights. Others will never notice they lost anything. Maybe there will be another American revolution some day to try and put back into place a government whose altruistic ideals can be effected indefinitely. Hell, 200+ years is pretty good when looked at in the big picture of history but eventually power and money corrupt those who should be looking out for the good of everyone. I guess this sounds kind of defeatist but take the federal minimum wage as an example. How come 30 million people have to try to live on $5.15 an hour? How are their voices not heard? How are our voices not heard?

Money talks and the politicians and big business have the money.

Something wrong with $5.15 an hour? (5, Insightful)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804006)

Suppose we raise it to $60 an hour. Better? Would you still have a job?

OK, that's too much. Well, how many lost jobs are acceptable? Can you give a number? If we raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour and lay off 15% of the workforce, is that good?

More money is great as long as YOU don't lose your job. Everybody, even those already on minimum wage, thinks it'll be the other guy who loses his job or that some rich guy won't be so rich. Sure, and pigs fly really well.

To pay the cleaning people their new minimum wage, we can get rid of one web developer. The other guys can work overtime to make up the loss. Then again, maybe it's just time for the company to go bankrupt and get rid of EVERYBODY.

It goes the other way too. A smelly drunk isn't likely to get hired at $5.15 an hour, but his value might be above zero. He deserves a chance to work. The same goes for the fat girl with acne that makes people feel ill, the guy who stares inappropriately, the lady who has conversations with her knuckles... They all deserve a chance to work.

Re:Something wrong with $5.15 an hour? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15804013)

No kidding. That was a nice rant he had going, until he threw in that minimum-wage demagoguery thing. Then the whole thing went off its rails in a manner reminsicent of the plane-crash scene in Fight Club.

Re:Something wrong with $5.15 an hour? (3, Funny)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804036)

I've got a better solution, which will also address the outsourcing issue: how about we raise the minimum wage in all countries outside America to $10,000,000,000/hour.

And if they refuse to comply, we nuke them!

There, solved it for you.

Chill out (0, Troll)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804018)

First of all, by Orwell's definition, the Brother has to control not only your present and future, but to also be able to change the past.

Q: When was the last time the Bush administration changed the past?
A: Never, so whatever we have here, it is not yet 1984.

Second, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Unless you download pornography or plan arson, why should you object to being monitored on the internet or at your store?

Third, biological/organic material is ideally suited for preserving and transporting infectious agents. Peaches are perfect for storing bacteria due to the availability of sugar, moisture, and organic acids.
If anything, eggs should also be added to the watch list as it is the only means for growing smallpox and influenza viruses available to the terrorists. In fact, eggs are currently used to manufacture vaccines against the said viruses.

Fourth, and I paraphrase the Administration spokesman here, I would rather the government collected my call records than my remains

Fifth, the Bluetooth and Wireless technology can be used to control remotely-piloted aereal drones used for terrorism, and must thus be treated as dual-use technology; all foreigners must be required to acquire a deemed exports license to own, operate, or examine the said technology. Manuals should be classified.

Sixth, none of you liberals objected when the Clintons were killing Foster, murdering teenagers with trains, flying in cocaine, and selling missile technology to China (which since then has implemented the sold Aegis, nuclear isotope, and manned-spaceflight technology).

And finally, why do you hate America so much!!!!!11

Re:It may be too late... (1)

nickos (91443) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804028)

If you're that worried you can always leave the US. Personally I've lived in many countries and right now I can't see any reason why anyone would want to live in the USA - there are many countries that are more democratic and value the rights of the individual more.

Either that or you could just stick it out until Bush leaves office in 1.5 yeras time. I mean - it's unlikely to get any worse right?

Re:It may be too late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15804033)

Of course it is that simple... Just get up and leave.
Because, you know, so many countries have immigration policies that scream "Come here! We want to increase our population!"

Re:It may be too late... (1, Insightful)

friedmud (512466) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804034)

30 Million People live on minimum wage because they are too lazy to do anything else. Seriously... anyone over the age of 18 that is still making minimum wage has made a conscious decision to just sit on their asses. If you want to make more money do better in High School... or sign up for a couple community college classes _and actually do the work_ (I see a lot of people sign up for those classes and _still_ be lazy and end up back on their asses at McDonalds)... or, in general, just make better decisions in life.

I don't think there should be _any_ minimum wage at all... let people work for what they're willing to work for. If the work and pay suck then people will try to do better... and if they're too lazy to do better then that's their own damn problem.

I'm so damn tired of this crap... people need to take responsibility for their lives... that's part of the reason we're in this mess. People have become so lazy and complacent that they want the Government to do everything for them... including figuring out a way to make them money. If we all took care of our own shit this wouldn't be a problem.

Sigh.

Friedmud

Re:It may be too late... (5, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804051)

Others will never notice they lost anything.

You can't lose something that you give away.

Most of those things he mentioned people think are great, because those things mean that they either get a bargain, or that they're protecting 'the children'. The rest of them people either don't notice or wouldn't care about even if you managed to successfully get them to understand why it is that you care about them.

Maybe there will be another American revolution some day to try and put back into place a government whose altruistic ideals can be effected indefinitely.

Yeah, right. Most of that stuff in the post didn't even have anything to do with state or federal govenrment. It was mostly corporate and people giving their privacy away under their own accord.

The best part was where he described journalists as 'the people who are supposed to be looking out for him'. What a hoot. Somebody needs a lesson in capatilism, and some friendly advice not to be so trusting lest he look in the mirror and find out he's one of the people giving away bits of himself for no good reason.

How come 30 million people have to try to live on $5.15 an hour? How are their voices not heard?

Here's a hint: More than half of them aren't even old enough to vote if they wanted to (and if they were, they'd be statistically unlikely to vote anyway). The minimum wage is a heart-string issue. The Democrats tote it out to get emotional votes out of the section of their base that hasn't engaged their brain. It's the Democrats' version of school prayer.

Not everybody needs to earn a living wage. Some people are dependents to other people, or are children. It is important that low wage jobs exist, or it would be difficult to get that first job that lets you start climbing the ladder. Stop and think, and read a bit. You will find that politicians and armchair economists are the biggest supporters of a minimum wage hike. It's never the people who are supposedly harmed by the low minimum wage crying for an increase, and most of the groups that advocate for those very same people think it's dumb too.... All those people want an expansion of the EITC [irs.gov] instead.

Just walk away (5, Insightful)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803887)

Id for grille lighters and peaches, huh? And why didn't you just walk away loudly commenting on the store's idiotic policy?

Re:Just walk away (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15804009)

Id for grille lighters and peaches, huh? And why didn't you just walk away loudly commenting on the store's idiotic policy?

The peaches incident was probably a register mistake. But in a number of states you need to be 18 or older to purchase a lighter by state law. I tried to purchase one once when I was 17 so I could burn the trash out back like I had done every week for nearly a decade, and I was denied. Apparently the law presumes that lighters will only be used for smoking, and couldn't be used for things like, you know, burning trash, or making smores. It's another classic example of lawmakers restricting a wide spectrum of basic freedoms to fight a single pet cause of self-endangerment.

This is the same mentality as occurs in sweeping laws to fight "child pornography", and sweeping laws to fight violence in video games, and sweeping laws to protect people from the internet, or the prevention of pseudophedrine purchases for fear of meth labs getting it. If we could get people to stop asininely voting for politicians on the basis of those pet causes, then freedom would not be encroached nearly as much as it currently is.

What we are living in is a culture war between people who want personal freedom, and people who are immersed in irrational emotional fear.

Nope, nothing suspicious (2, Funny)

Hydryad (935968) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803889)

Big brother is your friend, by the way chocolate rations are cut in half as of today.

The only time I was flagged at "self-checkout"... (0, Flamebait)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803895)

I smell BS. An ID for a lighter? Bah.

The only time I was flagged at a "self checkout" was when I was buying bullets at Wal-Mart.

Someone came over, looked at me, muttered something about how I was obviously old enough, punched a button and let me finish.

No ID, no nothing.

Paid cash, got my change and left.

Re:The only time I was flagged at "self-checkout". (4, Funny)

Renraku (518261) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803907)

The cash went into a scanner which picked up your fingerprints too. It now has a picture of you, your voice, and your fingerprints.

Re:The only time I was flagged at "self-checkout". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803917)

And if you paid by credit card a digital copy of your signature.

Re:The only time I was flagged at "self-checkout". (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804021)

Exactly how high is the resolution of those signature scanners? The visual feedback implies that it very low indeed, verging on "featureless blob" for certain styles.

Re:The only time I was flagged at "self-checkout". (1)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803918)

No ID? What state do you live in? You must obviously look over 18. Most ammo at Wal-Mart is behind the counter. The only ammo I can think of that isn't is shotgun shells that are on sale.

Re:The only time I was flagged at "self-checkout". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803936)

Well you've convinced me.

Your random anecdote, and enormous sample size (of one whole person/incident)
has convinced me that any musings on possible privacy encroachments
and abuses of technology can be ignored.

Re:The only time I was flagged at "self-checkout". (1)

blanks (108019) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803948)

" smell BS. An ID for a lighter? Bah"

Because in many states you have to be over 18 to buy one.

And it could also be corporate policy that they have to run the license through the system now matter how old they look.  But also a good way to collect data on who the person is incase they dont use a CC (or to check for fraud).

Re:The only time I was flagged at "self-checkout". (2, Interesting)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803968)

I smell BS. An ID for a lighter? Bah.

Where do you live? perhaps I'd like to move there.

When I used to buy cigarettes in NJ, they'd card me and jot down my license. When I purchase alcohol, some stores jot down my license number on paper or punch it into their cashier devices. I bought a set of markers a couple weeks back and they did the same thing to me. They asked for ID and wrote it down.

Shit's going down, but I think it's regional. It's stupid.

Re:The only time I was flagged at "self-checkout". (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804007)

When I used to buy cigarettes in NJ, they'd card me and jot down my license.

That's cigarettes, not ammo. Cigarettes kill; and not even just the people who use them. Get with the program.

KFG

Re:The only time I was flagged at "self-checkout". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15804014)

Cigarettes don't kill. *I* DO.

I have a better question. (5, Insightful)

aldeng (804728) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803900)

"The big question now is: how much worse can it get?" Wrong. The big question is what are we going to do to stop this. It's our government, dammit.

Re:I have a better question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803964)

thats why some of us are taking our own action anonet.org [anonet.org] if anyone wants to front some cash to buy our own island/country or a cruise ship, we'll happily move, i believe there are still 3 unclaimed areas of the world still, antartica might be ok since it'll cool our equipment for free.

I have a better question-Cleanup in aisle freedom. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803992)

"It's our government, dammit."

Kroger is a government? Hot damn! Now I can bitch in person.

Seriously, how many here have actually read 1984? Did you understand it? If not then why are you posting here?

Vote for a party that values human freedom (4, Insightful)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803994)

No, I'm not a libertarian.

I would be if they were balls-out scrappers for freedom and liberty for all humans. But too often they stop at property rights, and assume that a good round of deregulation and tax cuts will fix everything else.

Freedom and rights have to be fought for. The enemy isn't just the government; it includes corporations.

Human rights must come before corporate rights. Too many Libertarians I know seem uncomfortable with that.

So, which party to turn to? Right now, there's no clear choice. But for now, the first step is denying Bush the convenience of a rubber stamp congress.

That means holding your nose and voting Democratic this fall.

And stop being afraid.

It's not just about privacy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803902)

Don't forget that it's not just about privacy. The government basically has to create a state of perpetual fear, stir up hatred of the enemy, torture people, have an ongoing war, control information, and basically convince you to willingly see things that are false.

Now, don't get me wrong, but I don't think we've come to that yet.

cough cough fake terror alerts hussein abu ghraib war on terrorism fox news wmd in iraq cough

Listen closely (5, Insightful)

DesireCampbell (923687) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803911)

This isn't a real question, this is a thinly veiled attempt at getting a conversation going about how terrible the US government is.

Yes, there's a lot of censorship and surveillance going on. Yes, we have to be vigilant about everything we've heard.

My fear is, the fact that we find out about these domestic wiretaps, secret European prisons - means that the people put in charge of these things are morons. Most people in the position to be doing important secret 1984-type dealings are smart. The things we know about are pretty bad - how much worse are the things we don't know about?

Re:Listen closely (4, Insightful)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803957)

My fear is, the fact that we find out about these domestic wiretaps, secret European prisons - means that the people put in charge of these things are morons. Most people in the position to be doing important secret 1984-type dealings are smart. The things we know about are pretty bad - how much worse are the things we don't know about?

So are you proposing that we should or should not keep electing morons? Your argument could go either way...

Re:Listen closely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15804015)

Morons will be bad leaders no matter what.

Smart and good (morally) people will be good leaders. Smart and bad (morally) people will be terrible leaders.

Now, in the case of Bush who's clearly a dumbass, he has managed to do the secret prison and wiretapping shit because he's surrounded by smart (and bad) people, so it's a little different.

Re:Listen closely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803976)

We'd tell you but we'd have to kill you.

Re:Listen closely (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803985)

Right. There isn't an evil, all powerful, super intelligent group of people controlling the world. Its the emergent effect of millions of smaller scale decisions by many many people.

Re:Listen closely (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15804008)

That's just it.

The fact that we know about these things make the information sometimes less obscure. Anyone in America can go to a local library and read about dirty actions the US has taken in South America, Asia, and every other corner of the world. Because there is so much of this information-- Halliburton, WMDs, 9/11, Afghanistan, Peru, Eastern European prisons, we get overwhelmed. Eventually, having the information in the open makes it so difficult to parse information that we just give up.

That's basically what happened now.

Re:Listen closely (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804012)

Most people in the position to be doing important secret 1984-type dealings are smart.

But only smart enough to do them.

KFG

Re:Listen closely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15804029)

hmm, I wonder if the little quote at the bottom of the page has anything to do with this:

Truly great madness can not be achieved without significant intelligence. -- Henrik Tikkanen

defend (2, Insightful)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803913)

Defend freedom of information from government and corporate influence.

That's what really protects freedom, liberty, democracy, and people's rights. If you're lucky.

Bush and his cronies are to blame (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803919)

The sad state of affairs is that Big Brother probably became a quiet part of our lives a lot earlier.

Disagree.

Most of these things came from the Bush administration. The last 6 years has been a cancer eating away at the very fabric of what it used to mean to be american.

Phrases like 'truth, justice, and the american way' ring very hollow these days...especially to the rest of the world.

State v. private interests (4, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803921)

1984 was about the state controlling everything. In the current situation, the state is peering more heavily into everything we're doing because a lot of people are so afraid of Islamic terrorists that they're willing to give the state more power. This may or may not be a temporary situation, but the state obviously hasn't reached the level of control that Big Brother did in 1984.

As for corporations watching what you do, the real question is whether Microsoft checking to see if you're using a pirated version of their software is somehow going to affect your political rights, or if it is just a stupid move on their part that will only push customers away from their products. After all, you only have one state. You can choose software vendors.

Re:State v. private interests (5, Insightful)

honkycat (249849) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803995)

I'm not a huge fan of sippery slope arguments (although I do think the sentiment is often in the right place), but do you think we need to wait until things are as bad as they are in 1984 before reacting? The real government may not be as authoritarian as the one in the book, but a major element that allowed that in the book to enforce its rules was the existence of the surveillance technologies. We are clearly at or very near a point that matches the technical sophistication in the book.

We need to be careful to keep this technology from being used for ill. When something that's "kind of bad" is proposed, we need to react STRONGLY. Rights have a way of being chipped away and it's usually through violent conflict that these rights are regained. Better to protect them in the first place.

Further, it doesn't really matter who it is that's doing the surveillance. If Walmart has the information, it's only a subpoena from being in Uncle Sam's hands...

Re:State v. private interests (1)

izakage (808061) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804020)

..because a lot of people are so afraid of Islamic terrorists

Now, I know you're commenting on the thoughts of the masses, but part of what you said shows just how much influence that our government has on our thoughts and beliefs. Ever noticed that whenever the media is reporting on an attack, they don't just say that the culprit is a group of radicals, but it's a group of Islamic radicals, even when they don't know who the group was? It sounds like a subtle difference to many, but we're being told that there's a group out there that we have to hate.

My point is, the media and government have a lot of influence on what we believe, and much of it is very difficult to measure.

Re:State v. private interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15804054)

"...because a lot of people are so afraid of Islamic terrorists that they're willing to give the state more power."

WRONG WRONG WRONG!!! Have you ever walked outside and thought to yourself, "Man, I hope no Islamic terrorists kill me today." Of course not.

The reason the state has more power isn't because the people have given it to them, it is because Americans are too lazy and apathetic to stop the state from taking that power.

Waiting for the knock on Cliff's door. (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803925)

Well now, I think we all know one little submitter who is going to get a visit from Homeland Security tonight.

Transporter_ii

Admitting you have a problem is the first step (5, Insightful)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803926)

What can I, a person with no political interests--a person that would really rather think that the people in office are there because they're looking out for us, our rights, and our freedoms and not because their short-sightedness is creating a police state--do to stem the tide?
It should be obvious, but I'll spell it out:

Get some political interests

Sticking your head in the sand will not help. So pull it out, shake out the sand, and get involved. And I don't mean you should flip a coin, pick the red team or the blue team, and blindly follow them.

I mean that you should get active in holding your elected officials accountable for their actions, regardless of their party affiliation. Keep up on the issues and be vocal about them. Read and listen to opposing points of view and try to form and propagate valid opinions. Make sure your representatives know that someone is watching them, and follows what they do. If they lie, cheat, steal, or sell you down the river, nail them. Vote them out in the primary if you can, and in the general if you can't. Cross party lines if you need to, because you are far better off with an honest member of the opposing party than one of "your own party" who is willing to sell you to the devil for a few hookers.

And, for that matter, do the same with your news outlets. And your local ballot boxes. If we paid half the attention to keeping the system honest that we do American idol or celebrity babies, we wouldn't have this problem.

--MarkusQ

Surveillance cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803931)

There's ridiculous numbers of surveillance cameras everywhere. Even millions in a single city.

Look! I'm running a meth lab! (3, Insightful)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803932)

I particularly enjoy how I can't shop for good deals on my doctor-recommended loratidine with decongestant that I take every day for my allergies. Apparently, if I purchase more than 15 pills of 240 mg pseudoephedrine each in one day I am obviously running a meth lab.

I never knew. I guess the government knows me better than I know myself. Thank you, government, for stopping me from creating a narcotics lab that I never knew I wanted!

The peach situation baffles the hell out of me though.

Re:Look! I'm running a meth lab! (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804045)

Apparently, if I purchase more than 15 pills of 240 mg pseudoephedrine each in one day I am obviously running a meth lab.

Yeah, you probably aren't. You. Other people, given free reign, will use pseudoephedrine in a meth lab. 15/day happens to be where they've currently drawn the line. Should they change it to 50/day? 1000/day? Unrestricted?

15/day. Do you really need to buy more than 15 a day?

Your Attention (5, Funny)

amrust (686727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803940)

Your attention, please! A newsflash has this moment arrived from the WalMart front. In honor of the massive overfulfillment of the ninth three-year plan... it's been announced that the NASCAR T-Shirt ration is to be increased to 3 per month!

DoublePlusYeeHaw!

Some of this is true... (4, Insightful)

Zelph (628698) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803945)

I was ID'd for a lighter the other day. Now, I am a bit younger looking, and I know that restricting lighter sales is the first step to restricting consumption of other products. In California, and at a Walmart, at that. The real issue that would make me start to worry is data aggregation. And that is where I think it all falls apart (knock on wood). If they could aggregate all the data of my purchases, communications, etc, I would be a lot more worried. If you ARE paranoid, a major step to eliminate tracking is to go cash only. Stop using electronic payments of any kind. Stop using grocery discount cards too. They track spending habits.

But again, data aggregation is key, and they don't have that yet.

Data Aggregation (1)

Maverick092588 (991802) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804039)

I'd hate to turn you into a freaked out, paranoid shut-in, but data aggregation is already a large part of the consumer industry. Up until about a week ago I was a cashier/salesman at Best Buy. Now this is where it gets a little creepy: When checking out a customer there are three three things you must always do:

1. Enter gender and phone number or scan/sign up for Reward Zone.

2. Sign up for a magazine subsription.

3. Sign up for a PRP/PSP (extended warranties on products).

Now the second one is relatively harmless and I'm not certain that Best Buy stores the information gathered there. The first and third however go directly into Best Buy's database. The reward zone card has all the standard info, phone number, address, the works, but with the phone number alone Best Buy can surveil all transactions associated with it. The PSP/PRPs contain all the same information as the reward zone.

Best Buy says they do this so that if someone forgets their receipt but gave their phone number they can print it out for them. But personally, I don't care why they're doing it, I don't want any of my private info getting out.

Re:Data Aggregation (1)

Zelph (628698) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804057)

When I refer to data aggregation, I'm referring to an across the board aggregation. I mean Best Buy's data, Kroger's data, Walmart's data, Chase, MBNA, Bank One, etc etc etc.

I'd find another store ... (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803949)

I call bullshit. If my grocery store hassled me for buying a butane lighter or fruit I believe that I would find another store to buy them from. I recently bought a lighter similar to the one in the link from a local mega-drugstore and nobody asked for ID (they do require an ID to buy Sudafed). What's going to happen when the thousands of roadside fruitstands start selling bushels of peaches to anybody who has the cash to buy them?

Easy solutions (1)

whoppers (307299) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803958)

If you want to enjoy modern conveniences, plan ahead. Pay cash for things, don't use kroger cards (at least not in your own name), use someone elses unsecured wireless if you have to be online. It only gets worse if you use all these modern "conveniences".

Think about it, just 10 years ago, I knew no one with a personal cell phone, high speed internet, check card, "savings" cards, etc...

Not Quite (2, Insightful)

NotFamousYet (937650) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803960)

"Big Brother" is supposed to be made of one entity which monitors and seeks to control people's lives and thoughts.

What the summary describes here is merely companies or the government trying to gather information, mostly for a commercial purpose.
These do not constitute a common group with a specific goal, but just different groups that have their own interests. Most of these do not trade information between each other.

However, it is true that the US courts have been asking sites such as Google or Yahoo to forward their user's information, so the tendency could be going towards such a centralized system.

If you're looking for systems in which people's actions and thoughts are restricted, China or USSR would be better examples.

at least we can still talk about it (2, Interesting)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803967)

just about the only freedom left is the right to free speech and even that is at times questionable. I used to concider myself a libertarian but leaned republican in elections, now im so ticked off at the state of the world my friends all think ive gone all Che Guevara. I'm just sickened by all the steps taken to "secure" me, what good is it without freedom? I guess im in the majority but I would rather take my chances a bit than deal with some of the BS that is going on now.

The constitution isnt perfect but its alot better than what we have now.

This means... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15803990)

Well, guess the terrorists won, eh?

We're at 1983 (5, Insightful)

pjt48108 (321212) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803993)

1984 is when the authorities catch a clue.

Or, as Benny hill once said in a sketch, "My dog likes to chase cars, but if he ever caught one, he wouldn't know what to do with the damn thing!"

Right now, the powers that be are dogs chasing cars, but they are close to figuing out what they'll do when they catch one.

Enjoy this moment while it lasts.

What privacy? (4, Interesting)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803996)

Let's take a way back machine a little bit. Way back before big faceless corporations, people shopped at corner stores, where the manager knew them by name, knew what their regular order was, and for the habitual customers even had the order ready before the customer came in the store. You couldn't get yourself into too much trouble because everyone in town knew you on sight and all of your local relatives. More often than not the cops knew you by name, and not because you were in trouble but because they were as much a part of the community as you were. Privacy hasn't gone anywhere. If anything the world today has given us MORE privacy than ever before. The difference is not the level of privacy but the range of interested people. Before you worried about the local cops. These days, you only wory about them because they can pass the information to the feds whom you're really worried about. Privacy really honestly does not exist, unless you act in a way to preserve it. In the old days that meant shutting your blinds and not leaving your house. Well you have to do the same thing these days, just electronicaly. Sorry, you can't have a credit card if you want privacy because it isn't your money, it's theirs, and so they have an interest in what you buy. Likewise for your internet and phone connections, use a public service, expect it to be public. The only way to have privacy is to keep to yourself. People don't keep to themselves because it's anti social and destructive. But like it or not, there really wasn't ever any such thing as privacy.

eightyfour (4, Insightful)

BandwidthHog (257320) | more than 7 years ago | (#15803997)

It wasn’t really about the surveillance. That was merely a plot device. It was about a state of mind and the means to achieve that state.

In the superficial sense, i.e. electronic surveillance, much of what you mentioned has fallen into place over the past ten to fifteen years. And most of it has been implemented by commercial interests. As for the mindset? I, and I’m sure a whole lot of others around here, would say that the overwhelming majority of it has sprung up in the body politic within the past 58 months.

May you live in interesting times, comrade.

how do I 'bury' this story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15804005)

Is there a way to 'bury' a story, ala digg? ;-)

1984 was not about the future (2, Insightful)

Catamaran (106796) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804010)

Orwell was writing about contemporary society. We have been living 1984 for a long time.

hehe (1)

meshko (413657) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804025)

What's a guy that doesn't even consider himself paranoid to think of the current state of affairs?"

But of course you are not paranoid. We never doubted you. No.

How is free software important now? (3, Informative)

ptaff (165113) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804026)

Everytime you play the proprietary software game, you lose a bit of your freedom and get nearer to Orwell's world.

How can you be sure your software is not spying on you? For 1 caught Sony case, how many lesser known applications violate your privacy? Not even counting keyloggers and other obvious malware. XP phones home. How many other apps do that?

Even in the political world, proprietary software brings us closer to 1984. Seems every voting machine provider uses closed software, supposedly for "security". How can we trust these black boxes?

In the good old days of desktop computing without a network, closed source software could be trusted to keep your privacy; there was not any way to transmit the information anyway. But now, any trivial program is able to report your activities to the whole world.

Seems to me proprietary software is a dead end when privacy is involved.

If I told my great-great-great-great-grandmother that in the year 2006, most homes would have a box spying and reporting people activities, backed by the richest company in the world, she'd probably laugh. I'm not.

"my phone is tapped" (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804040)

With all due respect, a wiretap is something different.

You're free to be upset about that, as many people are, however, it's not really "wiretapping."

In wiretapping, they look specifically at your phone, and record the transmissions over it. Records of who called who are just a normal part of the audit trail generated by the network. The government requisition of these has raised a number of eyebrows, however, it's not wiretapping.

Begin fighting back now (4, Insightful)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 7 years ago | (#15804047)

What needs to happen now is for people to understand what is going on. This kind of activity has a draining effect on society, basically sapping them of their notion of "freedom." Ask your neighbors, your parents, your kids, your peers: many of them will tell you that they don't mind that they are being treated like criminals. "Why worry if you're not doing anything wrong?" is the typical response. These people don't understand what "freedom" means. These days the word has come to mean "freedom to love America" when in fact it's the opposite we need to allow. So you can start by making sure the people you know, and others if you can, that if our freedom does have a chance of disappearing, and you need to educate them as to what that means.

I'm not saying that this is happening now, though. We're getting closer, but the real danger comes from people who will welcome it when it comes. The single most important battle to be won is in the battle of ideas - that's politics these days.

The other thing you can do is begin securing all aspects of your life. Try and use encryption over the internet; encrypt your emails and messages. Start using cash to buy stuff - the Japanese do it all the time; paying with credit or debit at a store is pretty much rare in Japan. Refuse to buy from the grocery store if they require your drivers license to prove you won't make cyanide when you buy peaches (are peach trees illegal now??).

But important: if you DO make a fuss, DO NOT LOOK LIKE AN ASSHOLE. This is probably what most of you are capable of doing. If you do "fight the man," please do so in an orderly, respectful, and unannoying manner. If you get asked for your license at the grocer's, don't scream about it - people want to get through the line. Simply refuse to purchase from the store, and explain to those around you that you are being asked for your driver's license to buy peaches. The worst thing that can happen is for your ideals to be tied in with obnoxious behavior (this is what happened to liberals).
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