[Review] 1984 and 2014

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When I started on the audio book of “Nineteen eighty-four” I was unaware that I was part of a trend. Apparently, the sales of this book have increased by 7000% within the first week of the 2013 mass survaillance leaks. Not that strange, considering one of the main themes is the government watching its people.

Description from Goodreads:
Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while the year 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions. A legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

The plot in itself is simple: man lives under oppressive government, secretly hates the government, falls in love with slightly more rebellious girl, gets found out and tortured and resocialised. There is more too it of course. The description of a government that knows everything, sees everything, controls everything, hits home eerily close.

It made me think. How does this compare to out current society where we put so many things on Facebook and Twitter ourselves? What about the Dutch government, who just adviced their citizens to cover their webcams, because hackers might be watching? Who has access to “big data” here? As a person living in Oceania in 1984 you at least know it’s the government that is watching you, but in this world in 2014 you don’t know who is…

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