Big Brother

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The term Big Brother refers to George Orwell's classic novel 1984, in which he "described a totalitarian society in which the government, referred to as the Party, had almost complete control over the people. The supreme ruler of the Party was Big Brother. Posters announced that 'Big Brother is Watching You'. Telescreens, which could not be turned off, droned endlessly with brainwashing propaganda about wondrous government programs. Coins, stamps, books, films, and banners proclaimed the three slogans of the Party: 'War is Peace', 'Freedom is Slavery', 'Ignorance is Strength'." [1]

"In Orwell's seminal novel, Big Brother and the party control the past, because by doing so, they control the present and future. Enemies become allies overnight, and all evidence to the contrary is put down the memory holes in the Ministry of Truth, and new archives written to back up the current version." [2]


On September 21, 2004, the Illinois Pantagraph reported in "Chicago Becomes Oceania: Big Brother is Watching":

"It may have taken a couple extra decades for George Orwell's predictions in his book 1984 to come true, but Big Brother is watching.
"In Orwell's book, the residents of Oceania were under near constant surveillance. Sounds like Chicago of the near future.
"Mayor Richard Daley is developing a network of more than 2,000 surveillance cameras that would be linked to a computerized network programmed to recognize suspicious or emergency situations.
"Most of the cameras are already in place at O'Hare International Airport, on transit lines, in public housing buildings and schools and in high-crime areas. The new development would be the software designed to detect unusual activity, notify emergency officials and allow 911 operators to access the image.
"There is something vaguely discomforting at the thought of being watched by government cameras, even if they are in public places.
"In reality, more of these unblinking eyes probably look at us every day -- even in Bloomington-Normal -- than any of us realize.
"But do we really want to emulate London, where it's estimated the average person passes in view of 300 cameras a day?"

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