When George Orwell penned Nineteen Eighty-Four, there was no Internet, no cell phones, no digital recording devices, no cable television, and no remote controls, at least not accessible to the average citizen. The idea of Big Brother watching was considered nothing more than science fiction in 1949. However, as with many gadgets, that which began as science fiction sometimes surfaces years later as reality. The human race is now capable of video chats, space travel, cloning, organ transplants, and touch screen activation. All of these accomplishments were once considered science fiction. One need not use bug detectors to know their actions are being watched.
“This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes.” Sound familiar? Translation: the person you’re talking to may not be the only person listening to this call. In other words, this is a disclaimer so that you know they’re recording you. What you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Okay, maybe not that last part. The fact of the matter is your permission is not asked; you are simply informed that it’s happening.
“This location is monitored by closed circuit television.” Translation: smile; you’re on candid camera. Even better: you’re being watched in case you do something dumb enough to qualify as a “stupid criminal,” something like looking directly at the camera before spray painting the lens.
Have you ever signed a waiver before attending a televised sporting event? It’s doubtful. Yet the network has no qualms about showing your face on television, whether or not you know it, whether or not you’re having a good hair day.
Don’t forget traffic cams. You open your mail one day to discover a picture of you in your car, minding your own business and oblivious to the fact that your picture was just taken. Oh, and by the way, you owe the city some money for running that light. Didn’t you read the fine print on that street sign? It said something along the lines of “Red light photo enforced. Slam on the brakes now, or say cheese!” The police don’t even have to be present to write you a ticket.
These may be humorous comments about some common surveillance, but rest assured that privacy is not a laughing matter. For every camera and recording you know about, there are hundreds of which you are not aware. Bug detectors are not just for the conspiracy theorists.