Complex issues are often oversimplified so that they can be communicated in a 15-second sound bite. And when it comes to oversimplifying complex privacy issues, many would skip serious thoughtful discussion and resort to terms like “Orwellian” or “1984.” But this “Cliff’s Notes” version of sophisticated privacy discussions rarely matches the actual text of George Orwell’s masterpiece.
We all know the novel 1984, or at least we think we do. But we tend to focus on the technology involved in the story and miss the underlying warning Orwell was trying to give. Orwell’s “Big Brother is Watching” was not about fear of new technology or businesses, but a cautionary tale about government’s unfettered access to information and the misuse of technology.