node created 2012/06/17
last changed 2013/02/04
Whenever people think of Orwell today they usually think also of security cameras and ‘Big Brother’. Orwell represents much more than that. He saw that language and writing can be perverted to deceive people rather than inform them. If we remember that single lesson then his legacy will remain secure.
What I worry about is kids growing up in a society where they say "If I send this email or if I visit this website, then somebody may think I'm a terrorist. I'm not going to talk about this issue, I'm not going to read this book, I'm not going to explore this idea."
Maybe people will get as sick of Twitter as they once got sick of cigarettes. Twitter's and Facebook's latest models for making money still seem to me like one part pyramid scheme, one part wishful thinking, and one part repugnant panoptical surveillance.
Now the police dreams that one look at the gigantic map on the office wall should suffice at any given moment to establish who is related to whom and in what degree of intimacy; and, theoretically, this dream is not unrealizable although its technical execution is bound to be somewhat difficult. If this map really did exist, not even memory would stand in the way of the totalitarian claim to domination; such a map might make it possible to obliterate people without any traces, as if they had never existed at all.
"The Origins of Totalitarianism"
Destroying the privacy of several billion people is not an adequate price to pay for capturing a dozen or even a hundred bad guys.

Sure it did get them some. So would carpet-bombing New York City. Success alone is a worthless measure without taking cost into account.
Tagsmass surveillance NSA