Sunday, 23 November 2014

Writing - 1984 and all that stuff

In a week when we were told of a website able to access your webcam then there is the below new law.

Snooper's charter

A law forcing firms to hand details to police identifying who was using a computer or mobile phone at a given time is to be outlined by Theresa May.
The home secretary said the measure would improve national security.
Under the Anti-Terrorism and Security Bill, providers would have to hold on to data linking devices to users.
But campaigners warned it could see the revival of the so-called "snoopers' charter" - a previous attempt to bring in wide-ranging web monitoring powers.

UK intelligence service GCHQ can legally snoop on British use of Google, Facebook and web-based email without specific warrants because the firms are based abroad, the government has said.



The Plot

Winston Smith is a low-ranking member of the ruling Party in London, in the nation of Oceania. Everywhere Winston goes, even his own home, the Party watches him through telescreens; everywhere he looks he sees the face of the Party’s seemingly omniscient leader, a figure known only as Big Brother. The Party controls everything in Oceania, even the people’s history and language. Currently, the Party is forcing the implementation of an invented language called Newspeak, which attempts to prevent political rebellion by eliminating all words related to it. Even thinking rebellious thoughts is illegal. Such thoughtcrime is, in fact, the worst of all crimes.

I don't know how popular this book is these days, when all said and done 1984 was 30 years ago, but the message that George Orwell had to give then seems to have as much relevance today. If you have the time and inclination I'd give it the once over and consider the imagined society of Orwell to our current situation.

Also taking a look at societal issues  is important to help keep writing current even though your story is not totally about this issue. I was gratified to read about a talk put together by PEN International and PEN American Centre entitled 'Creative Conscience, Writers on Surveillance, Society and Culture'

Speaking at the event were Adam Hochschild (US), author of “King Leopold’s Ghost” and journalist; Suzanne Nossel (US), Executive Director of PEN American Centre; and Janne Teller (Denmark), organiser of the Writers Against Mass Surveillance appeal. - See more at:

Adam Hochschild spoke under the heading 'Power begins with surveillance'. Really there is no need to go further as the title says it all. There is an article  at the following link, 

God Bless