Also while perusing Orwell below, just for the fun of it, I stumbled on this, again from 1984:
The invention of print … made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end.
This reminds me of something Marshall McLuhan wrote, that with each advance in technology comes a corresponding loss of freedom. His example was an agent of a bank working out west before the telegraph, pretty much left to his own. Comes the telegraph, and he now has to be at his post all day long, as his bosses back east are monitoring him. Instant communication produced the first technology slave.
The Internet did not just stumble out into the open to be discovered by horny teenagers. The technology long existed, Kissinger having an early version in his brief case when he went to China in 1972. When it became available for public use it was already adapted to snooping, both by government and commercial enterprises. The “information superhighway” quickly became dot.commerce. Google started out as a good search engine because it did not sell its results to merchants, so that a query produced honest results. Now look at them. They are nothing but marketplace whores.
Worse yet, however, was the web browser itself, deliberately designed with back doors so advertisers could monitor our behavior. I only know what I know, and that due to some software I installed. Every time I open a page, in the upper right of my screen a list of companies attempting to monitor my activities appears. Google is always among them even though I do not use GMail, Google the search engine, or any Google product. Microsoft designed the Internet Explorer with merchants in mind, creating all kinds of back doors for entry into our private lives. They always claimed, when various entry points were discovered, that it was an accident.
We should not be surprised that NSA uses those same back doors. I do not have a whole lot of faith in outfits like Microsoft – that is, I do not think they are creative or innovative so much as having been lucky, and so were chosen to be the vehicle for entry of snoops into our private lives. Bill Gates is not that smart. It is not hard to see. Read into him what you will, but vision is not one of his strong traits. He ain’t got any. As the story goes, Netscape made the first browser, and Microsoft stole it. but in my heart of hearts, I wonder if Netscape made the first browser, NSA stole it, and then gave it to Microsoft and said “pretend you invented it, and make sure you leave room for us to move in too.”
The technology is not accidental, and the government and large corporations knew about it long before it became available to us. It would not have become available to us if it could not be compromised. It should come as no surprise that they are using it as Orwell’s two-way technology that ended our private lives.