Feature

Assume you’re under surveillance

It’s been over 60 years since George Orwell published “1984,” and “Big Brother is finally watching.”

Andy KesslerThe Wall Street Journal

It’s been over 60 years since George Orwell published 1984, said Andy Kessler, and “Big Brother is finally watching.” There are around 30 million commercial surveillance cameras in the U.S., and thousands of government cameras, recording your image at banks, tollbooths, grocery stores, and public places. Police patrol cars in many cities are being equipped with automatic license-plate readers that check 1,000 plates an hour against databases of scofflaws. With facial-recognition technology in the works, “how long until police identify 1,000 faces per hour walking around the streets?” Online, your emails, searches, and website travels are being tracked and recorded; so are your travels in the real world, as revealed by your smartphone or your tablet’s GPS. The government can easily demand access to all this information. Ominously, the National Security Agency is building a massive, $2 billion data center in Utah capable of storing 5 zettabytes of data—the equivalent of “every email, cellphone call, Google search, and surveillance-camera video for a long time to come.” If you are online or out in public, you may well be under surveillance. “Plan for it.”

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