In Orwell’s 1984 we were introduced to the Thought Police, a secret police tasked by the fictional superstate of Oceania to surveil the population to root out and arrest those members who might display inclinations for disrupting the status quo. This was understood by readers of the novel to be a frightening, albeit fantastical vision of a totalitarian regime with nearly unlimited means to monitor and control its subjects.
With Edward Snowden’s revelation of the unsettling lengths to which agents of the federal government will go to deter potential criminals, we now see that our present level of technology, which has shifted the paradigm of human communication, has brought us to the point where Orwell’s dystopian vision seems less and less far fetched.
The Department of Justice is now using the internet to ferret out individuals who may be guilty of committing “thought crime”. Their latest target? Inflammatory, anonymous internet commenters. Continue reading