Yes i am aware the title isnt a word.

In a previous blog post i discussed how the degenerative nature of language has hastened with the arrival of improved technology (for more follow the ling -> On language). I also referenced this somewhat to the ideas portraying in George Orwell’s book 1984.

Another major component of this book was that its citizens were monitored (or attempted to be) 24 hours a day. This was to gleen insight into what people were thinking, and to prevent “thought crimes”.

It was an somewhat ideal representation of Jeremy Bentham’s “Panopticon”. A panopticon was a theoretical structure (easier to state it as a prison) where all the occupants of the structure were placed under hypothetical 24 hours surveillance, say a glass walled dome, with a tower in the middle able to view into every cell. The occupants of the cells could not see if the guard was watching them as the guard was behind a one way mirror with 360 degree sight. The idea being, that having been told and by all accounts think they are being watched, their social interactions and behaviors would be altered.

In todays modern world, this idea is pretty realized. The only difference is, it isnt overtly communicated. Theoretically, every time you browse the internet, your actions are watched (at least potentially by some bot or another), every time you walk the street you are potentially on camera. The explosion of social media and the sheer magnitude of data they collect is mind boggling. Does the fact that we are continually monitored in some way influence our decision making process? Whenever a website notices a trend in your viewing habits and chooses to advertise a certain product, does this influence your buying habits? Where Orwell envisioned the monitoring of Oceania’s citizens as a means of maintaining order, today’s monitoring of our citizens could be said to be about creating spending habits.

To monetize our viewing habits and life choices.

Is it so wrong from what 1984 envisioned?

And what is the solution for your everyday citizen? Is it even a problem?


Edward Leeming 20/11/2017


3 thoughts on “Monitorization

  1. Accessing the Internet independant of advertising tracking and even bypassing metadata collection is still posible. There’s number of ways but using “TAILS” to securely anonymise your internet browsing is the easiest from most people; see


  2. It’s somewhat easy to avoid bots and tracking on the internet if you cared enough to do so (which most people don’t).

    Generally, if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product.

    In my line of work I see lots of data that people just unknowingly give away and it never ceases to surprise me; but I don’t really care enough about the vast majority of people and my time is too valuable for me to go digging around. As long as you take reasonable steps to protect yourself you are fine (which most people don’t).

    There are the Mr Robots of the world that are determined and talented, but you wont be able to stop them. The crux of security is to just make someone else look easier than you =)

    I also heard bots are susceptible to crippling lug-nut shortages.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I fall into the rare category of “unskilled in computers but not dumb enough to lack common sense” so hopefully i can avoid the worst of it.

      The thing with bots (at least from my basic grasp of then) is that bots teach bots how to be bots, and refine themselves at a pretty exponential rate. So while it is currently pretty easy to avoid giving away too much, i suspect that eventually there will be bots on almost every site or internet activity doing what they do best (gathering information)

      I do like that line of “if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product”, kinda makes me want to write some sort of crazy dystopian story with people on conveyor belts (similar to “Brave new world”)


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