1984 – 25 Years Later


By Jeff Bowman

Eric Arthur Blair had it right all the way back in 1949. Maybe the year was a little off, but he knew that personal privacy would be severely compromised in the years to come.

The issue today, I think, is far more mainstream than the subversive methodology used in earlier decades.

There has always been corporate espionage. In fact, it was the competition between Cadbury and Rowntree in England in the 20’s that inspired Roald Dahl to write Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Both chocolate makers sent “workers” to steal secrets from the other’s plants. It was commonplace for out-placed workers to apply directly to the competition for employment, where they were pumped for their inside information before being dumped.

Today, employers have all sorts of tools available to gather information about current and prospective employees.  Interestingly, we have rules around what type of information we can source in the job interview. Big Brother insists people have a right to privacy.

Then there is Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, where people seem to freely offer up scads of information, some of which would make a sailor blush. You can view pictures, family, friends, see what type of activities they enjoy – beach shots, drinking with buddies or the occasional boudoir photo, not to mention video!

Not long ago a fellow posted this on his Twitter account “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

Somebody at Cisco responded, “Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”  Now that hurts.

Today’s we have no need for hidden cameras, spies or personality profiles.  In today’s world we give it all away, then complain about an invasion of privacy when it suits us.

Eric Blair was right, except for the fact that instead of it being taken, we are eagerly giving our personal lives away to anyone with computer access.

Eric Arthur Blair, Facebook profile – Born 1903 – died 1950. Prolific writer and visionary.  Published under the pen name George Orwell.

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Filed under Jeff Bowman, Media, social media

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