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While much of what Orwell seemed to fear has become a reality in today’s world, the current reality of the negative consequences of participatory surveillance far surpasses what Orwell envisioned. Participatory surveillance is engaged in when
individuals knowingly allow websites to access personal information entered in profiles and online forms as well as when easily gathered recordings of oneself and others through commonly owned mobile technology. This process is a type of passive permission for others such as insurance companies, marketing firms and service providers to gain access to our online information even when we have some semblance of a reason to believe it will be kept anonymous or private. The novel 1984 was authored by a liberal and objective socialist not long after the Second World War had ended. The book discusses a future in a totalitarian state where people’s thoughts
and behaviors are minutely monitored, interpreted as indicating party alliance or party misalliance and controlled to increase or decrease them depending on the valence. The entire novel was based on a “what if” questions, specifically what if Bitiain had lost the war.