Welcome to Quantum Muse, a science fiction and fantasy ezine. Welcome to Quantum Muse, a science fiction and fantasy ezine. Your banner could be here! Find out how!
Posting the finest in science fiction, fantasy and alternative writing and artwork. For free. In our sober moments...
   Reader's login    |    Writer's login

The Luxury of Privacy by Michele Dutcher


Michele Dutcher

The Luxury of Privacy


As you well know, one of the byproducts of science fiction is to predict upcoming technology. HG Wells wrote about a spinning disc that, when set in motion, played a 3D image of  a message - and obviously Star Trek predicted the IPad.  Another thing science fiction can do is predict what might happen in the future on a sociological level, using its stories as an alarm, warning its readers about global mistakes that humanity might be making, and what might be the end result of those mistakes if left unchanged.  


When I was first introduced in college to the classic sci-fi novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, it was with the proposition than George Orwell should have pushed back the date even further, to somewhere beyond the turn of the 2nd millennia. I can’t fault his logic, for the tri-goals of the Big Brother government – perpetual war, omnipresent surveillance, and manipulation of the populace – seem to be occurring right on schedule, and I find the process almost ordinary, almost unstoppable. 


The thing that I do find surprising is the predilection of the populace of the workers to freely and joyously give away chunks of information on themselves. At least in the fictional Orwellian society, the populace kept in line with two-way telescreens that the workers could not turn off.


I ask people in their twenties and thirties why they are so eager to tell everything about themselves in online surveys.  They look at me and say, “Well, we aren’t doing anything wrong, so why not.”  The question is, why does anyone want to know where you went to high school, or what your children’s names are or where your closest friends live. With all the hubbub about ‘stranger danger’ why are adults so eager to tell the world everything about themselves? Once that information is given away, there is no way to get it back.


Facepage will tell you up front that they have 1500 pieces of information on over two hundred million Americans.   


No, children, Home Station does not need your telephone number and zip code to sell you a replacement cord for your coffeepot!  Pay in cash: they’ll still have a videotape of you buying it if they need to contact you.


In Mike Lofgren’s essay, the Anatomy of the Deep State, talked about by Moyers & Company on PBS, we may be peeking into the birth of Big Brother proper.  Deep State is an alignment of the NSA, Silicon Valley, the government on The Mall, and private enterprise – all overseen by what Orwell referred to as the ‘Inner Party’ – the upper 2 percent of the population who control 96% of the world’s wealth. Big Brother had to start somewhere – will it later be said that it was in the early 2000s that it was given birth?


Perhaps the only reason we’re having a glimpse of the birth may be whistleblowers like Edward Snowden who had the audacity to stand up and cry out – trying to pull the majority of the populace back from the edge like a modern day Catcher in the Rye.


In Nineteen Eighty-Four the Inner Party was allowed to turn off the telescreens in their homes. Will their come a time when privacy is the ultimate luxury? – Is that time already here?    

Please leave your comments. They will be stored permanently with interview.

Enter the code above to post comment:


We shamelessly accept handouts!

Give generously to the United Wa - uh, we mean Quantum Muse. It keeps Mike off the streets from scaring small children and the Web Goddess from spray painting Town Hall - again.
Enter your tip amount. Then click on the tip cup!

Quantum Museletter! Be the first to know when new stories and artwork have arrived.

Subscribe to Quantum Museletter by filling out the following form.

Enter the code above to verify entry:
Your email address:
Your name (optional):

Do you like this site?
Recommend it to a friend by pushing the button below!