Big Brother Now Watching George Orwell's House

Big Brother, the ever-watchful leader in the novel 1984, has popped up all around George Orwell's former home in London.

If you haven't had your daily dose of irony yet, here it is. Within 200 yards of George Orwell's flat 27B overlooking Canonbury Square in Islington, North London, there are thirty-two CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras.

(1984 finally arrives in London)

Orwell's view of the tree-filled gardens outside the flat is under 24-hour surveillance from two cameras perched on traffic lights.

The flat's rear windows are constantly viewed from two more security cameras outside a conference centre in Canonbury Place.

I have to say, the Brits are going on a bit of a CCTV surveillance binge lately. Britain now has over 4.2 million cameras - that's one for every fourteen people. A typical citizen is caught on camera an average of 300 times per day.

Just like in 1984, watchers have the opportunity to talk to you anywhere you might be by attaching speakers to CCTV cameras - see Big Brother Would Like A Word With You. Some of them are even using children's voices to chide adults - see 'Baby' Brother Cams.

The next steps? There is a proposal on the table for a national standard for CCTV cameras; this would make it possible for all images gathered by individual cameras to be accessed by authorities.

Alistair Darling, transport secretary, has outlined a proposal to charge UK drivers in a "pay as you go" tax to pay for roads. In order to implement the plan, all cars would carry a device that would be tracked every minute by satellite. The UK already uses ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras placed every 400 yards along major roadways to create a national vehicle movement database (see ANPR Cams - Britain's Roadside Big Brother).

Just to give you a little taste of the novel, here's a snippet on BB:

The black-moustachio'd face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston's own... In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people's windows.

Read more at The Daily Mail.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/14/2007)

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