Creepy Uncle Is Watching You
by Brian Haycock
Welcome to the not-so-brave new world. Don’t get too comfortable. Try not to relax.
The new world is the world of information. Information is wealth. Information is power. Information is control. Information is everything. You are information.
1984 went by and we thought we were safe. We were wrong. Orwell was a lightweight. Brilliant, of course, but he had no idea. He thought there would only be mindless drones transcribing the conversations of the disloyal on manual typewriters. We’re so far beyond that now. Oceania seems like a utopian Garden of Eden next to this.
Big Brother is dead. The men behind the throne took him out and blew his brains into the rosebushes. He was soft, too much of a wuss. He wanted to help. He wanted to control people by being their friend. There’s no need for that now. Big Brother has been replaced by that creepy old uncle, the one you hid from at the family picnics. The one who was always leering at you over the potato salad. He’s watching you right now. Smile.
Everything is information now. And Uncle has all of it. He has your DNA, your fingerprints, your retinal scans. He has brain scans you don’t remember having done. He knows your birth sign and he has a frighteningly accurate projection of how and when you will die.
Uncle collects information the way a black hole collects light. Nothing is safe. Telephone calls are monitored and reviewed, mail is scanned and sorted. Packages are x-rayed. Vehicles are followed from red light camera to traffic control monitor to toll road scanner. He knows where you are. Cameras mounted on every city street are running, sending in the pictures to be scanned through facial recognition software, sorted from there into digital reconstructions. He knows what you look like. He knows what you read. Buy a book on plastic or check one out from the library, it’s recorded. Buy a CD, he knows about it. Then there’s the internet. Every keystroke that goes on the net is routed and collected, stored for future reference. In case it’s ever needed. Data strings travel the net constantly, scanning hard drives, transmitting everything back to Uncle. Uncle knows everything. Watch what you do.
Uncle can’t tell what you’re thinking. Yet. But he has people working on it. Watch what you think, just in case.
All the data’s collected, run through NSA computer banks using software that hones in on key words, analyses context, reviews past records. It finds patterns in data. It sends up red flags. It notifies the authorities. Then things start to happen.
You don’t believe this. I know, it’s hard. You want to feel free. We all do. I used to feel free, and I miss that. Maybe you don’t want to know the truth. I understand. But if you want to know, it’s easy to find out. There’s a simple test you can do, but I don’t recommend it. All you have to do is type a sentence using the words “jihad” and “bomb.” Any combination like that, the computers will…
That was a mistake. I didn’t mean to do that. Is there an undo on this? Hey, it was just a joke, you know. I was just fooling around.
It’s very quiet now. The dogs have stopped barking. I can’t hear the birds. There’s a sound that could be a helicopter. Maybe two of them. They’re very quiet, but I can hear them. They’re right overhead. Oh my god! Something just hit the roof. Something is happening out there. I’m going out to see. If I’m not back in ten min