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Big Brother Meet Big Data

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Date added: 18-12-17


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In George Orwell's 1984, the story depicted a nightmarish vision of a world run by a totalitarian state. While it is thought to be a denunciation of Stalinism, it is more broadly, a fictional example of the realities surrounding authoritative power. While there are differing systems of government with varying severities of control, all forms manipulate meaning. From the shift from twentieth century propaganda to censorship in the current twenty-first century, the state has historically decided what is shown and omitted. Due to the acceleration of technology, it has dismantled barriers which has falsely created an illusion of global interconnectedness and security. With the most profound technological change in human history: mobile, social media, and cloud computing. They all share one communality of the accessibility to personal information. This is where big brother meets big databases (Lauk, pg. 51). We are in a digital dystopia where much like Orwell's world reality is distorted, individual thought is tainted, and critical democratic decision making does not exist. Impinged information has ruled and corrupted the thoughts of citizens in authoritarian states. The term authoritarian regime simply includes any undemocratic rule. In contradistinction to democratic leadership, authoritarian kind of leadership do not invite political competitions, fundamental rights among its citizens and separation of power in its institutions (Hall& Dealy, pg.106). Thus authoritarianism can precisely be defined as the rule which involves excessive control of the rule of people. State control over people in this form of rule can be termed as excessive. There is limited openness in states operations. Total control or centralization is the ideal form of governance but it is done with some limited control or decentralization. In these forms of governments power lies in the hands of either a civil dictator or a military dictator. These dictators rise to power by either military coup or through inheriting thrones from their family heirs. The following are some of the features of authoritarian governments; they use principals like fundamentalism, racism or nationalism to provide basis of ruling people. Rulers make each and every decision. They thrive on pressure and force to impose political obedience. Their governments control all arms of government like the judiciary and the media and consider the controls a matter of public interest. Only few people have the control to power. The rulers mainly depend on manipulation and moral corruption to impose their mischievous ideas. Bureaucracy is always put in experiment more especially by the police. Rulers gain legitimacy through manipulations, declarations and further by use of peace ideologies which do not exist.Rulers of these countries control people opinions and the only existed opinion should be one that is aimed towards praising these regimes. Social life among people is largely under state control. It is important to note the difference between authoritative systems which allows limited people participation and totalitarian (despotic government) control which takes control of everything (Hassid at al, pg.9). In this kind of totalitarian control the state does not invite any political opinion. Despotic leaders often lead with an iron fist and leave no any opinion to anyone else. On the other hand in a democratic government the power lies in the hands of the people. People in democratic systems are governed by the rule of law and citizens are guaranteed different rights by the constitution. All arms of government work independently and exercise separation and balancing of power. State media can be defined by as media form which is controlled editorially and financially by the state or government. The idea should not be compared with the state sponsored media which might be getting funding from the government but the government does not control what it does editorially. In state media there is no pressure to generate funds because it is entirely funded by the government. Even though, these Medias serve to pass propaganda by the state to the people in most cases. Modern propaganda can be viewed by many as current lies by the government which are spread using the state Medias in the authoritarian states. Censorship is defined as suppression of public communication, speech and information on basis of it is harmful, sensitive, objectionable or politically incorrect as resolved by the government authorities or other powerful consensus. Private institutions and individuals may engage into censorship. This form of censorship is referred as self-censorship. Fake news has gained popularity to become a house hold name in the modern day society (Ulianovskii, Andrei, et al, 40). Fake news can be defined as articles, videos or published information which is not credible but is disguised by entities who produced it as reliable or true. Fake news in democracies can come from public media which is controlled by state with an aim of spreading false information to citizens. Fake news in democratic countries is spread by bogus sources of information. This bogus information sources can spread fake news with many purposes but mainly they aim at character assassination of individuals. It is evidently clear that this generation is living in what can be referred to as an information age. This is because modes of operations have switched from being industrial to being computerized and large data controlled systems. This has seen people change the ways in which they operate and pass information among each other. The digital revolution which took place in mid-20th century spurred what can be referred to as the info age. Information age was characterized by offline communications mainly relying on the traditional media forms like the television and radio to pass information. Growth of technology and need for more accurate modes of passing information saw the information age grow to a more accurate age form known as the intellectual validation period.This is where people do not have to rely on syphoned information by the media houses, but they can share information among themselves and transmit the information far across in alightning speed. In this intellectual age it is easy to spread propaganda at the same time it is easy for it to be noticed easily and be rendered irrelevant by people. With more than half of the world population being able to access to information within social media platforms, authoritarian's regimes have been facing a difficulty during spreading of false propaganda to their citizens. Back during the 20th century authoritarian governments were effectively able to take and win the hearts of their follower (Holdstock& Nick, pg. 18). They often held the media hostage thus, they succeeded to spread their agendas effectively with little opposition from the less informed followers. It is during the same period that the communist party in china and Russia thrived and gained control of many parts of Eastern Europe and even the rest of the world. All borders in these nations were effectively sealed and any person who stood out to disagree with these regimes was easily suppressed by the general public. Now with growth of the social media authoritarians have been trying to battle these changes by inducing technological changes in order to oppose any enlightenment towards their schemes, but they are easily being discovered. The two big brothers, for instance, China and Russia are example of authoritarian systems faced with the challenge of managing the spread of what they term as exploitative information among their people. They tried to embark on tactics like creating fire walls and instantly deleting any information spread via social media platform, but they failed miserably. The reasons why they failed is obvious. A well versed IT personnel can easily break into the firewall and spread any information to any destination rendering the firewall ineffective. As far as deletion of information is concerned, it is inevitable that the information will have spread far and will have impacted largely before it is identified and deleted by the authoritarian state authorities. This new development has made people in this big brother countries to exercise self-censorship and successfully dismissing state censorship. Due to the difficulty China faced in social media regulation it settled to total ban of the popular social media sites like Facebook, whatSapp and YouTube. They settled to forming similar social media sites like Weibo, renren and youku (Hall & Dealy, pg.42). This Chinese social media sites effectively comply with censorship standards by china. Users of these platforms can be able to send friend requests among each other. They can also share their feelings through icons and express any critics, further they can share images, videos and articles but in a well censored manner by the government. Chinese government carries out this censorship by regulating and controlling the number of people who can interact through these platforms at a single instance. Growth of social media in China, Russia and other authoritarian nations sparked people action. For the first time in a period of a century long, protests were held in parts of Russia and China. Groping social media users is an authoritarian censorship tactic that has succeed in China. Russia on the other has been using its state department of information to spread propaganda. Russia state department of information uses what can be called well-orchestrated propaganda from those in power. Russian government has been spreading its propaganda affairs using unanimous accounts. These accounts belong to government officials who always impost as users and feed people with wrong information. The term implicit biasness can be referred to as having attitudes and associating them with stereotypes rather than implying truth about them. Chinese, Russian and some Middle East leaders have been using implicit biasness to spread wrong gospel about the west more especially Britain, The US and Israel (Kellner & Douglas, pg.59). Their tactics have worked and in very notable cases, western culture has been attacked viciously by countries which are against the rule of people. Cognitive dissonance is the mental unstableness normally experienced by people who have different beliefs, ideas and values. Cognitive dissonance is another powerful tactics used by the Chinese to fight investments from the west. They tell their people that businesses from the western countries have been brought to their countries in order to exploit them. Many American and British corporations have incurred losses in former communist countries due to cognitive dissonance. Echo chambers and filter bubbles are frequently used terms. Echo chambers is more of mocking term in regards to people failure while filter bubbles is used to describe peoples blind spots or lack or idea among people.Middle East and Far East countries have used these tactics to spread bad news about democracy. This has made it easy for them to use religious and cultural factors to fight liberalism and people's power in their countries. Religion especially the Islam have successfully used these ideas to encourage terrorism among their people against the west. Absence of individual thought is a tactic used by dictatorships North Korea being the most successful implementer of the tactic. When using the tactics dictators inflict fear among people and create an impression that they are the only ones who can solve their problems. By doing so the dictators hold anybody who fights them hostage making it easy for them to rule the misinformed people. They also use the tactic to misinform people about other powers who can help them. North Korea in the last decade has fed its citizens with negative information about the US. The totalitarian government has even included a subject which demonizes the west in school'ssyllabus. Thus, because of that, young people in North Korea grow up with a negative mentality against the west and look forward on how they can use war to destroy the west. From the above information it is true that George Orwell statements about how totalitarian and authoritative systems thrive by manipulating people thoughts. They are able to take control of people, as well as, doing away with anyone who is against their ideas.State Censorship has been practiced in these countries for generations evolving with growth of technology and media. These countries self-fishily take advantage of technology created by the west to enforce their dictatorship rule to secure power among themselves. The two big brothers for instance, have used growing technology to spread their wings widely and seek attention within their people and even from the international community. They have really succeeded in framing Orwell's 1984 question that, "how can you speak truth to power, when power speaks truth by definition?"

Works cited

Kellner, Douglas.? Media spectacle and the crisis of democracy: Terrorism, war, and election battles. Routledge, 2015. Holdstock, Nick.? China's forgotten people: Xinjiang, terror and the Chinese State. IB Tauris, 2015. Ulianovskii, Andrei, et al. "Social Media Impact on the Transformation of Imaginary Political Characters in Russian Youth Culture."? Digital Transformation and Global Society. Springer International Publishing, 2016. 35-44. Hassid, Jonathan, and Wanning Sun. "Stability Maintenance and Chinese Media: Beyond Political Communication?"? Journal of Current Chinese Affairs? 44.2 (2015): 3-15. Hall, Dealy. "POSC 3631 China and Russia in Comparative Perspective." (2015). Lauk, Epp. "How will it all unfold? Media systems and journalism cultures in post-communist countries."? Finding the right place on the map: Central and eastern European media change in a global perspective? (2008): 193-212.
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