Big brother is watching you and millions of other people around the world. George Orwell's concept of big brother communicated in his political and science fiction classic novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a reality worth careful consideration.
Orwell wrote "big brother is watching you"; however, he was actually an optimist. He would not have envisioned that the National Security Agency (NSA) would accrue data on more than 200 million text messages and billions of phone calls every day.
In addition, it's fair to assume Orwell could not foresee his big brother government reading contents of emails, live chats in social media networks, and file transfers. However, George Orwell's concept of "big brother" has grown out of proportion.
In 1774, Congress petitioned King George III and protested against their aspect of "big brother" and the unlimited power colonial officers had in performing searches and seizures.
The petition charged that power had been used as follows.
"To break open and enter houses, without the authority of any civil magistrate founded on legal information."
In an attempt to ensure that the country would not become a police state, the founding fathers of the United States of America later put the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures by "big brother" into the Bill of Rights.
Nevertheless, the National Security Agency spying program confines all of us, not just terrorists. The NSA acts like Orwell's "big brother" while they search out European leaders, the United Nations, people in Brazil, Mexico, Parliament, and the European Union.
President Obama reacted to concerns about allegations that the U.S. government spied on ordinary people and foreign leaders, including those in Brazil and Germany.
CNN reported the president's attempt to offer reassurance to Americans about government surveillance, whether "big brother" is actually watching you, your family, co-workers, and friends.
"The United States is not spying on ordinary people who don't threaten our national security unless there is a compelling national security purpose, we will not monitor the communications of heads of state and government of our close friends and allies."
However, former Vice President Al Gore was reported to have said this about NSA's big brother activities.
"The NSA surveillance violates the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment language is crystal clear. It isn't acceptable to have a secret interpretation of a law that goes far beyond any reasonable reading of either the law or the Constitution and then classify as top secret what the law actually is."
A collection of violations were reported to president Obama's Intelligence Oversight Board between 2001 and 2013. NSA declassified and made the report public, after being forced by an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act.
Although uproar over government spying and online privacy has incited several calls for better oversight of the expansive intelligence community, little has been done to curtail the agency's extensive and predominately unchecked powers to spy on Americans.
Big brother is watching you more than you can imagine.
[Photo courtesy of Imgkid]