Big Brother Bill: It's 1984 all over Again
by Mike Banks Valentine
Most of the commentary over the George Orwell's novel, "1984" that occurred in that year, was derision, saying that now it was quite clear that the eerie picture painted of "Big Brother" was unlikely, and certainly not possible.
Now Microsoft has proposed a sweeping web initiative which it has dubbed "dot Net" or .Net in which they would be the "host" for the personal information of every single online consumer. The idea has some appeal as a possible way to access information from a central bank of servers using XML code to withdraw selected info from the vast database of personal information about anyone from a central "host".
To have web access to that information might save the life of an accident victim allergic to medications or allow you to withdraw cash from any bank via your cell phone.
The privacy implications though, are downright spooky. Now, you combine that information with newly available science-fiction- like "face-mapping" software tested this year at the "Snooper-Bowl" where certain law-enforcement agencies would have access to private personal information and high resolution video scans of the crowd and you have -- Big Brother. Combine that with "Telematics" being used by car rental agencies to track the location and even the speed of their fleet of cars and now it gets real ugly.
This is the George Orwell novel, "1984" come to life, a little late, but it's definitely here. Carry a cell phone? It will be federally mandated that your phone must use global positioning technology so that when used to dial emergency services via 911, you can be located to within twenty feet or less. It doesn't take a genius to realize that could be used by Big Brother just as easily without your knowledge.
Any idea if your boss is peering over your shoulder? More than three- quarters of corporate employers monitor employees in multiple ways. The following is from Onvia.com web article on workplace monitoring.
"Although the average percentage of workers with office e-mail and Internet connections remained relatively constant, overall active monitoring grew to 78 percent from 74 percent in 2000. The overall figure includes such measures as storing and reviewing computer files (36 percent), video recording of employees on the job (15 percent), recording and reviewing telephone messages (12 percent), and storing and reviewing voice mail (8 percent).
Other forms of surveillance, including telephone numbers called and time spent on the phone, logged computer time and video surveillance for security purposes brought the total for all forms of monitoring to 82 percent, up from last year's 78 percent and from 67 percent in 1999."
Consider that Microsoft provides the desktop software to most of the corporate world and it doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to see them building in their own monitoring tools.
Add to that, "Smart Tags" that are being built into Microsoft software so that all of their products are tethered together and they now have access to virtually all of your information from Outlook, Word, your calendar, your email addresses, your files, your spreadsheets and your Powerpoint presentations.
The following quote came from a large computing company's lead engineer, he was promised anonymity:
"Bill has held back technology in order to control the growth at his own pace and suck up every ounce of revenue along the way. He is a genius when it comes to business - probably the smartest business man to ever live!
When he released MSDOS (early 80's) there were plenty of multi- tasking OSs available - he released Windows NT in the mid 90's over ten years after the technology was available on the PC! You have to be pretty smart to hold off that kind of technology for over ten years!
The consumer is just now starting to receive the benefits of multi-tasking OS's with Windows 2000 and still has no idea how much technology they are missing!
He uses his install base of (90+%) of the client market to control and kill every standard in his greedy profit hungry companies way.
Now he is trying to kill Java with SOAP, SNMP with CIMOM ... etc.
He killed pop3 with exchange server - you have to buy your corporate email server from Microsoft. No open email standards will stand in his way - eliminate the competition!
The bottom line is Bill is the smartest business man in the software industry and controls the pace of technology. You will not get the technology until Bill can control and own the market!"
Bill Gates made $931 million as Microsoft shares rose about 2 percent, better than the Upside 150's 1 percent gain. The Microsoft chairman was worth $50.6 billion at the end of trading on June 29, based on his company stock holdings. That would finance the Big Brother centralized database called .Net quite easily.
This leaves one question:
Are you ready for 1984?