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Big Brother on the Cover: 50+ Covers for George Orwell’s 1984

Privacy Training Blog Big Brother Is Watching You Poster

by Daniel J. Solove

Privacy Training Blog George Orwell
George Orwell

One of the most well-known classic privacy books is George Orwell’s 1984, and it has been published in countless editions around the world.  I enjoy collecting things, and I’ve gathered up more than 50 book covers of various editions of the novel.  I find it interesting how various artists and designers try to capture the novel’s themes.  I thought I’d share the covers with you.

Orwell’s 1984 chronicles a harrowing totalitarian society, one that engages in massive surveillance of its citizenry.  Everywhere are posters that say “NSA Big Brother Is Watching You.”   From the novel:

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What Is Privacy?

Finger Print Iris Scan

By Daniel J. Solove

What is privacy? This is a central question to answer, because a conception of privacy underpins every attempt to address it and protect it.  Every court that holds that something is or isn’t privacy is basing its decision on a conception of privacy — often unstated.  Privacy laws are also based on a conception of privacy, which informs what things the laws protect.  Decisions involving privacy by design also involve a conception of privacy.  When privacy is “baked into” products and services, there must be some understanding of what is being baked in.

Far too often, conceptions of privacy are too narrow, focusing on keeping secrets or avoiding disclosure of personal data.  Privacy is much more than these things.  Overly narrow conceptions of privacy lead to courts concluding that there is no privacy violation when something doesn’t fit the narrow conception.   Narrow or incomplete conceptions of privacy lead to laws that fail to address key problems.  Privacy by design can involve throwing in a few things and calling it “privacy,” but this is like cooking a dish that requires 20 ingredients but only including 5 of them.

It is thus imperative to think through what privacy is.  If you have an overly narrow or incomplete conception of privacy, you’re not going to be able to effectively identify privacy risks or protect privacy.

In my work, I have attempted to develop a practical and useable conception of privacy.  In what follows, I will briefly describe what I have developed.

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Surveillance Law in Dire Need of Reform: The Promise of the LEADS Act

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By Daniel J. Solove

The law regulating government surveillance and information gathering is in dire need of reform. This law, which consists of the Fourth Amendment and several statutes, was created largely in the 1970s and 1980s and has become woefully outdated. The result is that law enforcement officials and intelligence agencies can readily find ways to sidestep oversight and protections when engaging in surveillance and data collection.

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People Care About Privacy Despite Their Behavior

people care about privacy

It is often said that people don’t care much about privacy these days given how much information they expose about themselves. But survey after survey emphatically concludes that people really do care about privacy.

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