Privacy, Technology and the Law - Fall 2018

Essay on 1984

Paper due: Wednesday, October 17 at 5pm

Read 1984 by George Orwell.

Suggested: Watch one or both of the films The Lives of Others written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and The Conversation written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. You are then welcome to draw on one or the films in your essay for comparison or contrast.

Write an essay that relates the novel (and possibly one of the films) to some of what we have been studying in class this semester.

Choose one of the following topics:

  1. Technology and the surveillance state. How important is technology, particularly cutting-edge technology, to the establishment and maintenance of a surveillance state? Is combating the repression of such a state better done through the use of technology (including cryptology), by political protest, or other means?
  2. Surveillance v. voyeurism. What is the difference between surveillance and voyeurism? How does this distinction manifest itself in the novel (and the film, if you are considering one)?
  3. Perceptions of privacy and anonymity. In what ways do characters in the novel (and film, if you are considering one) try to act anonymously? Do they succeed? How does the presumption of privacy put characters at risk?
  4. Something different. Choose your own topic. If you want to take this path, you need to propose the topic with me by no later than October 5; the sooner the better.

You need to inform me (via email) on which topic you plan on writing by no later than October 10.