"Big Brother isn't what he used to be. George Orwell extrapolated his totalitarian state from the 1940s. Today's information society looks nothing like Orwell's world, and watching and intimidating a population today isn't anything like what Winston Smith experienced.
Data collection in Nineteen Eighty-Four was deliberate; today's is inadvertent. In the information society, we generate data naturally. In Orwell's world, people were naturally anonymous; today, we leave digital footprints everywhere.
Nineteen Eighty-Four's police state was centralized; today's is decentralized. Your phone company knows who you talk to, your credit card company knows where you shop and NetFlix knows what you watch. Your ISP can read your email, your cell phone can track your movements and your supermarket can monitor your purchasing patterns. There's no single government entity bringing this together, but there doesn't have to be. As Neal Stephenson said, the threat is no longer Big Brother, but instead thousands of Little Brothers."
Article Link: http://www.journal-online.co.uk/articles/show/3103