The man sat on the floor, awkwardly wedged into the far corner of his apartment, his knees drawn up under his chin. The faltering light from the dirty window barely illuminated the book balanced on his knees. Periodically he bent closer to see the words as he scrawled out his thoughts with a dull pencil.
This was the only way he could express himself beyond the scrutiny of government surveillance that sought to know and record his every thought and action.
You may recognize this scene, one of the most arresting from George Orwell’s dystopian fiction classic, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Winston Smith was breaking the law by seeking privacy outside the range of the “telescreen” in his apartment.
In an irony that would no doubt give Orwell grim satisfaction in his own prescience, Britons today are being pursued and prosecuted under an Act of Parliament designed to curb terrorism … for failing to pay a license fee for the televisions in their own homes...