NEWS > TECHNOLOGY > AMAZON DECIDES KINDLE USERS NO LONGER NEED‘1984’
AMAZON DECIDES KINDLE USERS NO LONGER NEED‘1984’
July 18 2009
New York, NY – Nineteen Eighty-Four was first published almost sixty years ago and almost instantly became a classic. It’s portrayal of a dystopian future controlled by an all powerful and all seeing government has become a touchstone for generations of disillusioned youth and critics of government policies. Though the year 1984 has long
since passed, many of the elements contained within George Orwell’s novel seem as prescient today as ever with governments around the world enacting new programs that many fear may be a precursor to a ‘Big Brother’ future.
Advances in technology, such as been happening in recent years with the rise of the internet and SMS technology, often comes with a price. Assembly lines took worker’s jobs; the telephone eliminated the need for couriers. Inevitably though the benefits of such technology outweigh the deficits and in the case of information technology that same may be the case eventually. With concerns over companies like Google and Facebook collecting and using personal information, the medium is growing through its growing pains as some Amazon Kindle users are learning. The sudden disappearance of ‘1984’ and Orwell’s other classic ‘Animal Farm’ from Kindles around the world has many concerned that Big Brother is alive and well and working for a web retailer.
“These books were added to our catalogue using our self-service platform by a third party who did not have the rights to the books. When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers' devices, and refunded customers. We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers' devices in these circumstances,” said Amazon spokesperson Drew Herdener. “Contrary to what our customer service people indicated these books were not removed by the publisher but were removed for legal issues. We will not comment further on this issue. Refunds have been issued to all users.”
The contradiction between the two explanations has confused many users of the Kindle service, leading to the presumption of ‘Doublethink’, a term utilized by the society of the 1984 as a means to control the population. The Kindle service has also prevented certain controversial classics ‘Lolita’ and ‘Catch-22’ from appearing on the service.
“It would be a little too early to go on the assumption that Amazon is functioning in a big brother manner. True they have gone into people’s personal property and deleted information that they legally paid for but that would only be an indicator that they are moving in that direction, not that they are fully fledged tyrants or tyrants,” said Scrape TV Media analyst Sarah Piper. “The commonly accepted thinking has been that the first step in cowing a population is by controlling the information they have access to. That of course was common in Soviet Russia and has happened repeatedly in both China and North Korea but there is no reason to assume that the same thing would be as effective in the west. The abundance of information makes it very difficult to keep anything a secret for too long.”
Other web companies have suffered criticism for their privacy policies, outrage which lasted only short periods of time before moving on to other concerns, something traditionally enables tyranny. There is no indication that any of the companies have made significant changes to their data collection or sharing policies.
“The history of the predicting to future has been sketchy at best. Technology moves in ways it is almost impossible to nail down. Some things advance far beyond what people predicted and others never come close. For example we have super sophisticated cell phones but no flying cars. The future moves at its own pace for good or ill,” continued Piper. “Obviously we are well past the year 1984 and the things depicted in that novel have not come to pass. That doesn’t mean some of those eventualities won’t happen but it does mean that they won’t play out exactly as depicted. Luckily these web companies like Amazon and Google aren’t malicious governments like those in the novel so that will make us safe from true big brother type exploitation. That at least can set people’s mind at ease even if we are only able to read select books.”
Amazon also stated that the disappearance of Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and Nikos Kazantzakis' ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ were due to formatting issues.