Movie vs. Reality. Can movie surveillance actually happen?

“Remember, remember the fifth of November.” A very famous quote from a movie where a totalitarian government rules futuristic London, and its people are watched at every second. V for Vendetta is a depiction of what could possibly happen if the government tried to monitor ordinary civilians’ every day life. The movie begins as a young women, Evey, is caught on the streets after curfew by policemen. These policemen mean to rape the young women and do her great harm. She is saved in the final moment by the anti-hero V.

Once Evey has been introduced to V, V takes Evey to see the fireworks that he has set up for the evening. Most certainly the fireworks were present on that night, but they were accompanied by the explosive demolition of the government’s courthouses. Evey goes home and tries to forget the whole incident. Little did she know that V would play a major role in her life. The next thing the government knows, V is on every single television in London calling for a rebellion on the next year’s fifth of November.

Over the course of a year, V begins his rebellion. As he builds his mutiny, he follows through on many personal vendettas against high authority figures in the government. On the fifth of November, the day V said the rebellion would take place, thousands of civilians show up to show their support of V. The movie ends, I apologize for the spoiler, with an explosion of the parliament building as a symbol of detest for the government’s totalitarian control.

All of this could have been easily avoided if the government didn’t keep a tight hold on the people. The biggest thing I think that the government did to the people was constantly lie to them. This country only had one news source and that news source came directly from the government. This means that the authorities controlled everything the people knew. When V demolished the courthouse building, the government told the people that the explosion with the fireworks was a planned demolition, with fireworks to send the building off with a bang.

The constant lies from the government was only the beginning. The government had patrol vehicles that would drive through neighborhoods and were able to record what was being said by the occupants in the houses. The fabricated news from the government was also a big issue that contributed greatly to the distrust the citizens had towards the government.

The non-stop surveillance of the government, in my opinion, did more harm than it did good. I understand that government wants to keep its people in line, and keep them safe. But there comes a point when there is just too much surveillance. There comes a point where the people can’t or won’t even speak their minds without the fear of being punished. There comes a point when the people will fight the power when they have had enough. with many revolutions in history, the fighting doesn’t start with the shot heard around the world. It gradually grows just like in V for Vendetta.

When the government started the habit of lying to the people to keep them in line, I think this is where things started to go downhill. With the constant surveillance on everyone, it was very difficult for anyone to do anything about the tyrannical government bearing down over them. The film continually showed the leader of this fictitious country as Big Brother and using all of his tools at his disposal to monitor his people. He used these devices for a very malicious cause to keep an eye over his people. He utilized these devices to rule his people with fear, and as we all know that never turns out well.

On both sides of this issue of surveillance, surveillance is helpful to both the people who are being surveyed and the people doing the surveillance. They both gain by having the safety of knowing that they’re trying to catch bad people meaning to do the country harm. On the other hand, the civilians’ privacy is all but gone. So the government has to choose either to hide their surveillance from the people, or openly admit to monitoring them at all times. I think more often than not, governments choose to hide their surveillance activity and eventually that activity gets exposed to the open public.

When we look at the reality of V for Vendetta, I think that the whole movie’s surveillance aspect is quite possible. We are already seeing forms of surveillance that we couldn’t have dreamed of 20 years ago, and I am afraid of what surveillance might be capable of becoming 20 years from now. The result from the surveillance of these people from London I think is very possible even today. The complete revolution because of the constant surveillance and lies that are always being told. If a government is treating its people unfairly the people will retaliate. In the words of V: “People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.” All in all, I think that the surveillance depicted in V for Vendetta was very harmful to both the government and the people, and could quite possibly happen in today’s world.

17 thoughts on “Movie vs. Reality. Can movie surveillance actually happen?

  1. This was a fun post to read! I agree with your points very much; there IS a certain point where surveillance goes too far and is no longer safe for the people or the government and “V for Vendetta” was a great representation of that. I, too, am afraid of where surveillance might stand 20 years from now at the rate we’re currently progressing. Good job 🙂

  2. I agree with everything that you said. Things wouldn’t have gone wrong if the government wasn’t too close and that surveillance can go too far where it will effect the government and the people. This was an excellent post! Nice Job!

  3. You did a really great job with this. It was really fun and easy to read. I also agree that there’s a point where surveillance can go too far and that point will probably be coming up sooner or later. The movie is a perfect example of what could happen in the future.

  4. That quote is definitely one for the books. I beleive Thomas Jefferson said something similar as well, and they are both right. I don’t work for the government, the government works to me. In a democratic society, the people are the ones who hire the government and vice versa. While I believe that the government knows how to protect us better then we do, there is a point that goes too far, and we as U.S. citizens need to make sure we stop it before it gets to that point.

  5. Somewhat Less Secret Spy Guy

    Interesting Article! I do feel that we need to be wary and cautious of potential new surveillance techniques, however, I also feel that we need not necessarily be afraid of them. I feel that we will be able to do things (eventually) of which we cannot in this moment conceive. I think this is something to look forward to.

  6. This is definitely an interesting article. I personally have not seen this movie and it was nice to have a some background information so I could understand the meaning of this blog post. I certainly agree that surveillance can easily go too far and citizens will not just idly stand by and let it happen.

  7. I have never seen this movie so it was nice to have a break down of what it was about so that I could better understand your point. I agree that it is a little unsettling to think of all the possible future forms of surveillance but I also agree with “secret spy guy” that this isn’t necessarily something we should be afraid of. I think we should continue to be cautious of our government’s forms of surveillance but we should try to trust that they are doing things in our best interest. I also agree that there is a point where can surveillance can go to far but in that instance I believe that it is the responsibility of the citizens to handle it in an appropriate manner.

  8. I haven’t seen V for Vendetta, but it sounds really interesting. I’m glad that you explained the storyline. I agree with pretty much every point that you made. I think that it is a little scary to think that our government could end up like this. It’s too much, and like you said, people wouldn’t have any privacy. It would be terrible to live in a society like this, but I don’t think that it is anything that we have to worry about soon. I think that people will keep the government from letting it get this far, but if it does, then people will find ways around it. The society in this movie seems similar to the one in George Orwell’s “1984.” I definitely agree that the government should be there to protect us, but that that is too far.

  9. I like your blog post and I think it makes some very good points. I haven’t seen the movie, but now I would really like to. It is interesting to me how movies depicting societies like these can incite a few varying reactions from people. I hope that the movie is realistic enough to scare people and make them uncomfortable. If people are comfortable, either because they don’t know the depth of the surveillance or they don’t even know it’s happening at all, it seems that their freedom will slip away from them a little at a time until it is all but gone.

  10. Great article Brad! It’s safe to assume that surveillance could be used by governments in a manner similar to that in the fictitious story V for Vendetta. I agree in full with what you said about surveillance being used to suppress the opinions of citizens. Surveillance can be used by state entities to make people feel like their trapped, and that any expression of dissidence is futile. I also disagree with this article in part; the idea that someone (in this case ‘V’) could undermine a surveillance system that complex and distribute masks promptly starting a revolution is unrealistic in my view.

  11. There are two aspects of this topic I want to talk about, the environment of paranoia and the tools used to create that environment. People being paranoid about the government taking them away over what they say, that has already happened in the U.S, three times by my count. You have the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scares 1 and 2. We don’t need surveillance to create that environment of paranoia, we just need national ignorance, e.g “We have witches”, “Communists are everywhere”, “Communists are in Hollywood”. You just need word of mouth to get arrested for things the government doesn’t want you to do. Keep in mind, the police in your community are people too, so they’re susceptible to paranoia as well. Granted, those instances didn’t have the government constantly watching people a la Big Brother, but you still had the same situation of people in fear of authority, though some used it to their advantage.

    Then you have the government spying on people. In regards to having the technology to spy on everyone at once, the government needs to get over one hurdle first. They need to do it covertly. The only reason the NSA got away with it for so many years was because no one knew what they were doing until they had a few whistle blowers. If you don’t do it covertly, then there’s no way you’ll be able to start it. If people can see what your doing, then they’re going to complain because they have physical proof that their privacy is being invaded. If you’re a politician and you have complaining people, you can bet your opinion polls are going to drop.

  12. Pretty interesting post to read! I’ve never seen “V for Vendetta” and probably should watch it even though you sorta spoiled the ending ;). I do agree with your point about surveillance going too far could be dangerous for civilians or the government. I do want to add that I’m not too worried about how surveillance will turn out in 20 or so years, I feel like it will be a little more advanced but nothing crazy. Again, great post!

  13. I completely agree with the last paragraph of this post, that we have no idea what surveillance will be capable of in the next 20 years, or even past then. I do not think this is something that we should exactly be afraid of, but I do agree with what a few people have already said about being cautious about the governments form of surveillance. This was a very interesting blog post, and the background information was very helpful. Great job!

  14. This was a really interesting read! I also think that when the government begins to usurp it’s power in a dishonest way that is not for the benefit of the people, but for the satisfaction of maintaining what you called a “tight hold on the people” things will go wrong. We have to trust our government to work for our best interest, otherwise we do as citizens have the right listed in the Declaration of Independence to “alter or abolish it”. It all goes back to the motive behind surveillance. Good job!

  15. I believe you are right we don’t know what surveillance could be like in 20 years from now. But there are really only two ways to look at it and they are to either be scared or not to be scared. The quote about how the government should be working for us i thought was really good because, the government should be trying to invaded are privacy they should be trying to make everywhere safer. I also think things wouldn’t have been as bad if the government would have told the truth and not gone after their citizens.

  16. I’ve only seen bits and parts of V for Vendetta, but I love the concept it portrays. It definitely makes sense that a more modern scenario could fit our reality in life just like the one in the movie. We all should be scared and so should the government. Mutiny can happen and just may possibly happen in the United States. You have to remember that history repeats itself for many revolutions in the past proves so. Honestly, the best thing we can do is to try to work together with the government and keep our nation together as one. This way, everyone can have liberty and justice.

  17. This was a really great post. My senior year in high school we were studying and writing about dystopian novels such as The Giver, Divergent, The Maze Runner after reading 1984. In most dystopian novels surveillance is a big theme, I didn’t get a chance to look at V for Vendetta, but from what I’ve heard its a great film. After reading your post I would have to agree that in our society today and of what it is to become within the next years is pretty frightful. We are beyond the concept of surveillance and although the Government may be doing this just to protect its citizens there is a certain line they should not cross. How far will the Gov. go as to keeping a watchful eye on its citizens, technology, internet, everything is becoming far more advanced than we ever thought and it will keep progressing, but is “too much of a good thing, too much of a bad thing?” I agree that if this where our surveillance system is heading than we will most definitely end up like the society portrayed in V for Vendetta.

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