If it wasn't for the Kinect...

#61blazeUP12Posted 5/23/2013 10:50:11 PM
Telescreens are most prominently featured in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

They are television and security camera-like devices used by the ruling Party in Oceania to keep its subjects under constant surveillance, thus eliminating the chance of secret conspiracies against Oceania. All members of the Inner Party (upper-class) and Outer Party (middle-class) have telescreens in their homes, but the proles (lower-class) are not typically monitored as they are unimportant to the Party. In Smith's conversation with the shop keeper Charrington, it is mentioned that "[telescreens] are too expensive" and proles cannot afford them (presumably, Party Members have to buy them, though this is not explicitly stated).

The screens are monitored by the Thought Police. However, it is never made explicitly clear how many screens are monitored at once, or what the precise criteria (if any) for monitoring a given screen are (although we do see that during an exercise program that Winston takes part in every morning, the instructor can see him, meaning telescreens are possibly a early variant of videophones). Telescreens do not have night vision technology, thus, they cannot surveil in the dark. This is compensated by the fact that telescreens are incredibly sensitive, and they are said to pick up a heartbeat. As Winston describes, "...even a back can be revealing..."
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