The terrifying extent of online government surveillance is laid bare in the Orwell game series. How complicit will you be when put in control?
In March this year, it was revealed that the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had obtained data collected from tens of thousands of Facebook accounts to build a system that could create individual profiles and sway voters with personalised political advertisements. It proved to be another worrying example of the way online information is used by a system we have no knowledge of; a reminder of people’s complete lack of awareness of how their personal information is used and manipulated by powerful institutions.
Orwell, an ongoing video game series, makes obvious what is hidden: that mass surveillance and data harvesting can be used in sinister ways that go further than just advertising profiles, to regulate and govern our behaviour in ways we don’t realise. It asks players to question systems of surveillance while giving an insight into our complicity within these structures.