Comparing Predictions to the Present
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Comparing Predictions to the Present
Comparison between events today and the novel.
Curated by Laura Bellini
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China urges tighter Internet security after series of data leaks

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The Chinese government is working with domestic Internet search engines like Baidu Inc and Sohu.com and financial institutions to prevent phishing attacks on unsuspecting Chinese web...

 

On December 30, 2011, it was discovered that there had been security leaks in the Chinese Internet security system. China is infamous and recognized for its non-apologetic Internet censorship system. It blocks websites that are popular overseas, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, or anything else that could be considered “not fit” for the general public. The reason behind this is the government believes websites like these can be a threat to China’s national security and stability. When the hackers broke in, the Chinese government feared the leaked content would become a dangerous information source for not only China’s own citizens, but a threat from outside countries as well. Usernames, passwords, and other pieces of personal information of programmers were exposed online by hackers. The problem was quickly shut down as soon a possible after the discovery of the problem. This is almost parallel to Fahrenheit 451. The government is monitoring what its people have access too in both instances. While the Chinese government is blocking websites, the firefighters in Fahrenheit 451 burned the book, because they contained “unfit” information. The hackers could also be seen as a sort of Montag. Like Montag kept his own private library of books, the hackers are performing their own way of breaking into the banned system of information. They are fighting the same censorship war. Finally, the article solidifies the belief that books are necessary. Books are a tangible form of the written word, are more permanent and less perishable than something that is posted online, to be edited and/or removed by anyone.

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NewsTimes.com - The Latest

NewsTimes.com - The Latest | Comparing Predictions to the Present | Scoop.it

Recently, Budapest, Hungary, has adopted a new constitution. This new documentation is not making the people happy. Protesters emerged with dissatisfied attitudes about the restrictions about this constitution. These restrictions not only undermine the checks and balances system of democracy, but also give increasing political power to the government. Different areas of limitations include in the media, economy, and religious practices. Having a government with such tight reigns does not allow people to have their voice in their so-called “democratic” government. Hungarian president Pal Schmitt said that this constitutional revision was a necessity, and that this should have happened right after the fall of communism. It is obvious that this government control is not stepping away from communism, but it is moving towards it once again. This is quite similar to the censorship and government control within the novel. The burning of books in Fahrenheit 451 was created so the government would have the knowledge, and the common people would not. Knowledge equals power. So the more knowledge the government could keep from the people, the more power the government could keep for themselves. At one point in the novel, when Montag is talking to Clarice, he tells her that the government burns books so no one will feel inferior to one another among the common people. Yet, by making this knowledge unattainable, they are inferior to the politicians and government workers they are living under. Although there is the illusion of equality, it is not present within Montag’s society, all because of the hoarding of books and knowledge, much like the hoarding of power by the Hungarian government.

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U.S. Asks Journals to Censor Articles on Bird Flu Virus

The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity has urged Science and Nature to keep details out of reports that they intend to publish on a highly transmissible form of the bird flu.

 

On December 20, 2011, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity has asked two different science journals to censor their findings of a new disease of the influenza variety. This disease, a string of bird flu, is and extremely deadly sickness. It was developed by scientists and tested on animals such as ferrets, which have been known to show similar reactions to humans on these sorts of tests. The disease could cause a pandemic of epic proportions, killing millions around the world. This is due partially to the fact how easily the virus is spread through the air. The National Science Advisory Board has asked the scientific journals to censor the information because of the fear that it will be used for terroristic purposes, although they themselves don’t consider it censorship, but being responsible, taking precautions, and protection. Although they consider it “protection”, filtering information to the people is censorship, simple as that. By keeping this information from the people, the scientific community is an extreme position of power. In this case, it might be for the greater good of the people. The intentions don’t seem malicious like the intentions of the government in Fahrenheit 451. However, censorship is censorship. There are definitely similarities within this real life event and the novel though. The amount of power these scientists have over the people of the world is massive, and if even one scientist gets a hint of greed or is overwhelmed by this power, things could take a turn for the worse. This is extremely similar to the abuse of power displayed by the government in the novel.

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