Stories about big brother

BBC’s The Real Housewives of ISIS: Offensive or not?

BBC’s Revolting: The Real Housewives of ISIS skit has earned mixed reviews across social media, from praise to explosive anger. The video is a brilliant and hilarious piece of satire. It takes aim, not only at lowbrow reality shows like Big Brother but at the United Kingdom’s growing radicalisation problem, where, over the years, a large number of young Muslims have travelled through Turkey to Syria and Iraq to join the world’s most infamous terrorist group. Inexplicably, a fair percentage of these Muslims happen to be British women, ranging from girls in their late teens to early 20s, who leave ...

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Big Brother is watching

Nowadays recording devices, hidden cameras, satellites, and web giants like Facebook and Google collect all sorts of information on tech-users. But, historically, a state of surveillance has always existed. Long before CCTV cameras, bugging devices, and online data collection became the century’s norm, societies were dealing with purloined letters opened before delivery, spies from foreign lands, and good ol’ fashioned eavesdroppers behind closed doors. Historian David Kahn, writing on human privacy (or the lack thereof), notes how, “…centuries ago, people in England, France and German states fought for the right to send letters without their being opened by the ‘black chambers’ ...

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WhatsApp end-to-end encryption: Should our information really be hidden from the authorities?

Amidst the battle between Apple and FBI over accessing one’s private phone, WhatsApp decided to take a bold step and began encrypting all of its user messages. This encryption has recently been the topic of heated debates, especially after Apple’s refusal to comply with FBI’s demand of letting it access the phone of a terrorist involved in the San Bernardino shooting in December 2015. Tim Cook, after succumbing to the Bureau’s demands, issued a statement pointing out that hacking an individuals iPhone would require a software to that could potentially become, “A master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks.” [caption ...

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After 11pm, the IBA Boys Hostel turns into a prison

I am a resident of IBA Karachi’s boys hostel and I am at an age where I feel most of my memories are yet to be made. The old alumni of this hostel, many of whom have gone on to become CEOs of giant corporations such as Asad Umer, recount their personal anecdotes with remarkable gusto. They always say that the best reverie is hostel life. My personal experience of a hostel is that it is a place which grooms a person with the spirit of brotherhood and instils confidence through experiences of independence. However, the current administration of the IBA Boys Hostel, headed by a professor of IBA, Jami Moiz and Warden Mujahid ...

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The ‘Bara Bhai syndrome’ – taking one family at a time

Recently, an international journal of psychiatry published a report about a new disease – the ‘Bara Bhai Syndrome’. It was discovered during research workshops held in Pakistan and India. The hallmark of this disease has been described as an extreme preoccupation with the duty of providing care to the family, heightened sense of sacrifice and responsibility, feeling of guilt and premature ageing. While the disease has been found to be more rampant in South-East Asia, thousands of immigrants in developed countries have also tested positive for it. The disease typically affects the first-born male child. However, comparable symptoms can also be exhibited by the only ...

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Spotflux blocked in Pakistan, what’s next?

George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four describes a dystopic nightmare set in a totalitarian one-party state called Oceania. Its ruler – Big Brother – is omnipresent with telescreens monitoring the private and public lives of every individual. It controls the populace by ensuring that access to any independent opinion is denied. The official government slogan is, “Ignorance is strength.” It seems that the Government of Pakistan has decided to bring this slogan into practice. By expanding the scope of online content censorship, the state is not only limiting the free flow of information to Pakistani web surfers one URL at a time, it is also diluting the ...

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