I had read about this psychological phenomenon, but this certainly illustrates it well.
It’s no surprise that people are more honest when they know that they’re being watched. But what about just reminding them of the idea of being watched, without them actually being watched? For years, people at the University of Newcastle’s Division of Psychology have an honor (or trust) system where they are requested to deposit payment for coffee in an "honesty box." There was a note saying how much they should pay. In 2006, Melissa Bateson and colleagues decided to do a little experiment: they placed an image above the note. They alternate between two pictures: one week they would use a picture of eyes and the other week, flowers. After 10 weeks, they plotted the amount of money received versus drinks consumed and found that people paid nearly three times as much for their drinks when eyes were displayed! [More]Now consider how ubiquitous closed-circuit TV's are. H.G. Wells [Correction: George Orwell was the author. Actually, Jan and I argued about this. I was about to put Orson Welles! (Thanks, Brian) Hey, I was close...] was eerily prescient.
Nineteen Eighty-Four introduces the intercontinental nation of Oceania, one of the world's three superstates, which is run by an oppressive totalitarian government. The setting of the story is specifically the island of Great Britain, which has been renamed Airstrip One—a place similar to early twentieth century England. Throughout urban areas are large two-way telescreens as well as posters of "Big Brother", the supposed leader of Oceania (although the man himself is never seen in the flesh), with captions reading "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU". [More]Now add in the power of Google Maps Street View.
Finally, now do you understand why some people will spend enormous amounts of money and commute for hours just to live out where we do?