Blog #11- Privacy vs. Public Safety

Privacy vs. Public Safety

What if we were OK with being watched every second of every day? If we, as a society, had accepted that the government could see our every move and reprimand us for mistakes we have made? It could start small, maybe punishing teenagers for sneaking out of the house at night. Then turn into a larger part of our lives, stopping thieves before a potential robbery or terrorists from entering the United States. Does the ability to stop mass destruction, such as a terrorist attack, outweigh the benefits of individual privacy? We are at a crucial tipping point where we can decide which is more important for our futures, but to me it looks like we have already made the decision: privacy of one does not outweigh the benefits of the mass. I believe we will continue to absorb these advancements, such as facial recognition, as new and exciting ways to use technology, until it becomes too late and our new way of life is something similar to Minority Report or Person of Interest.
In a general blanket statement, people do not understand the implications of technology advancements. Right now, I believe people see these advancements as convenience when used for personal use, but as a breach into their privacy when used through the government. They are unaware how these advancements will impact our society in 20 years because they are only looking at the short term “positive” benefits from them. By utilizing convenience now, they are setting up the government for continual use in the future. We will be watched 24/7 by technology. This article explains 9 ways that the government can spy on you now…a smart tv?! Even couch potatoes are not safe!
But what do you have to hide anyway? Is it so bad that the government watches you? I have issue if they “surveillance” intimate situations but what about the broader everyday life? If it is just technology and not a person watching over me, is it really that bad? I would be curious if people would react differently if they believed someone was watching them continuously. Would they be less likely to commit crimes because the fear of being watched?
I believe the ability to watch over all of us is already available to the government and other entities, but what are they doing with that information? I would hope the government would not sell it, but other parties could. Our identities are worth much more than the cost of advertisements. I believe our digital fingerprints could be used against us in the future if we are not aware of the line between privacy and public safety. With continuous access to every individual, through smart devices to social media, these higher entities know us better than we know ourselves. They know our habits, routines and schedules, where we live and what roads we take to work. Personally, I don’t have an issue with them knowing all this information, my life isn’t too exciting. Unfortunately, it will not stop there. These entities will continue to make advancements and the point will come where convenience is not a good enough excuse to give them all this information. At some point, we will have to protect ourselves.


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