Privacy, Personalities, Perspectives and Prudence
In this post, I will mention three ideas which are related to Privacy, and which are generally overlooked or ignored. These are my own philosophical statements based on what I learned from the Chapter and what I know from my own experience.
As human beings, we have unique personalities; each one of us has a different tolerance level and could potentially define things that constitute a breach of privacy in his own way. On one hand, some people are expressive, social and are willing to share with the world every personal moment. To this group of people, privacy is a tiny box with few restrictions. On the other hand, there are the introverts who don’t like to share anything with anyone. To that group, privacy is everything. It’s a huge box with tons of restrictions. The definition of Privacy has a different meaning, depending on your personality. This is a critical point in understanding Privacy which the author failed to mention.
The perspective on privacy and its consequences is another idea, which was also missed from the chapter. In my opinion, what comes out of a breach of privacy is more important than the violation of privacy itself. The book mentions dozens of examples where the results of a violation of privacy led to a good outcome. Although the Loyalty Card Program tracks your shopping habits, it provides customized discounts to members. I recently got a phone call which stated that there was a recall on a peanut butter brand which I have purchased in the past two weeks from a particular grocery store. The call instructed me not to consume this product and returned it to the store for a full refund. I was amazed at how this Loyalty program is used for our health and safety as well.
The personalized Google search algorithm which tracks your queries and suggests customized results is a good thing too. In such cases, where the outcome is good, privacy should not be a concern. The real issue is when our private information goes to the wrong hands, get used in a wrong way, causing us harm. Identity theft (Credit card theft, Medical ID theft, Tax ID theft), SMS tapping, Predators luring kids online are the most dangerous consequences resulting from breech of privacy. Again, the author did not give a single example related to such cases which cause serious harm.
In many cases, such as “Public records” or “Public surveillance” there is nothing we can do. It is the right of society and government to gain access to that part of our lives. Sometimes we give away part of our privacy in return for perks and discounts; that is acceptable for the most part. However, there are instances where we need to be prudent. We need to look ahead and try to avoid any harmful consequences. We need to take control of our privacy settings within Social Network websites. Ensuring what information gets viewed by who is crucial. In addition, we need to think before we make a humiliating or obscene comment on Twitter. Our future employer might be making his decision of hiring or not hiring us based on what we are about to post right now.
As human beings, we need to be attentive at all times. When it comes to privacy, we need to keep a close watch on how technology is affecting aspects of our privacy. We need to take control when we can. We also need to understand that there are many cases, when we can do nothing and we have to simply let go.
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