Sunday, April 19, 2009

Technology: A curse to privacy.

This topic come about from the long and ardous discussion I have with an American friend - yes, the angry one, hahaha!. As most other Americans, he relentlessly talked about Obama's adoption to Bush position on warrantless wiretapping and secrecy. But I would rather he write about it in his blog.(AA, are you listening?)

I agree with him that privacy is central to human dignity and liberty. We all need a retreat from public view. We need a secluded area in which to ventilate our hopes and fears, our loves and hates. In short, we all need an opportunity to "let our hair down", to be ourselves.

So, how free would any of us be or feel if our homes could be readily invaded, our letters readily inspected, and our conversations readily monitored?

In this modern times however, keeping our affairs private is constantly eroded. Electronic bugs have advanced to the point where they can overhear conversations anywhere and everywhere. They can spy on us in our board rooms, union halls, dining rooms, parlours, and even in our bedrooms.

It is therefore important that democratic society reconcile the protection of privacy with the needs of law enforcement. But, like other fundamental freedoms, privacy cannot be absolute and unlimited. Some limitations under some circumstances are necessary and inevitable.

Police theorized that eavesdropping is necessary to spy on terrorist. So the difficult question is how much should be permitted? Under what kind of safeguards? To serve what law enforcement purposes?

What measures, then, would be appropriate to deal with such potentially pervasive invasions of privacy? How can we most reasonably balance the competing claims of law enforcement and personal privacy in an age of such technological sophistication?

Oh, the computer! Yes, computers are now being employed to record information relating to millions of people on a wide variety of matters - health, employment, intelligence, aptitudes, credit, reliability emotional disposition, personal habits etc. Initially collected by governments, schools, employers, credit agencies, insurance companies, etc., much of this material is now co-ordinated and stored in the powerful memory banks of modern computers.

In less than a second, these machines can make co-ordinated information available and usable. Access to the computer's memory bank can give access to substantial information on countless numbers of people.

Now, how can we evaluate the competing claims of information collection and personal privacy? How can we prevent the information from being used for any purpose but that for which it was originally collected?

On what basis and in what ways can we limit access to the computer's memory banks?

No wonder that life is simpler then...


Tracey said...

Scary isn't it! We are cloned on our credit cards, our identity is stolen for all sorts of reasons, we are not safe or private any more.

I will hopefully be able to post til Wed.
Love Tracey x x x

Odette said...

a lot of info is open for anyone and also they can tamper with it. yes, it's too scary.
i am glad you can still post till weds. i sure am gonna miss you!

Anonymous said...

advance in technology brought us a lot of good but also has many downsides. win some, lose some. and we constantly struggle. its the way of the world...

joy oh

Sid Brechin said...

The privacy issue in various places is taking on even more frightening aspects. In Iceland right now everyones medical and genelogical records are being used for genetic research. Everyone is assumed to have given consent for this unless they go through a fairly complicated process to opt out.

In my own Country in the province of Newfoundland since it has been isolated for many generations it is ideal for gene research and has had a couple of cases of exploitation. Iceland having been basically isolated for a thousand years and also having had a couple of "culling" events in it's history. The black death, a smallpox epidemic and a major volcanic eruption is the worlds easiest place to do genetic research.

A tremendous amount of information is stored in our genes. What happens when that information can be sold to ( or stolen by ) insurance companies potential employers and Big Brother. The movie Gattaca hinted at some of the possible outcomes as the backdrop society of the film.

For those who have not seen it the stars are Ethan Hawke and his real life Wife Uma Thurman. It is well worth the watching. While genetic research my hold the key to curing some terrible illness it may also be ultimate invasion of privacy. In some ways more frightening than then mind reading would be.


Scary but real, very real. What is worse is that they are doing it to people who do nothing wrong and who want to live a average life. Many different people can use a P.C in a home, how the heck can they differentiate from a teenager cruising the internet and an adult? Imagine a parent having their butt arrested for their teens indiscretions on the internet? Scary.
Great post :)

Odette said...

very true. news travel faster now and you learn right away what occured to whom across the globe. but the same feat has also its downside esp. when a person don't want it being boradcast in the worldwide web.

Odette said...

that futuristic film isn't just a creation of the mind, but may happen in the near future. human being continue to thirst for knowledge in preserving the human species.

scary though when you know that they can clone another Hitler or Bush or even Dr. Lecter.

Odette said...

i know you have personal experience on being spied on and stalked and it's very disturbing and out right annoying - especially when the purpose is merely to inflict fear.
maybe, the same technology use to invade your privacy can work for you.

Sid Brechin said...

Hitler and Bush could well happen but Dr Lecter was not a person but the product of a writer's horrific imagination and the excellent acting of Anthony Hopkins. Come to think of it with the exception of the acting that may describe Bush too.

Angry American said...

Oh man, don't even get me started. Obama was !!SUPPOSED!! to bring change. So far, he's just following in Bush's foot steps but zig zaggining in between them and calling it change.

One way he's doing this is tippy toeing around the issue of big brother spying without warrents. He has to be very careful what he says and does. The FBI and DHS (Department of Homeland Security) are the muscle behind his branch of office and under his direct control.

If he doesn't have their support, he's not going to have too many people backing his ass up. This could spell disaster for him when the sh*t hits the fan and very pissed off citizens rise up against the Feds in general.

If I'm unlucky enough to still be here, I'll be arm and arm with fellow protesters and the state malitia. Stick that up your ass and light it Obama :D

Jenni @ nest to keep said...

Hi Odette~
Sometimes I wish I lived back in the 1940's, before all of this technology! It can be useful, but it can also be dangerous! I think it takes wisdom to know the difference! But wait~ what would we do without computers and blogging? So...maybe I'll just stay right here in 2009 after all! Still...I know what you mean. It can be scary if you think about it!


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