Privacy and Surveillance

I believe that privacy is necessary to autonomy and the protection of human life and dignity hence some aspects of my life should remain private (“The Right to Privacy and Why It Matters”). Privacy is the foundation in upon which most of the human rights are used upon and should therefore be respected. Maintaining some level of privacy on one’s life enable them be protected from a number of things that may course physical or mental harm or even both. It is through privacy that we are able to create boundaries and protect ourselves from interference that we do not what in our lives while at the same time deciding how we want to interact with the world. These reasons and more make me unwilling to share my personal information with strangers with the possibility of them sharing that information with others as that takes away my privacy and security.

In the instances where the privacy of an individual is not guaranteed for ne reason or the other, individuals, corporations or even the government may use this information to target an individual negatively. Chokshi f in an article in the New York Times cites an example indicates that advancement is surveillance can allow owners to identify unusual behavior, recognize actions like hugging or kissing or easily seek out embarrassing footage estimate a person’s age or even their disposition which can be used to target the individual negatively. He further cites an instance when a politician requested footage of his enemies kissing in public, a life insurance company offering rates depending on how fast someone rans when exercising and a sheriff receiving a list from surveillance of people who appeared to be intoxicated in public. All this were able to happen through surveillance of individuals which results to negative impacts to their lives overall because their privacy was not guarantee

Privacy is an undertaking that begins at an individual level, although individuals contribute to their own surveillance hence compromising one’s privacy. Mobile phones for example have become a platform for both media consumption and consumption trough media in which we have subjected ourselves to tracking and sharing of data. Mobile phone camera can be interpreted as a potential helper in surveillance and monitoring, by making and sharing of footage (Timan, and Albrechtslund). The sharing of such content and also making it available to other people implies an act of subjection to potential surveillance, as a person volunteers not only to watch but also to be watched. One can also contribute to their own surveillance through their devices like computers by visiting certain types of unsafe websites or communicating via email with suspicious individuals or group. Computer can be surveillance targets because of the kind of data stored in then so there is the need of one to ensure their privacy hen using computers.

Considerations should be made on who one talks to especially on the internet. There are some group of individuals, groups and website that are a threat to the privacy of an individual. Speaking to them over the internet may be an opening they need to monitor you or obtain data from one’s devices that may be used for the wrong purpose to the harm of the owner (Christian, p300). Public interaction is also important because as Stuart reports there are areas in public that have been fitted with cameras equipped with biometric recognition technology that are used to ap facial features. These cameras then ran this information through database supplied by metropolitan police service to check for matches. The same information may be used by other people for their personal interest. More caution should also be taken on individuals one interacts with as it may be a lop hole to unauthorized surveillance. Thomason (2017) sites an incidence in North Caroline University where police interacted with students pretending to be a mechanic and sympathizing with their plight only to get information from them by recording conversations’

Being under surveillance makes me suspicious about my every action and move. The thought that someone might be watching me in my daily activities gives me an uncomfortable feeling where I can not be comfortable to engage freely with my pears or do my daily activities with the confidence, I would have knowing that I am not being watched. This is not because my actions may be wrong or anything but the uncertainty f what the person is looking for and at what point would my actions lead to my own harm or be used against me or a tool to be targeted. I believe that every individual is entitled to some privacy because there are personal things that should not be exposed to the public for several reasons and being under surveillance takes away all these. California State University is a place that offers students the freedom to interact freely creating a conducive learning environment. Nonetheless, I am of the feeling that there is some ow level of surveillance that goes on to ensure that things in the institution run smoothly and also to curb some instances of insecurity in the campus.

In today’s technological world, the thought of a safe space free from surveillance is almost impossible. Surveillance technologies are increasingly being used both in private and public areas. CCTV cameras have become a norm in almost all buildings, walkways roads and paces of public and private gathering (Bartczak, p5). Some people have installed it even in their house which makes evading surveillance almost impossible. In the event where we get to be in a room without CCTV our own personal devices including mobile phones, computers, tablets among others are a loophole for surveillance. One may argue that going to a remote area with no internet connectivity is the key to evade surveillance but satellite technology is still able to capture one with their cameras. In this lite I believe there is no place that one can feel safe and free from surveillance.

The alternatives for pervasive surveillance especially by the government through the police and other intelligence agents may include putting phone metadata collection under purview of one telecommunication company. This will enable agents that require to obtain such data and hence the communication companies would return only the results of those specific searches other than collecting data on customers who are unrelated to an investigation. Another option would be different federal agencies to hold data but under the control of a third entity that is neither a federal agency nor telecommunication company (Toor). I another extreme solution data collection may be completely abolished which in reality is an almost impossible task to undertake. Surveillance further threatens the lives and security of individuals and groups through the threats of the autonomous systems weapons. Surveillance can be used to target a place or a person then weapons can be independently selected to attack the targets. This is a great threat to people and even nations at large.

I hold the believe that I should own rights to my images, photographs, voice and videos. Every individual has a personality right which is the right to an individual to use one’s identity which includes name, image, likeness and other unequivocal identities (Duane and Schultz, p 196) . It therefore should be considered property right and hence the right for one to own them. In that case therefore, it ought to be wrong for an individual or government to use my image, voice and recording without first getting my approval. These rights I believe should service even after the death of an individual to varying degrees depending on the jurisdiction. Doing contrary to these should be likened to violating the privacy f an individual and one should be held accountable by law.

 

 

 

In this era of surveillance, being expressive starts with understanding more about surveillance, how it works its advantages and disadvantages so that one may be vocal with facts. There is also need for one to understand their rights and ho far their privacy extends so that they can be vocal bout actions that infringe on their privacy. I may take advert age of social media and the internet to speak openly about surveillance and educate the mass on the different ways that they may be surveilled and what one may do to avoid it. My approach will be a rather educational one to ensure that the public are woke about these issues and are aware on the dangers of invasion of privacy.

 

Conclusion

The discussion above reveals how surveillance has increased so much in the world that our privacy is not guaranteed. Improvements in technology coupled by finding ingenious ways of dealing with threats ins society have seen increased reduction of privacy through surveillance. This has both its advantages and disadvantages. Among its disadvantages is the aspect that one may use such information to target an individual hence threatening one’s life and security. We also have a part o play in ensuring our privacy in the day to day interactions with our devices. However, there is need to come up with ways to curb surveillance for the sake of personal privacy.

 

 

 

Reference

“The Right To Privacy And Why It Matters – Eachother”. Eachother, 2015, https://eachother.org.uk/the-right-to-privacy-and-why-it-matters/.

Bartczak, J. “Ethical issues of CCTV monitoring and surveillance in road transport ITS applications.” Archives of Transport System Telematics 5 (2012): 3-6.

Chokshi, Niraj. “How Surveillance Cameras Could Be Weaponized With A.I.”. Nytimes.Com, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/us/aclu-surveillance-artificial-intelligence.html.

Fuchs, Christian. “Web 2.0, prosumption, and surveillance.” Surveillance & Society 8.3 (2011): 288-309.

Lyon, David. “Surveillance technology and surveillance society.” Modernity and technology (2003): 161-183.

Schultz, Duane P., and Sydney Ellen Schultz. Theories of personality. Cengage Learning, 2016.

Stuart, Freddie. “How Facial Recognition Technology Is Bringing Surveillance Capitalism To Our Streets”. Opendemocracy, 2019, https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/how-facial-recognition-surveillance-capitalism-streets/.

Thomason, Andy. “When Student Activists Discovered Their New Friend Was An Undercover Cop”. The Chronicle Of Higher Education, 2017, https://www.chronicle.com/article/When-Student-Activists/241707.

Timan, Tjerk, and Anders Albrechtslund. “Surveillance, self and smartphones: Tracking practices in the nightlife.” Science and engineering ethics 24.3 (2018): 853-870.

Toor, Amar. “Obama Assessing Four Alternatives To NSA Phone Data Collection: WSJ”. The Verge, 2014, https://www.theverge.com/2014/2/26/5448814/obama-assessing-four-alternatives-to-nsa-phone-data-collection-wsj.

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