After watching the Ted Talks in class last week about governments mining data through cell phone records, as well as the revelations of Edward Snowden and the NSA surveillance scandal, I began thinking about the nature of privacy in the 21st century. Does it exist? And if so, to what extent? Has privacy become a privilege and no longer a right?
Nowadays we love the illusion of privacy. We can set our profiles to private so just a selected few can see what we post. But even still, the site that we are posting on sees what you post, even if you don’t consciously allow them to.
So much of our lives are intertwined with technology. Even as I write this, I am looking at a text message out of the corner of my eye. We live our lives both in a physical way, the things we do and say, and on-screen, our presence within the sphere of any technology. Everything we do in the latter category leaves a trail.
But just because our way of life has shifted to encompass this new mode of technology- social media, smart phones, email, downloads, uploads, what-have-you- does that mean some other party has a right to follow that trail, even if that party is the government?
It struck me as fascinating that Mikko Hypponen brought up the point of “why should I care if I have nothing to hide?” The answer is simple- because you have the right to privacy. Privacy is not some antiquated ideal; it might be at its most relevant peak in history by virtue of our online presence.
Once we realized cybersecurity had been compromised, the top companies took it upon themselves to find a solution. Apple and Google, much to the chagrin of the government, have been working on an encrypted phone that would protect the data of its user.
“…the effort would accelerate, and they would develop algorithms that would take the government months or years to crack, and then insist that consumers themselves create their own encryption keys so that the companies would be unable to crack the code or provide it to the government.”
This to me shows that privacy is not only an ideal, but something that we should be striving towards.