Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is privacy really that important?

My response to privacy issues was practically recited word-for-word by EFF in their article, "On Locational Privacy, and How to Avoid Losing it Forever." My stance has always been, "I'm not doing anything wrong so why worry about it". Reading those words as a "common response" definitely caught my attention. So if I'm not doing anything wrong, why should I worry about digital privacy?

As I type these words I realize I do think about it. I am cautious about what I do and say online. I'm careful about the online company I keep as well as things I search for. I have learned that once online, it stays online. It is now common practice for hiring professionals to conduct personal online inquiries in which they form "personal" judgements. Whatever happened to "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?" Recently, I came to the realization that my email signature may even be offensive to some. So, I removed my liberal stamp, along with my "thought-provoking" peace statement. Now, I'm nothing more than a pist off Democrat trapped in a red state with no one to talk to about it but my mom! Such is life.

What I found refreshing about this week's reading was the blog by Aspen (what a great name) Baker. She did not reveal her secret, but I would love to know what it takes to keep an online community private. Whatever she has done, I think she hit the nail on the head. We should be able to trust our online communications to the people we choose to share them with.

To that, one will most definitely argue, "What about terrorists?" I am certainly one of those. This is where I am conflicted. I am also conflicted on the many other online activities that prove as evidence in criminal wrong-doing. Where do we draw the line? Can we draw a line? I am very much on the fence on this issue. EFF made very logical assessments. Do I want someone to know my every move? The answer to that is probably "no", but like I said, safety issues aside, I'm not doing anything wrong so why should I care? My only response to these issues is, "If you don't want to be found out, don't do it digitally."

Similar case in point, the TSA security measures have recently been a hot topic of debate. If you don't want to be groped, don't fly. I would walk through an airport naked if it meant I would get to my destination safely. Yes, it's a sad day when we have to come to these measures, but it is now a fact of life, and I'm pretty sure most folks would prefer preventative measures before another 911. Privilege and freedom come with a price. I say, if you're not doing anything wrong, quit bitching about small sacrifices and think about the one's who have given the ultimate sacrifice protecting your personal freedoms.


  1. I think the question then becomes 'who defines wrong and right?' I agree with the sentiment: if you're doing nothing wrong, there is nothing to hide. But what if you're not doing anything wrong, you're just breaking a few laws that are silly.

    And what if you found an FBI tracking device on your car for no reason? Like this guy did: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/10/fbi-tracking-device/

    The device got put on his car because of this post: http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ciiag/so_if_my_deodorant_could_be_a_bomb_why_are_you/c0sve5q

    The post is not threatening at all, its just logical, and.. well.. it just makes me wonder about the intelligence and integrity of the people who get to define whats right and wrong. I don't trust them because of stuff like this :/.

  2. Interesting point, and I think I tend to fall in the same category as I'm not doing anything wrong. But, it really comes down to the principle of the matter. Do we really want others to be able to have all the information on us and by a "flip of the switch" decide how to use it against us (like the case that is brought up with insurance companies)?

    Alex, I heard about that FBI tracking device! Pretty crazy and makes me wonder even more about my stance on this issue.

  3. Is privacy important? I think you may just ask yourself a question. "Do you want all people know your information if you think it's important?" And if something is really confidential, I think privacy is important. I think we are still trying to get a balance between privacy and transparency.


  4. Bah. I had something much longer written out. Good questions for a final post. It's a complex issue, but for me, it ultimately boils down to that Eckersley and Blumburg quote about moving through the world with dignity and integrity.