Internet Freedom in a Surveillance World

Internet freedom is at risk, every day, tech companies gather our information left and right, they supposedly do so to make our experience using their services better, but what happens when the government orders these companies to give them full access to all of their user’s data? Privacy is violated.

“The most overarching and important is the Kantian idea of respect for the dignity of the person. When the self can be technologically invaded without permission and even often without the knowledge of the person, dignity and liberty are diminished.”  (Marx, 1998, 21).

Violating someone’s privacy is literally violating their human rights, dignity and liberty. They are no longer allowed to act, think, or learn in a private environment, everything is recorded. This creates a passive society which agrees with the government in fear of creating a conflict and being seen as a potential threat. The people fear their own government, the government they elected to represent them, is feared by the same voters who put them there, crazy isn’t it?

“The return to a similarly controversial situation in which intelligence services continue to obtain information through ethically questionable or illegal methods poses serious challenges for democracies. Yet the reaction of the public to the more recent scandals has been quite nuanced. While there has been clear outrage among civil society groups and certain segments of the public, the perceived terrorist threat seems to have also led to a surprisingly muted reaction. Polls indicate that members of the public in several countries support mass surveillance as an acceptable method of intelligence collection. Additional surveys even indicate acceptance of enhanced interrogation techniques.” (Martin, 2016, 19).

Governments perform this massive surveillance in the name of safety, however there must be a limit set to how much of our freedom and privacy we are willing to give up in the sake of this “national security”. This information gatherings are already morally questionable and potentially illegal. The government is not applying its own laws to itself, it  is allowed to act as a free entity that can do with its population as it pleases, and people seem to be fine with it, as long as they are not too affected by the goverment’s activities. If you play nice, you get treated nice, nice meaning the way the goverment likes it.

It is sad to see the indifference society has with all their information being available to corporations and governments, see that Aaron Swartz work may not have the impact he expected it to have, most people seem to just not mind being so exposed and watched these days. Being a public person is very common, however we all like some privacy, and this privacy is diminished more and more every day with the frequent privacy breaches. As a society we must fight for our privacy rights and not give way for more and more abuse from part of the government, as we know, information is power, and we do not want to give more power to an entity that is already trying to know everything about us and potentially control our lives.

Martin, S. (2016). Spying in a Transparent World: Ethics and Intelligence in the 21st Century. Geneva Centre for Security Policy. Obtained from: https://www.gcsp.ch/News-Knowledge/Publications/Spying-in-a-Transparent-World-Ethics-and-Intelligence-in-the-21st-Century

Marx, G. (1998). An Ethics for The New Surveillance.The Information Society, MIT. Obtained from: http://web.mit.edu/gtmarx/www/ncolin5.html

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