Privacy and Surveillance

The concept of privacy is something which I would go as far to say that we all know the meaning of. However I feel that it is a concept which is rather confusing when it comes to its relation to being online. Many social networks now have their privacy default setting as public. Personally I would like my Facebook to remain private and as I am going into teaching this is something which is advised and I know that many members of my family didn’t realise that everything they were putting up on Facebook could be viewed by the public. I feel that people should be aware of their privacy settings and recognise the importance of it. As for online surveillance, this is something which I have never really given much thought to. When I am online I am researching, on social media or shopping but surveillance is a very important concept in society today. Honestly online surveillance doesn’t bother me. I believe it is there for a reason and from my point of view it is there to protect us as users of the Internet.

There are many advantages of online surveillance which are very important for the society we live in today. One of the advantages of online surveillance is that it can record crimes being committed online and mean that those involved in the crimes are caught and encounter the consequences. This ultimately results in those people who are innocent in their online activity or even victims of online crimes have more of a chance of being safer and more secure online. In fact the Guardian told us almost two weeks ago that the UK is moving in on Russian hackers who have been using webcam footage live from Britain and streaming the images online. This highlights that the Internet can be used for crimes against so many people but how surveillance can help to prevent this from happening. The article also points out just how important it is to protect yourself online and use strong passwords to protect yourself.

However a disadvantage of online surveillance for the public is where it will end. There are already situations where workplaces monitor what employees are using the Internet for while they are at work and the article about the Russian hackers demonstrate just how privacy can be invaded in an extreme way. Lyon (2001) states that surveillance is used for social control and this has raised questions as to whether this is appropriate. Although surveillance has been used to prevent terrorist attacks the general fear is that there is no clear line as to where the invasion of privacy starts. Personally the idea that someone could view me through my webcam sitting at my laptop doing work is a rather scary idea. I don’t have anything to hide from online surveillance but that certainly doesn’t mean that I would allow anyone access to me.

As a user of the Internet I am always very careful as to what information is available about me. I have nothing to hide but that doesn’t mean that I want everyone to see it as I feel that I would want to choose who I give access to private areas of my life. As for online surveillance overall I believe that it is a good thing, it is there to protect us and keep us safe and so long as we as individuals and online users are careful of the Internet then I think that online surveillance is a good thing.

References
Lyon, D. (2001). Surveillance Society: Monitoring Everyday Life (Issues in Society). Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Weaver, M. (2014). Internet: UK moves to shut down Russian hackers streaming live British webcam footage. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/20/webcam-hackers-watching-you-watchdog-warns

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2 comments

  1. stephanienicoleshields · December 1, 2014

    This is a great blog, I would also agree that it is very important to change your privacy settings when using social media sites and as teaching is a profession were you are working with children being a role model it is important that the public don’t come across something you have posted that wasn’t intended for them to see. I would also advise everyone not just teachers to change their privacy setting as this protects their information but also keeps them safe online.
    I like your comment made by the guardian, and I have never really thought about the benefits of surveillance and would agree that this is an excellent tool to prevent crimes and also to catch people who have committed a crime to face the consequences. This gives us a peace of mind that we can be safe online and can report any crime we see. I also take in the comment about privacy been hacked by surveillance and to which point is our information kept private when we want to protect our information online.
    Your final statement is very true, although we aren’t breaking the law or posting things we shouldn’t, why should people have access to our information, and being we have private accounts does not suggest that we have something to hide. I think it’s about taking the correct precautions of being safe online and keeping personal information and data private.

    Like

  2. eveh1993 · December 1, 2014

    I definitely agree with the idea that online surveillance is a good thing and there to protect us, I think that there would be much more issues for us all if it wasn’t in place at all.
    I think the story you mentioned about the Russian hackers is so worrying but hopefully by things like this being found and publicized so well it will make it more likely that actions will be put in place to minimize the chances of similar things happening again.
    I think we have similar thoughts on the benefits of online surveillance and I’m like you, I don’t really have anything to hide online but like to have the ability to make, and keep, things private!

    Like

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