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The Impact Of Surveillance Technology On Privacy

1206 words - 5 pages

The Impact of Surveillance Technology on Privacy

            David Brin in The Transparent Society warns us of the future of privacy that is on the horizon.  With millions of cameras recording our every public move, who should have control of the information: companies and governments or we the citizens?  If we take a look at Brin's vision of our future, his solution to the problem, the role of ICTs and the Kelley Cam at IU, we can come to a conclusion that our privacy is on the line and we as citizens must act soon in order to keep our country's foundational liberties.

               Brin's vision of our future included the choice between two lifestyles that were illustrated by two cities.  Both of the cities were based on who had the control of the cameras.  In the first city the cameras were controlled by the authorities.  In this city, Brin argues, we will loose our privacy, independence and liberty which are all valued by Americans.  Eventually, he says, it could eliminate all crime.  The new technology could allow police to solve 100% of crimes, but on the opposite side it will turn the nation into a prison.  In the second city, the cameras are controlled by anyone who wants to use them.  Brin argues that by giving everyone control of the cameras there will be a 'reciprocal transparency' in society.  Meaning that, the once powerless now have power and anyone who wants to collect information on the public must make the same information about their self publicly available.  Those that have been watched by someone will now have the ability to watch back.  Brin's vision of city life in the future may be an accurate presentation.  Since our need for information is growing there is no doubt that privacy is eroding.

               We are a society with a rising number of surveillance.  It seems that our country will continue in this route of having public cameras available as well as cameras that are for government and corporate use only.  There are already public cameras posted on the World Wide Web for anyone to view.  The fact that public surveillance is growing indicates that it will continue this way and more and more information will be available to the public.  The new technology is giving us access to information and is slowly eroding our privacy.  The control over these cameras will be determined by who is the most adapted and positioned.  This is why anyone who cares about their privacy ought to become avid users of ICT tools.  By being literate with new technology, one can protest against the collection of personal information.  Whether it is store surveillance, office surveillance or public surveillance, people need to know what they are dealing with.  The expected privacy you believe you should have, in this information age, may be different from the privacy that actually exists.

               Privacy and the information age seem incompatible.  Our nation is turning into a nation of information consumers.  As an...

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