Technology invading personal privacy
Since the beginning of civilization, man has always pursued his agenda on innovations and has always been trying to make a lifestyle which would be the most comfortable for him. As time passed by we made giant leaps in terms of technological development and made the prediction of the French astrologer ‘Nostradamus’ come true, as he had claimed that the world one day would get entangled in a web. The web that he spoke of became the crux of the internet and this technology has made communication and handling of administrative duties much easier and faster than it was ever before.
However with each great thing comes a great liability or negativity. Our brain have been used well to make daily technological advancements but we have always overlooked the fact that more and more privacy is being invaded and today the situation is very fragile in terms of privacy issues. In the current scenario privacy is inversely proportional to newer technological advancements. The internet has been one of the biggest privacy invaders of the modern times and with the concept of social networking sites, an individual’s interests to the choice of friends are all displayed on these websites. Sites like MySpace and Orkut are key examples where people can upload all private information about them and anyone who views their personal profile can get a free hand in assimilating the persona of that person. These websites not only given an overview of the type of personality one holds but also gives a brief on information of family and friends which further invades privacy of more individuals. This a chain system in which each individual has other people on their list and in the end brings everyone on the same platform in terms of negligible privacy. These social networking sites have become so open that today job prospects are being dependent on them, and there is a new trend of human resource hiring on the lines of personal behavior displayed on to these sites. The following will give a brief idea of the way employers are scrutinizing the private information of prospective employees through the medium of social networking sites:
‘Recruiters are looking up applicants on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Xanga and Friendster, where college students often post risqué or teasing photographs and provocative comments about drinking, recreational drug use and sexual exploits’.
(Courtesy: ALAN FINDER, “For Some, Online Persona Undermines a Résumé”. June 11, 2006. Retrieved on December 4, 2008 from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/11/us/11recruit.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=employers%20checking%20social%20networking%20sites&st=cse)
The employers use the access of these social networking sites well and can peep through information which they would have never got in any circumstance from the prospective employee. This is one of the finest examples of how technology is invading privacy and is becoming responsible on major career decisions of an individual.
GPS devices which are revolutionary concept on its own are an exceptional electronic device that helps locate any place on earth with the help of satellite. The global positioning system was initially a device used by the armed forces, but now it’s been used by civilians, and it helps them track routes to destination with the fullest of efficiency. However this piece of technology is used as medium of invasion of privacy in lot of aspects. Cell phones for instance can be used as a tracking medium and people who doubt their loves ones of infidelity or other things they use the GPS tracking system to find exact details of their whereabouts. Parents too are using this technology and are invading their children’s space by tracking them though GPS and monitoring the places visited by their children. Traveling by a GPS embedded system of a company can cost an employee their jobs as stops for coffees or breaks get even monitored through the tracking device. These kinds of technological devices which were brought into use for a different reason are now becoming favorite tracking tools for suspecting parents and spouses and are even being used by companies to track their company automobiles.
Another hindrance of privacy is hacking of technology. People have started using the internet to monitor their homes with help of cameras and other applications especially it’s used by people having young kids at home. When such technology is hacked, the hacker can always look through somebody’s home and get private Intel on their homes. Because of the information being displayed on the web, there are people use this in a negative way and become stalkers for people whom they get obsessed online. The following will give an insight on the concept of cyber stalking:
‘34 percent of the women and 17 percent of the men said they had been stalked. The ability of stalkers to find and harass their victims has been aided by computers, E-mail and the Internet, which has spawned a new psychiatric term cyber stalking’.
(Courtesy: JANE E. BRODY, “Researchers Unravel the Motives of Stalkers”. August 25, 1998. Retrieved on December 4, 2008 from
The world today which we abode has become a very close knit one due to globalization and terrorism is one of the biggest threats that are faced by the modern world. To curb this situation countries are enforcing harsher rules and privacy invading laws as a solution to the prevention of terror attacks. There is not much difference between living in a maximum security prison and residing in a maximum security society. CCtvs have been endorsed on all the spots and positions which have maximum people entering and there is always a feeling of being watched. Technology today is so high that devices are made and used to tape into anyone’s private telephonic conversations or to hack into any individual’s personal stuff on their computers. Anyone’s privacy can be invaded by the government on the suspicion of being an anti-social or a terrorist. The risk of privacy invasion is so high that any personal call to a loved one with jokes on President or a bomb has the highest chance of becoming tapped. There are certain amounts of keywords that are being monitored and any usage of those keywords would increase the probability of the invasion of privacy by the government. The following statement by Dorothy Ehrlich who is the executive director of American Civil liberties Union sheds light on the fact about government invading privacy at any moment they prefer:
‘From government watch lists to secret wiretaps, Americans are unknowingly becoming targets of government surveillance. It is dangerous for a democracy that government power goes unchecked and it is imperative that our government be made accountable’
(Courtesy: American Civil Liberties Union, “Big Brother” is No Longer a Fiction, ACLU Warns in New Report”. 15th January 2003. Retrieved on December 4, 2008 from
The world has changed a lot from what it was two centuries ago, the need to be more flamboyant in terms of personal details is much larger than it was ever before. Today people are being judged on the lines of their websites or personal homepages, yet they are risking all the privacy they have just because they can join the wagon of being cyber social. Internet devices are rampantly used for scheduling of meetings to even reminders of particular dates, and everyone seems to have become complacent to the fact that keeping any information on the internet is an open invitation for people’s privacy.
It is the need for social closeness that has brought this acceptance of privacy being invaded from all quarters. The more downside of this internet usage is advertisers and spam mail operators search through these websites and after receiving personal info about them, the individual is bombarded with mails for products which might be according to their choices. In one way a person gets duped, as these people exactly know what the person wants in terms of products or services as their personal information is well analyzed and they are used prospective internet clients.
There is doubt about the fact that technology has invaded personal privacy of individuals to a very large extent but the fact of the matter is citizens know how they are being scrutinized and manipulated by people who are using their profiles for learning more about them, but still they have accepted the fact of their privacy being invaded. It can only be assumed now that with more and more technological advancement, the word privacy might not exist as every individual’s records and personal stuff would be relayed and snooped at any given time.
1) ALAN FINDER, “For Some, Online Persona Undermines a Résumé”. June 11, 2006. Retrieved on December 4, 2008 from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/11/us/11recruit.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=employers%20checking%20social%20networking%20sites&st=cse
2) JANE E. BRODY, “Researchers Unravel the Motives of Stalkers”. August 25, 1998. Retrieved on December 4, 2008 from http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C06E6DB163CF936A1575BC0A96E958260&scp=3&sq=stalkers+and+internet&st=nyt
3) American Civil Liberties Union, “Big Brother” is No Longer a Fiction, ACLU Warns in New Report”. 15th January 2003. Retrieved on December 4, 2008 from http://www.aclu.org/privacy/spying/15183prs20030115.html