When I was younger we would be taught ethical sayings such as “money is the route of all evil”, and you believe that this 3rd party object is what causes humans to act terribly. Now I understand that it is not money that is evil, the evil part is within human nature and the money is just an object which facilitates it; just like the internet has become a platform to facilitate negativity.
The “evil” I wish to focus on is a macro online privacy issue we are all at risk to it. I have mentioned the documentary “Terms and conditions may apply”; it explains how online privacy in the U.S has been violated and individuals have suffered because of it. Due to companies such as Google and Facebook having such monopolizing power over us, we have no choice but to accept whatever terms/conditions if we want to continue using their services.
I can guarantee not one individual reading this blog can tell me they have read every terms and conditions they have accepted. The documentary reveals how these companies not only allow themselves access to your digital footprint, but the ability to change these terms in the future to however they see fit. One day they might decide they want access to more and the use of this information is much scarier.
It was revealed that the U.S Government alone requested Twitter “users private data” 679 times in the first 6 months of 2012, and 12,271 times to Google in 2011 (Forbes 2012). As Glenn says: it is common for individuals to think they have nothing to hide (Greenwaid 2014); however there have been cases of innocent individuals being arrested for what they posted online. The video below states just a few cases where online posts have been interpreted dangerously and arrests have occurred.
The issue here is that the Government are being over precautious, and believe they are preventing crime; but after reading some of the cases you’d find these phrases said in real life would obviously not be taken seriously. What we feel would be acceptable in a private conversation is no longer acceptable in society; we must conform to the publics level of appropriate. It is sad that those who have bad intentions must create a world where we live in fear and precaution, we live in a world where we are always questioning our safety.
- Glenn Greenwald – Ted, Why Privacy Matters (2014), http://www.ted.com/talks/glenn_greenwald_why_privacy_matters
- Cullen Hoback, Terms and conditions may apply (2013), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzyafieRcWE
- Forbes, The U.S. Government asked Twitter to hand over user’s data 679 times this year (2012) http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2012/07/02/the-u-s-government-asked-twitter-to-hand-over-users-data-679-times-so-far-this-year/#4fa121841f7c
- Michelle Clark – Ted, Digital Footprints (2014), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlGyTp4Nd4M
- Mic, 8 Social media users arrested for what they said online (2013), https://mic.com/articles/54961/8-social-media-users-arrested-for-what-they-said-online#.6SaRNa7YD
- Peepso, 10 people who were arrested for social media posts (2015), https://www.peepso.com/people-arrested-social-media-posts/
- Powtoon, Tiffany To (2016), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66tGuyuLFgo&feature=em-upload_owner
- Piktochart, Tiffany To (2016)
7 thoughts on “It is better to be safe, than arrested.”
I found your blog post this week very interesting and felt it was extremely relevant in today’s society. You’ve said that the government are being over precautious and believe that they are preventing crime. Whilst I do partially agree that their access to our information is intrusive, I think there have been enough cases in the world now that mean that this intrusion is necessary. For example, the London riots were organised through social media platforms and if the Police had investigated these sites earlier then perhaps the riots could have been prevented, or at least dealt with better. Not only this, but in a previous blog post, I spoke about the organisation ‘Anonymous’, an online hacking group. Some of the work that they have done, especially in response to ISIS would not have been possible without the government’s control of our social media information. I’d love to know your thought on this.
Great post, I parts of the documentary and found it very interesting but it raised a few interesting matters. As you mention it is certain individuals who have led to the government being overly precautious but I believe these people have always existed, not just since the dawn of the internet. It is surely therefore better to have measures to monitor these people, to ensure they are not abusive or dangerous, in order to prevent them from causing real world devastation?
The issue with how certain statements are interpreted is a different matter, I often find sarcasm difficult to detect on the internet so I have no advice for the Police on how to deal with it. Your guide to posting on social media is simple but very clear and surprisingly useful, something I will attempt to follow when posting in the future.
Thanks for your comment, I completely agree with you that in some cases the Government do prevent incidents happening, have you heard of the amount of murderers posting their crimes on social media such as snapchat? Obviously the intentions are right, and sadly today’s media thrives on making us live in fear; but reading some of those stories really worried me, as younger individuals may not understand that what they say will be taken so literally.
I haven’t heard of murderers using social media to post crimes but it does not overly surprise me, however I have seen cases of other criminals posting their activities on snapchat. Almost sounds like the plot of an edgy BBC crime detective series!
I hope that perhaps the intention of government security bodies who posses this information is to make us feel safer, with them using information of wrong doing to the advantage of society. I do concede that the media perhaps take it too far, for example with the multiple phone hackings that journalists such as Piers Morgan have conducted. If tabloid newspapers are able to get hold of information such as that then surely they can obtain information from our social media platforms?
I had a discussion with another #UOSM2033 blogger Zachary Cohen about freedom of speech on the internet, and concluded that it’s discovering the line between abuse and freedom of speech that is the issue. Young children are taught to behave nicely to one another in the real world, do you think they should perhaps be told to convey this in to the online domain?