Safety vs Privacy

In the article by Preston C. Russett he talks about the way in which the digital world today invades on the privacy of the individual. He says that through the use of our profile and online identity advertisers gleam an understanding of who the individual is through email and other online activities of their targeted audience. It’s interesting that in his paper at the bottom of page 40 he writes,

If George Orwell were alive today, he would be wearing a vain smirk, waving around a box brimming with free copies of Nineteen Eighty-Four, a tragic twinkle in his eye. Orwell imagined a future society where an almighty ambiguous force conditioned its inhabitants to have no expectations of privacy. In the Nineteen Eighty-Four nightmare (Orwell, 1961), everyone could be watched everyone was watched, the individual was powerless, the individual did not exist.

I understand why he 1984would say this in today’s society where every smart phone has a GPS in it that can be traced, calls that can be listened to and IP addresses that can be followed but I think connecting our society to 1984 I believe is a bit of a stretch. For one thing I do not know if Russett knows that Orwell during the Spanish Civil war in the 1930’s was a passionate communist fighting Franco’s forces. When I think of Orwell’s 1984 novel I see a world where the individual is gone and persecuted even beaten down as the individual was in the Soviet Union along with freedom and free thought, speech and where new ideas are destroyed. Tough there are certain things about us that are not private as they were 30 years ago, I don’t think that our freedom is gone.

In addition he makes another argument in page 45 about privacy that it gets removed by the increased security and safety and that this is a quick and simple way to argue the removal of the individual’s privacy. Though with this I agree with him I personally would rather feel safe and know that terrorists don’t have a chance of killing more people. I am even willing to argue that my safety and my families safety comes before certain privacy. I very much like knowing that with the increased digital age their chances of taking down commercial airliners or killing masses of people gets reduce. to the full body scanners I also think that helps and don’t care how long it takes, I just feel better knowing they can’t cheat that.

I understand that to some people the thought of the government watching their every step is scary but and their privacy comes above all else, even their lives and the lives of their loved ones. I think it gets worse when freedoms get removed one by oneĀ  slowly like the freedom to speech. I don’t know about you but I personally like very much being alive not dead!

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