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Thread: Privacy and Surveillance

  1. #1
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    Default Privacy and Surveillance

    How important is privacy to you? Do we have a right to privacy, or should we have no expectation of privacy in this day and age? How accessible should your personal information be to others? How do you feel about surveillance? Do the supposed benefits of it aiding in finding criminals and terrorists outweigh the consequences of it eroding our privacy?

    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg believes privacy isn't and shouldn't be a social norm. Considering that Facebook benefits from selling users' personal information, is he biased? When he and his wife shared the personal news that she had had three miscarriages, it helped degrade the stigma against discussing the topic, and this helped a lot of women share their stories.

    In the UK, there is one surveillance camera for every 11 citizens, allowing for unprecedented spying.
    A law has also just been passed allowing the government to "indiscriminately hack, intercept, record, and monitor the communications and internet use of the entire population." Is this a good or bad thing? What effect is this likely to have on the population?

    In 2013, whistle-blower Edward Snowden worked with journalists to reveal significant information about how citizen's information is collected and shared around the world. What do you think of governments having so much access to our information? Snowden is a hugely polarizing figure. As stated on Wikipedia, His disclosures have fueled debates over mass surveillance, government secrecy, and the balance between national security and information privacy. What do you think of what he did? Why do some people demonize him and other glorify him?

    There's a great documentary on privacy called Terms and Conditions May Apply about online privacy and how quickly we give it away. What do you think of it?

    We often hear the argument "I don't care if my information is accessible - I have nothing to hide." Well, what if someday you do have something to hide? Saying "I have nothing to hide" is a lot like saying "I have nothing to say."


    Where do you stand on the subject of privacy? Is it important? Do we have a right to it? How does surveillance affect our privacy? How does surveillance affect us?

    ~Psychic

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  2. #2
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    Where do you stand on the subject of privacy?

    I believe privacy is necessary in order to protect the basic human rights of free speech, thought, and association. I am also a firm believer in the claim that privacy is what maintains the individual's autonomy and unique character.


    Is it important?

    Extremely. George Orwell and other literary geniuses have, in my opinion, laid out perfectly what would happen to a society ripped of its privacy due to the flaws that lay within the human ego. Privacy also has its own pros to add to society, as well! This includes the concept of anonymity, which conceals and protects people's identities. This introduces a functional reality by which voices can be heard without the inane trepidation involved with risking one's reputation. This gives society new raw and unfiltered ideas without apology, which in my opinion is a gravely undervalued privilege in a free society.


    Do we have a right to it?

    Of course. Just as one gains the privilege to breathe when they are born, so to I believe they retain the right to privacy so long as it does not harm another individual. This ideological stance is what lead me to tread the waters of Libertarianism, but that's another topic for another time.


    How does surveillance affect our privacy?

    Firstly, as stated above, mass surveillance attacks the very concept of anonymity itself. Due to technological advancements, not even pseudonymity is safe with the additions of facial recognition technology. These are societal factors that human beings should always retain no matter the era, simply for the protection of seemingly trivial freedoms like being able to publicly speak on political matters within a public setting. This vastly underappreciated freedom used to be cause for assassination, afterall. How quickly people forget.


    How does surveillance affect us?

    Anna Funder, who is an author that wrote about her own experiences living under the Stasi, wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by Anna Funder
    It was inconceivable that a person would ask a stranger, a total stranger whether they lived near the border. It was also inconceivable that the stranger would ask you whether you were thinking of escaping. . . . Relations between people were conditioned by the fact that one or the other of you could be one of them. Everyone suspected everyone else and the mistrust this bred was the foundation of social existence.
    Given this was a time before mass surveillance was implemented (or was it?), imagine the drastic affects on the human psyche where a nigh-malevolent mechanical entity displays a near-omniscient level of awareness throughout society; one that not only infects public places, but our very homes.


    My conclusion:


    Quote Originally Posted by Frédéric Bastiat
    If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?
    We are all mortal, we all bleed the same. Wisdom and unity coupled (civilly) with individuality are what I feel humanity needs to adopt further in order to progress as a species. Mass surveillance, and the concept of eradicating privacy is a one way ticket to corrupt totalitarianism, guaranteed simply by the incapability of a human being correctly handling that kind of godlike power.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noheart View Post
    I believe privacy is necessary in order to protect the basic human rights of free speech, thought, and association. I am also a firm believer in the claim that privacy is what maintains the individual's autonomy and unique character.
    Agreed. Privacy guarantees autonomy and the power of choice. Without privacy, all of our actions can be controlled to the point that we're cogs in the machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noheart View Post
    Of course. Just as one gains the privilege to breathe when they are born, so to I believe they retain the right to privacy so long as it does not harm another individual.
    It is a right at birth and should be protected by the parents. Obviously, parents can't guarantee privacy for a child in the first few years of its life, but privacy should develop naturally. It's okay to keep secrets and share when you most feel comfortable, and that is a lesson children should learn early. They must know that this is an important right to protect their identity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noheart View Post
    We are all mortal, we all bleed the same. Wisdom and unity coupled (civilly) with individuality are what I feel humanity needs to adopt further in order to progress as a species. Mass surveillance, and the concept of eradicating privacy is a one way ticket to corrupt totalitarianism, guaranteed simply by the incapability of a human being correctly handling that kind of godlike power.
    Yes, agreed. Mass surveillance shows that governments can control and monitor you without your approval. This is disrespectful of your individuality and autonomy. Unfortunately, totalitarianism does not take this into consideration and will always know more than you do about your current situation.

    My suggestion: start with taking the location service off your phone and subscribe to a VPN. If you want to feel more comfortable, use TOR.
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    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg believes privacy isn't and shouldn't be a social norm
    When did he say this? Not that I don't believe you.

    To summarize my thoughts

    I think privacy is important, especially in the current state of things. but it's not that simple. The world is way more connected now then ever, and if that continues (which it will) the simple idea of privacy isn't going to work. Each individual person is capable of more and more distruction simply by themselves. That being said, what are the solutions? A constantly watching police state, of course not. Especially now considering the disastrous results of such places in modern history. But in the future, I honestly don't know, and I don't think anyone knows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
    We often hear the argument "I don't care if my information is accessible - I have nothing to hide." Well, what if someday you do have something to hide? Saying "I have nothing to hide" is a lot like saying "I have nothing to say."
    Those people who claim to have nothing to hide deserve to have a live streaming webcam in their bathroom.
    Jackpot!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadib View Post
    Those people who claim to have nothing to hide deserve to have a live streaming webcam in their bathroom.
    This looks like a slipper slope argument to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Incineroar View Post
    This looks like a slipper slope argument to me.
    It's reductio ad absurdum.
    Jackpot!

    I have a theory that the Pokémon world and the Mother world are one in the same. I won't go into spoilers for Mother 3, but think of Black and White's story of the dragon and the twins. Also, chimeras are kind of like Pokémon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raze Fan View Post
    When did he say this?
    Well, someone's gone and recorded just about every damn thing the man's ever said publicly.

    From what I've read off of these files, it can absolutely be said that Mark Zuckerberg is definitely not a fan of privacy, even in general. I mean, five days after Facebook's launch, Mr. Zuckerberg bragged about the intensive privacy options users could enjoy, and reassured the interviewer that users had a "very good control over who can see their information". A decade or so down the line, and he's now of the mind that control is the new privacy. Greed certainly does interesting things to people.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sadib View Post
    It's reductio ad absurdum.
    Reductio reminds me of a spell out of Harry Potter
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    This is why I don't use Facebook to display my personal information anymore. Now I just use it to link funny videos to people I know, or talk about hobbies with my friends. Any personal conversations I have on the phone or face to face.

    I'm more open on Twitter, but that's because it's a better platform to complain reach out to companies.

    I'm more concerned about the Investigatory Powers Bill that was passed last week in UK Parliament, essentially legitimizing the government asking and looking at our internet history. I'm fairly sure that they were already doing that, I just don't like t

    I don't have anything to hide that would get me in trouble, but there is embarrassing/personal stuff I would rather keep secret.
    Last edited by Frozocrone; 3rd December 2016 at 8:45 PM.
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  10. #10
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    In the UK, there is one surveillance camera for every 11 citizens, allowing for unprecedented spying.
    A law has also just been passed allowing the government to "indiscriminately hack, intercept, record, and monitor the communications and internet use of the entire population." Is this a good or bad thing? What effect is this likely to have on the population?
    Well, that's deeply frightening. Granted, it's pretty much the exact same here in the U.S. but it's not quite so concretely codified into law like this. I think the encroaching surveillance state is profoundly disturbing and it proves that 1984 isn't just an amusing work of fiction, it's probably the most relevant piece of literature to our time. These types of laws put us on the trajectory to a police state. It's a difficult subject to discuss partially because there's so much paranoia surrounding the subject. Most people have an understanding that the governments around the world are tightening their grip on information but become misled by types like Alex Jones and friends that take it to a ridiculous level. The effect that it will have on the population is to make them scared and obedient. I see evidence of this already. I've spoken with so many people who are now cautious about how they speak in regards to the government, whether that's hushing me on the phone or urging me not to post something that's too inflammatory on facebook. There are seriously people terrified that the government is going to come after them if they get high and discuss Plato's republic and the Anarchists cook book over the phone. Now of course it hasn't gotten to that point and probably won't for at least some time yet, but these blatant power grabs are already having that effect - making the populace cower. The victory of Trump brings this all closer to home since he's an open and candid enemy of the press. Dick Cheney recently commented that "We don't need you anymore" referring to reporters, because Trump uses twitter. It would be comical if it weren't for the fact that there is historical precedent for fascists, authoritarians, whichever label you want to use, bypassing the press for their own ends.

    The argument always comes back to whether the state has the power to sacrifice liberty for security, but there's absolutely no evidence that mass surveillance makes citizens more safe.

    https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q...nted+terrorism

    https://theintercept.com/2015/11/17/...snowden-leaks/

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20...not-much.shtml

    I don't believe their reasoning that this is about safety is even genuine, at least not safety for the citizens. These laws are about the safety of government from its citizens. On an unrelated note, I would be shocked if Obama actually pardoned Snowden.
    Last edited by Baba Yaga; 8th December 2016 at 2:03 AM.

  11. #11
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    Privacy is important but there also has to be some level of identification. Things like SWATing and other serious forms of online attacks need some kind of way to trace back to the responsible people.

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    So long as there is a warrant tagged to it, I'm fine. Among many things, spying on us without a warrant is just like saying "I don't trust you therefore I'll stalk you until you do something wrong."
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    I believe that the seizure of records, documents, and any monitoring should only be done if a warrant is obtained first. The constitution clears lays that fact out. As for privacy, I believe that those who trade liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security.

    Wiretapping and surveillance of the innocent doesn't help stop terrorism, but wastes resources, time, and money.

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