“Big Brother” Is Tracking

Shani Erdman

News Editor

Part of The Roar’s #CyberNation: The Next Generation Series

Our world is beginning to change, and boy is it changing fast.

Imagine:

You are a waitress at a café and on your way to work you accidentally scratch the side of your brand new car on a pole. Coming into work, you are in a bad mood and impulsively snap at your customers. The next day, your boss fires you due to the horrible review written about you on Yelp.

Or picture:

Your prospective college campus, equipped with your name, browses your Facebook profile.

Or envision:

Your potential employer decides not to hire you after finding that you subscribe to a magazine with known racial undertones.

These hypothetical situations may either strike you as an invasion of privacy, or as fair game and service to the public.

Today, in a world of credit cards, phone directories, driver’s licenses, social security numbers, and cable TVs, it is difficult to remain anonymous. Not to mention that someone somewhere (cough cough, your Internet provider) is capable of keeping tabs on the websites you frequent, as well as the contents of your email correspondences.

As I browse the Internet in seeming obscurity, I cannot help but notice how the online advertisements on the periphery of my desired web page appear to be specifically catered to my interests.

While in 2007 the US government proposed the “Spy Act,” which would force information collection programs to give notice before accessing user’s personal information for advertising purposes, this bill was never passed by the Senate. Consequently, websites like Facebook profit from selling ad space to interested companies. If you write a status about how stressed you are on Facebook, do not be surprised if you soon spot a deep tissue massage advertisement on your web page.

Besides the feeling that some sort overarching “Big Brother” whose presence we are oblivious to exists, nowadays individuals have an unprecedented capability to learn about the individuals around them. With a click of a button, and perhaps brief research, one can find an acquaintance they just met at an event, or can read up on teacher reviews of a soon to be professor. After two minutes of social media browsing, one is informed from the most trivial to the most intimate of their “friends’” lives.

Nowadays it seems that privacy in its fullest extent is a concept of the past.

But don’t fret.

It shouldn’t be disregarded that with the valediction of total privacy, individuals are presented with a rich library of knowledge at their feet, are able to find and connect with individuals all across the globe, and can keep tabs on current events, among a bounty of others advantages.

As all things in life, everything seems to be mixed bag. Accompanying the blessings of modernity, something’s gotta give, right?

 

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