Listening On Your Satellite

In 1974, Mick Jagger may have predicted the technological breach of privacy when he wrote “knowing my habits way ahead of time, listen to me on your satellite” in his song “Fingerprint File”. However, his fear was the government intruding into the lives of everyday people. Today that fear has become everyday people delving into the lives of those who may have no idea their privacy is at stake.

In 1974, the life of an American citizen was largely kept private. Events would occur in that person’s life, just as they do today, however, they would largely be kept within a family or a select group of friends unless that individual chose otherwise. Today, a technological revolution, largely revolved around the internet, has changed the component of privacy to a large degree. Instant access to information across the world has dictated the spreading of events and news exponentially. Whereas in 1974, it may take days to read about something that happened 3,000 miles away, today it takes seconds.

Technology has also enabled people to be considerably more involved in the lives of others. Social media outlets, such as Facebook & Twitter allow humans to communicate instantaneously. As humans, we are innately curious in the lives of others. Couple this fact, with access to instantaneous information and our private lives are becoming increasingly accessible to people we may know or not know, around the world.

Political philosopher, John Rawls, developed the theory of “distributive justice” which explores the principle that justice should be equated with fairness. To attain this theory, implementing a “veil of ignorance” puts those involved in the situation at an equal standing with their peers, disregarding status, physical and financial attributes. By placing individuals at this “original position” a fair and equitable decision can be made. However, in this technological age, attaining an “original position” within a group has become increasingly difficult, if not impossible. The internet gives members of the group instant access to the information of their peers and can include pictures, financial information, community status and past viewpoints. Considering many decisions of today are made through technological means, the veil of ignorance can be lifted within seconds.