Ever Changing Privacy

During our class discussion and in the material for this week we focus on the ideas of privacy and surveillance and what the rise in technology means in relation to these ideas. Miller states that there are three areas to privacy, solitude, secrecy and anonymity. These ideas pertain to the thought that one should be able to find their authentic self, control the amount of information that is shared with groups and additionally the right to protect themselves from unwanted attention or scrutiny. These categories explain the ideals of the concept of privacy, which like the idea of community has an ever-changing definition that can be difficult to pin point. As we discussed in class due to the rise in technology that cause changing forums, and platforms in which we utilize we have begun to see a change within our society regarding privacy and the norms surrounding it.

As the PBS video on online privacy, “How Did We Get Here?” explained that, “participation in social media, some might argue, is not an option anymore”. I thought this statement was extremely interesting, as social media has become such a large part of my everyday life. I realized that while I choose to have an Instagram or a Facebook page my participation within these mediums seemed almost mandatory. As a millennial it seems that it is expected of you to participate in the social media frenzy that has taken over. I feel as though in my generation specifically we choose convenience over privacy. We choose the quick easy way of communication rather then what may be more secure. The video states that, “the values to which we subscribe to as a society is in question on the Internet”. I believe that this is true and an interesting point to think about, if we are always posting, blogging writing and sharing ideas how much can we truly want to remain private. While social media is a prominent area that blurs the lines of privacy there are many other online places that we believe to be more private then they may appear to be. The video “The Outrage Machine” shows the idea that the Internet can bring a great deal of unwanted attention to individuals. Various sources of medium can bring a large portion of attention to something that people may not want exposed. Due to the Danielle Keats Citron a Professor at the University of Maryland explains, “the Internet is not some other place with different norms, it is where we are, and in our space with our norms”. She explains that the Internet is embedded in our lives and we must begin to consider that it is not the Wild West and we must consider what happens online as a part of our daily life. In the video she explains that there must be somewhat of a change in order to protect against shaming and bullying. New technologies have introduced new mediums and through this we have continued to change the way that information flows throughout the web thus changing our online privacy and values.

In some of our previous reading we discuss the evolution of technology and how there is a transition of the idea of public space. Jonathan Franzen writes about the shift and mourns the loss of public space due to the lack of privacy. Franzen states, “most Americans take a reasonable interest in privacy issues but leave the serious custodial work to the experts” (Imperial Bedroom). He explains that the experts are not taking a serious claim in trying to make the Internet a secure place and while that may be true we have learned that the Internet has been advancing faster then anyone could imagine keeping up with. In regards to the idea that we now have less privacy then ever I wonder if this is a positive or negative notion. While on the one hand I know that my parents and grandparents are disheartened at the decline of privacy I have never known anything else. Growing up on social media you are constantly told that nothing is ever lost, or that everyone can see the images that you publish. But I believe that due to these ideas I have become more cautious and aware of my surroundings and how I portray myself.