Can Invasion of Privacy Be Justified?

There may be rights to privacy that exist; however they do not protect everyone’s desire to keep what they wish in their lives private, everyone needs privacy in his or her life. This is something very hard to achieve if you are a big time celebrity. It is hard to keep your life private since such a big public wants to know exactly what they are doing. As a huge Beyoncé fan, she has a line in one of my favorite songs by her, “of course sometimes shit goes down when it’s a billion dollars on an elevator”; this refers to when Solange Knowles started beating Jay-Z in an elevator. Nobody really knows what instigated Solange to go at Jay-Z like that but it was probably due to a private matter and they didn’t want the whole world finding out about it. This lead to numerous rumors and probably struggles within their relationship; had that been a non-celebrity couple, the situation wouldn’t have made news and the situation could’ve been a private matter between the relationship. It may be one of the trade offs that comes with being famous, but even then celebrities also need their privacy.

Furthermore, I belong to a generation where a lot of people enjoy sharing most details of their social lives on social media. While most social media sites allow you to customize the privacy settings to your likings, it is very hard to keep things private on social media anymore. It is no longer a dilemma of worrying whether some hacker will be able to get through your privacy settings. Most universities and corporations are able to access information from your social media accounts to deduce whether you should be accepted. This is an issue because you should be able to keep your private life and job/university application separate, it should not have an influence on whether you’re hired or not. Yet, corporations and universities should have the right to know what kind of person they are accepting to their community, if they could bring a bad image or influence to the job/university, accepting them could be risky.

Chapter 5 of the book compares the differences between privacy and secrecy using “circles of intimacy”. It states “invasion of privacy occurs when your control over your own circles of intimacy is wrestled from you by people or institutions”; it explains how at times journalists invade privacy if the matter is newsworthy and it can be justified under specific circumstances. I would like to apply the same knowledge towards what universities/corporations do when going through people’s social media. It is hard to establish where to draw the line as to how invasive you can be, the book suggests the ethical growth of a journalist is to know when the rule applies and when there should be exceptions; I feel that this should be applied in many situations, including the university/corporation application process.

The Veil of Ignorance could also be applied, “consensus is not required, and maybe not even expected behind the veil”. Everyone is at an equal state since they are not allowed to invade other people’s privacy, this allows for fairness. People are able to go behind a “curtain” and dismiss anything they find out of the ordinary, which may be private to somebody else’s life. Hopefully this can be applied to the university/corporation application process. Nonetheless, it is hard to achieve that equal fairness for everyone, making it hard to control invasion of privacy. As mentioned above, Queen B isn’t just anyone so the Veil of Ignorance is hard to apply to her lifestyle.

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