Is the advancement of technology doing more harm than good?
Cyber hackers, cyber-terrorist, thieves, these are all words used to describe the people that have used their internet maneuvering abilities to compromise so-called “Trusted” sites. Patents rights, classified information, and personal informations are all words used to describe the information that is being hacked. Privacy is the word be targeted in this technological age. Not only is it being targeted but it is being demolished by social media sites, company’s, computer hackers, and, of course, the government.
I wish I could say this wasn’t true about the United States but in fact, everyone who deems themselves human has secrets. The problem that arises with technology is the question of; if those secrets are allowed to stay hidden any longer. In Peter Singers “Visible Man: Ethics in a World without Secrets”, Elizabeth Purdy’s “Online Privacy”, and Chuck Klosterman’s “Electric Funeral” valid steps lead to the analysis that a world of truth is better than a world of lies.
Purdy’s, “Online Privacy”, gives two examples to the use of surveillance, the first is by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the second is the Verizon metadata program. In 2013, allegations surfaced that the NSA was regularly violating online privacy rights through implementation of the PRISM Program. These savoy techs used an “immersion” tool to collect millions of US citizens data through social media, e-mails and voice-over-IP sessions. This is a clear invasion of privacy but was it a necessary one in order to protect Americans. Cyber trolls such as Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Kim Dotcom, and Perez Hilton would agree that the risk of losing privacy far out weights the lives lost because of it… As long as that mind set applies to all beings including business’s and the government. Everyone should become more transparent and this idea is seen in the example of the Verizon metadata program. Purdy goes on to state that the outrage of the program uncovered by whistleblower Edward Snowden “resulted in a number of lawsuits being filed, and new bills were introduced at the state level to combat what was viewed as a violation of online privacy rights.” So as we can see, If Snowden never enlightened the public about the immoral efforts of Verizon’s marketing, justice would have never been served. In correlation with this thought, Singer appropriately backs the idea of a more transparent government.
Singer’s essay starts with a opening passage that refers to the construction of a “Panopticon” which is the driving point of his essay. A Panopticon is a circular building with cells along the outer walls and, at the center, a watch tower so that all rooms can be viewed by any person at anytime. It was a type of 1787, 24hr surveillance system that gave prisons, schools, mental asylums and any place where people needed to be supervised a way to be such. This idea was formed by philosopher Jeremy Bentham because he believed that a person would be more inclined to act morally if they were subjected to a punishment for an immoral act. The controversy here moves to privacy. To what extent is privacy an inalienable right. Perhaps the inspection principle, universally applied could also be the perfection of democracy. Singer calls sites such as Wiki leaks, Brussel leaks, RU leaks etc, sites to which “allow us to know what our governments are really doing, that keeps tabs on corporate abuses, and that protects our individual freedoms”. What would the world be if governments weren’t subject to the scrutiny of other governments. The pure thought of someone else watching causes people to act in a different behavior and increasing technology will only help. Singer uses the Rodney king beating as a reinforcement to his claim by stating that it was “one of the first victories for citizen surveillance.” If it wasn’t for the bystanders recording on there devices who knows if police violence would have became a national issue. Singer uses this incident to attack an even bigger issue with the global leaders; an abuse of power. Julian Assange, creator of Wiki Leaks is a prime example of someone seen as a hero in this scenario. He states that the “disclosure of thousands of diplomatic cables by Wiki leaks helped encourage the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions.” and the protest movements that spread to neighboring countries. In this paragraph he fights several quotes against Wiki leaks made my Hilary Clinton by calling them “misleading, and woefully ignorant.” It is clear that Singers motives are aggressively behind a more transparent world, the same as Assange, in contrast to Klosterman’s readings which have a rathe unbiased view.
Klosterman in “Electric Funeral” uses the life story of Perez Hilton, a united states based blogger, Kim Dotcom, (in my own words) a cyber music and movie pirate, and the creator of a global internet based information leak website, (Wiki Leaks) Julian Assange, to demonstrate the modern crisis on the development of technology. Klosterman portrays an unbiased view on all three examples used however it is easy for the reader to form a hypothesis that points towards the direction of a world with less boundaries. He starts off by stating everything wrong with Perez hilton and how his methods of obtain information and exposing celebrities were immoral and unjust, which caused a lot of loathers and hate for him. Nevertheless, he goes on to applaud Hilton for the process to which he became successful by stating that he setup “A brilliant business model” however quickly using an analogy that changes the readers perspective on his opinion:
“It was like he opened a buffet restaurant that served wet garbage in a community where the population of garbage gluttons was much higher than anyone had ever realized”
He uses the term buffet to refer to the unlimited amount of information that can be found on the internet about almost anyone, and the term garbage to refer to a common negative connotation that says-everyone has it, but nobody wants it-because its garbage. He goes on to write the real reason why people hated Hilton;“It wasn’t just the content, and it wasn’t just the success. It was the creeping fear that this type of content would become the only way any further person could be successful.” This is Klosterman’s main point that he uses for Kim Dotcom and Julian Assange. Dotcom was arrested for creating and maintaining a site called Megaupload, which, in his eyes, was just a site to share links but actual it was the biggest pirating site on the internet. Klosterman calls this a “profound distortion of reality” but cant help to ponder at the motives behind Dotcom’s actions which are clearly describe in a letter written to Hollywood by Dotcom himself. To paraphrase, Dotcom mocks Hollywood for making the industry so expensive for the individual and says that his belief is that everything should be free, and points to a future where everything will be such. There is no way to stop the thousands of different pirating sites and this exact philosophy is the reason everyone hated Dotcom. Because once again there was a creeping fear that this type of content would become the only way any further person would watch a movie. I mean… why pay for it if its free on the internet. The similarities here are not the action but the motives of these two savoy techs. And the most savoy cyber tech of all is Julian Assange, creator of Wiki Leaks. “Assange comes at the media from a bottom-line, non-theoretical, th-ends-jutify-the-means perspective.” Assange believes that a world of truths would make the number of corrupt governments and overall immoral act diminish to nothing in no time. He is a huge believer in transparency even if it may cost lives. His main argument is to help fuel a world like ‘Panopticon” and that, if successful, some will die but more will be saved if everyone was held accountable. Finally, Klosterman closes with a rather pessimistic statement (or optimistic depending on which side you play for) that describes the Cyber thieves of the internet; “[They] believes everything longs to be free. And [they] will make that happen, because [they] know how to do it and we don’t know how to stop [them].” Klosterman does this to exaggerate His unbiased view and to leave to opinion up to the reader. Are the cyber thieves doing us a favor by pressing there views of how a society will work? The point he is it’s trying to make, however, is that it doesn’t matter because it’s going to happen regardless.
Finally, with constant posting of locations, pictures, family members, phone numbers and such on social media and business pages, we voluntarily lessen our privacy and put ourselves in danger for stalkers and thieves. These acts already reveal the privacy of individuals, however, if everyone in the world were to make posting on social media sites would there still be a danger. Assange, Snowden, Dotcom, Hilton are all cyber hackers, they have all changed the course of our society and continue to do so. The question is ,however, are they really the villians? Our culture is moving toward a generation of truths and transparency and Klosterman would agree with the statement that its gonna happen wether we like it or not. It is proven that a more transparent world has the potential to be more safe then a world of secrets; But I guess, only time can tell how it will really affect us.