Thesis: Privacy and Technology

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Privacy and Technology

Technology has experienced a constant advance ever since the beginning of time and mankind has certainly benefited from the occurrence, as the civilized world could not have existed without it. In spite of generally being regarded as being favorable for people, technology has also brought drawbacks in certain domains. The concept of privacy has changed a great deal in the last few decades due to the technological advancements that have appeared. Technology must be controlled so that it does not interfere with people's privacy.

"Computerization of record systems, wiretapping of telephone conversations, parabolic microphones, lie detector tests, personality tests, and miniaturized cameras presented an alarming potential for invading individual privacy" (Regan, Priscilla M.)

Technology has made it possible for people to own computers on which they can store a significant amount of data. However, because computers and internet are relatively new in the lives of people, people have not yet agreed on some specific laws to be given regarding the use of the new technologies.

New technologies set free large amounts of information which can be harmful it they fall in the hands of evil people. Privacy is something which can be directly affected by technology, as certain documents can be made public without the consent of their owners. In the present, there are numerous cases of personal information having been collected by anyone that wanted to.

Privacy is something that all people are entitled to, regardless of the new technologies which may appear with time. Having begun in the early 1960s, the new era of technology is threatening the well-being of privacy worldwide. The few years that followed after the appearance of the computer made people tremble with fear after witnessing the stories being told in the media. Journalists, film directors, and writers had all started to relate their works to technology and to the image of what it could lead to in the future.

George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of the novels which have been written on the subject of people's privacy being broken by the government. In the novel, the government is being pictured as controlling its people and carefully watching their every move. Nineteen Eighty-Four has been inspirational for numerous movies and TV-programs which were later made.

The public quickly reacted to the respective stories and started an international campaign regarding the limits that computer will have. People feared that their privacy might be affected with their personal information being present on various databases. A mass paranoia has been triggered ever since, as people have become reluctant from accepting the fact that they had their personal data accessible to strangers. Also, people have begun to avoid talking certain things over the telephone from the fear that someone might listen to their conversations.

It is practically impossible for anyone today not to fear that their personal information might be stolen by someone. People have their private data present in several databases, and, most countries have implemented a law that permits all telephone conversations to be recorded. It would be naive for one to believe that it is irrational for people to fear that their privacy is in danger. Simple operations like that of a credit card being issued require people to have their information stored on a database.

There are no boundaries when concerning the violation of people's privacy, and, even public persons which are far more influent than simple people risk being monitored by various institutions in the state.

The advance of technology has spread so far and so fast that now even federal judges face routine mass-monitoring by the state. In March 2001, the judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals learned that their computers had been monitored by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (Taslitz, Andrew E.)

One of the simplest examples of the system storing information regarding to people is the registering of their medical backgrounds. There are little people worldwide that can actually claim that they have not seen a doctor in their lives. Even though it seems that one's medical history doesn't count as personal information, it truly contains some of the most private data owned by people. The technological advancements in the present have permitted doctors to have internet databases in which they store the medical records of their patients. Medical records were being kept private in the past through simple means such as locking it up somewhere safe. However, today people can have criminals hacking into online medical databases and steal their medical history. Moreover, new laws have been given regarding the fact that doctors are no longer being allowed to conceal the medial history of their patients. Because of several episodes involving terrorists that have happened in the U.S. In the last few years, people are virtually being denied the right of having medical privacy.

Coming against the laws regarding the privacy of medical history is the American Constitution, as it grants people the right of being left alone. According to Willis, the United States Supreme Court had agreed on the fact that the Constitution grants people the right to privacy. In spite of that, the right to privacy is still unclear to most people, as it does not specify exactly what qualifies as being private and what does not.

Even if people have reluctantly accepted having their information stored in various databases, they have also been aware that the respective information is vital for the well-being of our society. However, when people are asked for their personal information, they have to pay great attention to the conditions specified in the documents that they sign. There have been several cases in which certain companies have provided their clients with little information concerning the use of their personal data. It frequently happens for companies and their clients to have different opinions in relation to the way that information is supposed to be collected and used.

The cases in which people are monitored by their superiors somewhat resemble the cases in which the people living in a totalitarian state were being closely watched by members of the state. Just as in those situations, employees might feel limited, as they cannot express themselves normally and they have to be careful to what they are saying.

When staying in his or her workplace, the employee requires a certain amount of privacy in order for them to develop their work accordingly. However, there are often cases in which the employee feels constraint by the working conditions which often invade his or her privacy. Any person has the right to respect his or her principles and to prohibit their employers from abusing them at the workplace. Also, one may feel that his or her fellow employees are interfering with their personal space in a case when they are working in the same room. The employees can consider the monitoring of their activities as a sign of distrust coming from the employer. Even when certain jobs require the supervising of the employees by the employer with the help of cameras and controlling of the internet activity, the employees can still feel stressed by the situation.

Computer users are facing a problem for a few years now, with programs existing that can register everything that is being done on a certain computer which has the program installed on it. With the help of such programs people can easily spy on other people, as they would be up-to-date with all of the actions performed on the computer that they are monitoring.

Employers have also made use of programs with which they can control their employees. There have been frequent cases of employers preventing their employees from performing actions other than working while they were at the work place. There are programs which block certain web pages and games from being opened, and, thus, employees can come across the problem of being unable to access their personal e-mail or play their favorite online game.

In the last few years technology has advanced amazingly, with the latest inventions being worthy of a science fiction movie. There is a lot of debate regarding a certain invention which is supposed to change life as people know it. The radio frequency identification (RFID) chip implants have appeared for some years now, and, ever since its official commercialization, numerous people have shown interest in having one. Apparently, the RFID chip implants are predicted to be adopted by people worldwide in the nearby future.

The implants are meant to assist people in performing basic activities such as paying without needing a credit card or money. In spite of the fact that chip implants seem to be relatively safe and useful, numerous people have condemned their use. Considering the fact that chips would have to be read with the help of a special reader, one can assume that it would not be hard for an ill intended person to get their hands on such a reader. Once in the possession of the special reader, that particular person would… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Privacy and Technology.  (2009, May 15).  Retrieved September 16, 2019, from

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"Privacy and Technology."  15 May 2009.  Web.  16 September 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Privacy and Technology."  May 15, 2009.  Accessed September 16, 2019.