I have always paid careful attention to current events. I like to know what’s happening around me, so I keep myself updated with articles from various newspapers and magazines from around the world. However, throughout the length of this course I have noticed a shift in the lens with which I read these articles. I’ve become more interested in reading news articles discussing policy; specifically, privacy and technology.
I believe that this shift is mainly due to Cory Doctrow’s novel Little Brother. While reading, I kept noticing simply how plausible of a future it seemed to be. Gait-trackers in schools, GPS trackers individual to a person, internet surveillance, wire-tapping, and so many more new (yet terrifying) technologies seem to pervade the novel. While some of these are not yet common around the states, I do worry that they may one day be considered the ‘norm.’
The other day, I was scrolling through Apple’s News feed on my phone when I came across an article detailing how the senate voted to revoke FCC privacy regulations. These rules were enacted as they “protect important personal interests—freedom from identity theft, financial loss, or other economic harms, as well as concerns that intimate, personal details could become the grist for the mills of public embarrassment or harassment or the basis for opaque, but harmful judgments, including discrimination” (Federal Communications Commission 2). Furthermore, a brief synopsis of the rules is that they are what require companies to tell you and get your approval for their privacy policies (for example, what information of yours that they may release), they require companies to protect your information and to notify you of security breaches.
Can you imagine your personal information being distributed without your knowledge? I’m sure the citizens in Little Brother couldn’t either; that’s why they were so surprised about being stopped by police when the rebellion mixed up all the data. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer my information to be protected. Yes, the smackdown still has to be approved by the House and the President, but it’s a slippery slope. If our government begins to believe that it is ok to distribute and collect information about our personal lives without reasonable cause, then where’s the end?
Link to the FCC’s broadband privacy framework: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-16-148A1.pdf