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The word privacy is thrown around so much it’s kind of hard to understand what it truly means. As a high school student, one hears a lot of stories with the word privacy in them. A girl tells her best friend a secret and the next day the whole school knows about it. Then everyone hears the girl complain about how much of an invasion of privacy that the whole situation is. Many people would agree with this. These people would probably say that what one wants to stay private, should do so. These people aren’t exactly wrong but they aren’t really right either. Most people think that privacy is what people know about another person, regardless of how they get the information but it’s actually all about what the individual decides what everyone else knows.
Once one puts information out there, that person can no longer trust that the information will not be spread. In a recent TED talk called “Why Privacy Matters”, Alessandra Acquisti mentioned a study he did all about social media websites. In the past years, these kind of websites have become very popular. Anyone can easily find old friends or new love interests and what they like, where they go and so many other things about them. But, according to Professor Acquisti’s study, people should start to think twice about the information they put on these websites. He talks about how through information people put on these websites, hackers and other companies can get a lot of information about them which can be scary because most people can never know what they can do with that. However, in a way, one allows that information to be out there because they put it out there. It’s all about responsibility. Every person liable to what they say to others and what they put on the internet.
Last year, a man named Edward Snowden found that “…even if you’re not doing anything wrong you’re being watched and recorded”. After this happened the concept of “privacy” was talked about a lot. The American people were up in arms about the fact that simple things like our call records are being seen by the government, and the government was upset that the information they wanted to keep private was leaked. The problem is that both of these parties are in the wrong. Honestly, it’s not really a big secret that someone besides the user can see what they’re doing on their phone. With all of the knowledge we now have about what the government can and cannot see, when a person buys a phone, especially a smartphone, they are basically consenting that whatever goes on there is no longer just their information. After 9/11, when the Patriot Act was passed, a lot of things became less and less private. Then, as technology progressed, the world became too reliant on smart phones to keep their lives together. The average smartphone has almost all of our information on it. Our address’, phone numbers, passwords and so many other things. It’s almost ignorant to think that what we decide to put on this little device will be kept to ourselves. Now, I’m not saying that if one keeps a personal diary on some app in their phone that the whole world should be able to see it, but the world of technology is not a private one, contrary to what some people believe, it’s public. What someone sends in emails or post on facebook are in a public place and are no longer private thoughts.
On the other hand, the United States government was upset about this situation too, but it’s hard to understand why. Every person has the should always know what is and is not private about their lives. Call records going to the government isn’t the invasion of privacy, it’s the fact that the people didn’t know that their call records were going anywhere. That’s what a true invasion of privacy is. Privacy is people having the right to decide where their information is going. That way, when someone buys that shiny new iPhone, they agree to an unspoken contract that they consent to where their information is going. I think that it would make quite a few people think twice about what they put onto their smart phones. It’s like if someone gives another a gift, they can do with that what they may but it’s completely different if they break into the other person’s house and steal that same item. they have no knowledge that the other person has the item, they didn’t tell the other person that they had it, and it’s wrong for them to do something with it because the other person is not consenting to it.