It all began with a bothering setting on Dropbox that syncs all of your photos into a "Camera Uploads" folder. I used it a long time ago only to find out how inconveniently useless it was. Well, today I turned on my computer and realized that over a hundred files had been synced to my account. What the hell? I said. I immediately went on to the settings to disable it. This troubled made me think how intrusive certain features and services can get and why, even though I used to conform to intrusive technology by saying "I have nothing to hide," I now want to take active steps to protect what I don't want to share with others.
In a recent TedTalk, Glenn Greenwald, a journalist who explained the leaked Snowden files, speaks about the importance of privacy even when one claims to have nothing to hide. Yes, when one has nothing to hide, why bother? There is no risk of anyone finding anything secret. However, in a recent article about Snowden, he affirms that when one affirms to have such openness, one is is simply disregarding our right to protect our content. This machinery of surveillance, which is why most people think the internet has turned into, touches on what Greenwald refers to as being constantly observed. He brings to discussion 18th century philosopher Jeremy Bentham who may be the first to have thought about scrutiny what others did when he devised the panopticon (a system to monitor inmates). But with this historical background, this whole perception of being constantly observed is still relevant, Greenwald affirms. In psychological research, for instance, researchers who perform observations know that participants may act unnatural if they're told that their behaviors are being observed and recorded. Of course the government does not have a surveillance camera right above us but the perception of knowing that our online behavior is being monitored and that privacy to our content is breached is still very applicable.
More and more is discussed about this whole privacy issue but the bottom line is that people are constantly producing, sharing, and consuming content and much of that content is simply personal information that is living on the cloud. I have come to understand how critical it is to fully embrace the current technologies and its vulnerabilities as well as how we behave and become responsible digital citizens, citizens that share what we need to only. Using your Dropbox account to store school work because it is easy to access from all of your devices won't put you in jeopardy if that accounts is vulnerable to privacy rights. You probably have nothing to hide other than your maybe-not-very-well-written papers. Does that mean that you will give up your chance to stand up and protect your content? Absolutely no. The best way to proactively exercise your rights is find out what privacy rights the user gets upon signing up and how content is treated. As Greenwald insisted, quoting socialist activist Rosa Luxemburg, "He who does not move does not notice his chains."
Watch Glenn Greenwald talk more about why privacy matters.
I am an ePortfolio instructor working in New York City. I am also a student in the MA program in educational psychology at Hunter College. In my current position, I instruct students how to develop and build their ePortfolio to showcase their academic skills. I also collaborate in professional development seminars with faculty members from various departments on building the curriculum to teach the first year seminar experience. Read more about me.