Apr 5, 2010 Comments Off
Maybe you have heard the phrase, “once you put something on the internet, its their forever.” I have always thought took this to be an exaggeration, but a guideline to follow. Don’t put something online and expect it to disappear after a certain length of time. For this reason I found the section on Surveillance very interesting. This section associated loss of liberties with surveillance. For example, the section talked about anxiety about e-mail record retention, transactional information, and Michael Foucult emphasized that knowledge and power are always conjoined. Personally, due to the expression, “once you put something on the internet, its their forever,” e-mail retention doesn’t effect me. I always took it as a given that an e-mail could come back at any time. This also made me wonder what these enthusiasts are hiding. Personally, I’m of the opinion of if you have nothing to hide, it shouldn’t matter some one is watching. I’d rather have increased surveillance, which also means increased protection, than suffer another 9/11 because people didn’t want their e-mails to their parents intercepted. To me, the risk is enough. I agree that knowledge and power are linked together, but just because an e-mail is being searched automatically by a program for certain key words doesn’t mean your innermost secrets will be revealed to the world. As long as proper precautions are taken to limit access to the majority, everything should be fine. It is this mindset that made the following chapter very interesting.
Chapter 20 was dedicated to the Panopticon, a building design that would allow for all inhabitants to be viewed without knowing if the are being watched from a central tower. This tower would be accessible to anyone in society. In this way society would monitor surveillance. I particularly enjoyed the comparison, saying the cells were like small theaters, implying that peoples lives are a show for other people to watch. The key points the Panopticon stressed were that power should be visible and unverifiable. People should always know that there is a chance they are being watched, and they should know if they are under surveillance or not. In this way, people would be scared they would be caught misbehaving, and good behavior would ensue. I found this very interesting because it countered everything the previous article said. IT implied that privacy was a privilege not a right, and that the risk of surveillance was enough to encourage good behavior. I found this an interesting juxtaposition to the previous chapter.
The Jones reading was interesting not only from a sociological perspective, but from the perspective of a user. Since I have a Facebook account, it was interesting to see how other people used the website. One thing I found interesting was the idea that newer users to Facebook share more than older users. You might think that as users become more familiar with the website, they would trust it a little more. Instead the inexperienced users seem to have higher expectations on how others use the website and apparently overcompensate. I also found it interesting that users knew about privacy features, but oftentimes chose not to use them. A lack of privacy was not a lack of knowledge, it was a choice. I also enjoyed the point that as facebook becomes more popular, its security will be forced to decrease as more people have access to more information. Finally, the last interesting portion of facebook was the idea that friending only people you know was actually a security feature. People are less likely to be able to steal information if you only friend people you know from the real world, rather than being tricked by bots.