Privacy: Still Possible or a Thing of the Past?
ENG122: English Composition II
February 4, 2013
For as long as I can remember, our privacy and rights as human beings has been on the decline. We are no longer able to feel as though we aren’t constantly being watched and placed under twenty four hour surveillance. The more and more this dwindles, the more we have to protect ourselves personally just as we would protect our homes if someone were attempting to invade them. Since at least 1999 there have been people making statements such as, “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.” (McNealy, 1999) In more recent years there have been similar statements made by Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Larry Page of Google, and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn. These sites alone make it virtually impossible to keep information private. Anytime you visit Facebook they are able to see where you’re posting from, and they are also allowed to use your photos without your knowledge if they are taken in a restaurant, coffee shop, or store. Once you are subscribed to that site, all of the content put up then belongs to them and will forever be able to be found in cyberspace. They own your information…you don’t. In fact, here is a statement that you have to agree to before being able to create a page. “You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.” (Facebook, 2012) However, for the new year they’ve decided to add some new terms of service just to make sure that they really have the rights to everything you put on there. “The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other. We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to change or delete portions of these Terms at any time without further notice. Your continued use of the Facebook Service after any such changes constitutes your acceptance of the new Terms.” If anyone has used Facebook since February 4, 2013, you’ve already agreed to these terms even if you weren’t notified of the changes; just by logging in you accepted them. This alone confirms what McNealy said earlier. Privacy in 2013 is nothing more than a distant memory, a page in history, and something that children growing up now will never be privy to. In the past year, Facebook has started something known as "frictionless sharing." Verizon told customers it could share their location and search strings with advertisers, and two members of Congress have called for the FTC to investigate "supercookies," which track your activity across multiple websites and are difficult to detect and remove. These developments signal an accelerating rush to compile, index and disseminate personal data in the digital age. (Francis, 2011) Multiple reasons are behind why so many personal details are shared these days, but for one, people who are far away from family or friends take comfort in knowing they can stay connected on a more “personal” level if they have...
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