Monday's lecture, including the viewing of the ABC documentary, and yesterday's presentation on e-monitoring together provided a thorough overview of the issue of privacy. While I knew this issue was becoming increasingly controversial with the continuous evolution of tracking and information technologies, I was unaware of its complexity from both legal and ethical standpoints. Whether in public, at the office, or "safely" behind the locked doors of our homes, it is now obvious that there is always a watching eye.
Tessa's review of relevant legislation made it apparent that opposing views on the privacy issue result from a difference in opinions, rather than constitutional interpretation. Conditionally, I do not oppose most of the various forms of monitoring. In the majority of instances, it seems that the benefits of monitoring far outweigh the consequent inconveniences and sacrifices.
As an office employee, I would enjoy remaining up-to-date on the latest popular YouTube videos and the status of Ty Lawson's swollen big toe while I carry out my day's work. As an employer, though, I would expect my employees to only perform the tasks for which they are paid while on the clock. In a small office setting, surveillance and Internet monitoring would not necessarily be necessary, and could prove harmful to the work environment by breaching bonds of trust. Due to a less intimate environment, monitoring and Internet surveillance are more beneficiary and appropriate. In such instances, employees should know exactly what is being monitored and in what fashion. While the disguised camera under the statue is completely out of the question, the Keiths of the office need to be stopped from occupying such an extensive amount of server space with their personal files and get back to work.
Likely a more controversial opinion, I am not opposed to the exchange of my information among companies. If I purchase a dog kennel, I would appreciate if the store from which I purchased the kennel would offer my email address to a dog food supply company that will ultimately contact me with coupons and other special offers. This exchange should only occur with my consent, and I should be able to opt-out of receiving any further information from the dog food company if I decide to do so. Companies that acquire the personal contact information of customers should never engage any sort of behavior that could be remotely considered harassment.
One of the most talked about issues among all privacy issues is government surveillance, my opinion is somewhat torn. Prior to understanding the complexities of this issue, I was quick to support unapproved wire tapping and other forms of government surveillance if it meant securing the American people. However, I now realize that excessive use of these forms of monitoring without the proper evidence can seriously disrupt the lives of innocent citizens. Only to the extent that these forms of government surveillance can be used to locate those whom they target should they be used in a casual fashion.
Because the lecture and presentation so thoroughly covered the privacy issue, neither much allowed for class discussion and the exchange of opinions. Because this issue is so controversial and becoming increasingly important, where do you stand on the various forms of monitoring by employers, private companies, and the government? What would you like to see removed, changed, or added by any of these institutions concerning privacy? How does your stance compare to mine?