We Can’t Eliminate Fear

Privacy, is there such a concept anymore? Is it a right of the individual or is it a sacrifice of the community. This summer has been dominated by disclosures that our government surveillance organizations have troves of data and eavesdropping spyware that could be used to violate our freedoms. There is a large population that feels this is an outrageous injustice and calls for elimination of it all. There is a large population that believes that it is a necessary activity justified by the possible protection that it provides. I am now writing a post about this because I have been sympathizing with both sides; hence I have felt like I can’t have an opinion.

What finally bothered me enough to write was my concern that I might be a part of the problem. I understand technology enough to realize what is going on and that the data being analyzed is not really threatening our personal privacy, especially if we do not have anything to hide. However, that is assuming the integrity of the overseeing authority and that is where I must connect the dots.  It is so easy to market an idea in this over saturated information age especially if you play off of the emotion of fear. Weapons of Mass Destruction, Terrorist Bombings, Health Epidemics, or just bad things that could happen that we must prevent because we think we can. Things that have occurred throughout history, that only in recent years are we reacting with knee jerk preventative solutions. Why, because we can and because we have ability to communicate our concerns to an influential majority. And opposing those who push these agendas with fear marketing carries the consequence of being branded with an undesirable label.

Have we justified this invasion of our personal privacy with the fear marketing to prevent terrorism? Yes they/we have. We cannot disagree with the potential value of this invasion of privacy, which could prevent a terrible event from occurring. But what is the cost? Maybe our actions have created the outcomes. People don’t like what we do so they strike back at us to relieve their anger.  Does it spiral to a point of revolution? The answers are far to complicated for the investment that I can make. But I will conclude that I believe we need to back off from our need to eliminate fear. The personal data that has been gathered about us will eventually be misused if there is value in doing so because we no longer have control of the integrity of the governing body. Let that fear be overriding and let’s stop trying to guarantee our happiness.

About ghsmith76

Greg Smith has retired. His last position was the Interim CIO at Western Washington University. Prior to WWU Greg was the CIO at Missouri S&T, and before that the CIO for George Fox University in Newberg, OR. Greg went to the Northwest from the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology in Indianapolis, IN. where he served as the Director of IT for 8 years. Prior to the IT career in Academia, Greg was a Systems Consultant with Hewlett-Packard primarily with the Analytical Group working out of San Francisco,Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Greg's passion as a CIO in Higher Education came from his belief that Technology can benefit Teaching & Learning.

Posted on August 4, 2013, in Personal, security and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Gerry O'Brennan

    Well said. Reminds me of how much people invest in seeking immortality, only to find they’ve wasted much of their lives pursuing such, instead of living/treasuring the moment…GKO


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