Lee-Michael  Pronko

Student - B.A,

This conversation is closed.

In the era of mass surveillance, how do we define privacy, what its value is and how can we safeguard it?

In the era of mass surveillance, where not only do we actively engage in the surveillance of ourselves (Youtube, Iphones, Facebook etc) but fall victim to the indiscriminate dataveillance by the state (the systematic monitoring of people’s actions or communications through the application of information technology). The techniques of information collection (passports, tax filing, pay-roll, medical records, work permits, bank cards, etc.) in combination with human and machine surveillance make it difficult for citizens to understand how they can protect their identity and what should exactly remain private. Here, the issue of privacy or data protection has been hotly debated, but vague and ambiguous notions of what privacy really consists in have left us wondering what its value is, and what it is that is being infiltrated, extracted, invaded and captured.
One area of interest is the spatial terrain that we inhabit. It becomes necessary to understand the scope of surveillance in this respect regarding the intentional architectural design of institutions, airports, consumer space and the workplace. Intentionally designed by techniques to capture the maximum amount of data from the individual by restricting and directing spatial mobility and constant surveillance regardless of consent. If this is the case, then how do we define privacy, what its value is and how can we safeguard it?

  • Jan 31 2012: We can define it as a thing of the past, I'm under constant surveilance because I'm camped out on Mellon Banks lawn along with about twenty five other people. We have been there for three months and they and we are in court over the matter. The police say they won't do anything without a court order and I commend them for that,let's have a shout out for the Pittsburgh Police. Other cities haven't been so fortunate, they have been maced, pepper sprayed, beaten and put in jail. But even if I were not camped out on Mellon Banks lawn I would be under surveillance for having done it. I speak out against our government when they need to hear it and that will get you on the watch list. All of our phones are tapped with the roving wire tap and there is a camera everywhere you look. I will continue to be defiant for as long as I live, this government and these corporations are not going to run my life. I do no harm to anyone or anything and should be left alone, but because I disagree with my countries policies I am not. The only time I feel like I have privacy is when I have walked 6-7 miles into the woods on a hike for the day, and even then there is google sattlite. So, when defining privacy we should always preceed it "with remember when we had".
  • thumb
    Jan 27 2012: Before: every regular bloke had privacy by default
    Today: everybody has to spend energy and time defining his/her own privacy. It is now a conscious act we have to perform...otherwise somebody else will do it for us, at our own expenses.

    I say this because I believe there is still a gap between the privacy rules defined by the law and what actually happens with the private sector who is thirsty for more private stuff in our lives. Facebook is an example; it reluctantly changes its privacy rules when under pressure. Examples of private stuff shared on Facebook exploited the wrong way is now standard material for newspapers.

    Until both the public and private sector offer us easy means to protect our personal lives, we have to do it on our own. One more thing to do and to be aware of in our daily lives, like putting the garbage out, do the dishes or feed the kids.