Updated: Dec 14, 2021
As technology revolutionizes, it is becoming more and more prevalent in our daily lives. From social media to streaming apps, the world wide web of information is available at the tap of a button. Since technology is so common in younger generations, we can often overlook certain privacy threats that come with innovations. Though inventions are beginning to look promising for implementing safety, could they be used maliciously? Or could they be a threat to privacy despite good intentions?
Contact Tracing in South Korea
With Covid-19 devastating countries around the globe, many are searching for new ways to prevent the spread. South Korea is often used as a model of what other countries should be doing during this outbreak, but its methods do not come without consequences. To stop the spread of the coronavirus in 2015, the South Korean government used location data, surveillance footage, and credit card history for contact tracing. Though these measures were successful, they left the lingering question of whether they were worth the privacy breach. The majority of South Korean citizens agreed to give up a portion of their privacy for the greater good of stopping infection, but they have begun to worry about their privacy after the South Korean government admitted to permanently keeping this personal information several years after the initial outbreak. Though South Korea has been mostly successful in preventing Covid-19 today after their previous encounter with coronavirus nearly 5 years ago, it is difficult to say whether other countries should adopt their method at the risk of governments misusing personal information.
Facial Recognition in Law Enforcement
New programs are being invented that keep a database of individuals based on facial recognition. They take images from social media platforms and the internet and build profiles used for law enforcement. Clearview AI is a software company that has implemented and taken advantage of this technology. Though it seems that this technology will improve safety by making it easier to catch criminals, it can also be used to invade individual privacy. As a private company, Clearview AI is completely in control of the data they collect and the product could be used with malicious intentions. We have yet to see the future of this company, but the fact that this technology is unregulated is a breach of privacy in itself.
It is often difficult to strike a proper balance between safety and privacy. Some people are willing to prioritize public safety over individual privacy, but this willingness can often be abused by governments or companies who want to profit off of personal information; stay cautious and curious!
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