The Big Brother Is Watching Us on Social Media: Is It Good or Bad?

Many people are aware of the fact that there is no such thing of “privacy” on the internet and that social media can significantly speed up the process of publicizing content. Indeed, somebody is watching us 24/7 on the internet, but is it a good thing or a bad thing?

@LinchiKwok
According to this CNN News video, the Department of Homeland Security wants to attain information such as “terrorist attack,” “tornado,” and “home land security” from social networking sites. The information is currently collected by a third party agent called Epic.org for a price of $11 million.

There are scientists making predictions by analyzing the keywords appeared in search engines and/or on social networking sites. For example, if people in a certain geographic location start searching “fluid syndromes” on Google, Yahoo, or Bing, that could be an indication of an outbreak of fluid or a fluid-related disease. There are also researchers trying to predict the “mood” of the world by analyzing people’s tweets (e.g. a happy vs. an unhappy day).

It seems that the big brother can benefit from the “big picture” or the emerging themes found on the internet. Personally, I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. The privacy issues, however, arise when people worry about whether their personal interactions online are also being watched.

In general, do you think the big brother is doing a good thing or a bad thing to the society? To what degree should people be watched? What are your suggestions for protecting internet users’ privacy while at the same time, making data available for scientific research?


References:
The picture was downloaded from Sangrea.Net

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