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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

Comments

  1. One moment, I'll post mine soon. just wanted to say I love your new site!

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    1. Thank you. Look forward to reading your comments and feedback.

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  2. I think that "Big Brother" on social media is a good thing. I think that many people are extremely egotistical and think that Big Brother would be watching them and their personal activity. In reality, the government has much more important matters to deal with than a civilian's personal interactions. It is impossible to store information on every user of the internet and equally as hard to sort this information and therefore would be extremely hard to be used as a weapon against a civilian. Even if information is being stored on my browsing activity, I find that a small price to pay for the safety of the United States. The reality is that the internet can be an extremely powerful tool, but many people forget the vast network it reaches and therefore privacy is really a relative concept.

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  3. On a broad scale, I believe that having a "big brother" system mediating the internet as a whole is crucial to keeping our nation safe. However, nitpicking through civilians' social media sites is highly unnecessary and as the poster above me has stated, "the government has more important matters to deal with." I also believe that it is the web page owner's responsibility to make sure that their site complies with the US federal safety guidelines and holds the proper disclaimers to make sure legal action won't be taken against them. On an individual scale, I don't believe it's too difficult to regulate what one puts on their website. A website can be seen as one's own brand and if the material on the website can be perceived as offensive, then the action can be reflected negatively on the site owner. For instance, I personally know that potential employees will be looking through my Facebook profile and other social media sites, so I wouldn't purposely go posting something that is outwardly offensive to anyone because that would be instigating a problem that wouldn't have ever escalated to that degree. As long as the public regulates itself somewhat, there wouldn't be a need for the government to pry and civilian's could regain their privacy.
    -Katrina Wong, NSD 314

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  4. I think that "big brother" has brought tremendous benefits to society. New technology has allowed for the government to anticipate and stop potential threats to our country. On a smaller scale, people are worried, and with good reason, that their privacy is being invaded. However, I think it is important to acknowledge that with such a large population, surveillance services are not going to waste their time analyzing individual twitter and/ or facebook accounts. These surveillance systems are looking for extreme threats. My only suggestion to this conflict would be to minimize/ limit the amount of time/ amount of visits that can be spent analyzing an individuals social media account.

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