Should We Surrender Our Privacy for More Safety?

I would be willing to give up my privacy for safety. I would like there to be more CCTV security cameras around. Something I worry about often, especially as a Black woman, is that something happens to me, and they’re never able to find me or the person who did it. I think having more cameras around would give me peace of mind. But I wouldn’t want to give up more privacy than that. Especially with the way our government is now. I don’t trust those in power to use it wisely, especially in the applications they think will make us safer. One of these methods I disagree with is using facial recognition to catch criminals. Often, especially for Black people, this leads to wrongful arrests. This also leads to more police brutality because police feel like they can hurt someone they believe to be a criminal when it may be a false ID. 

A recent use of the exchange of privacy for safety I agree with is using phone data for contact tracing for COVID-19. The Exposure Notifications on iPhones have helped me personally during the pandemic. When one of my friends got COVID, my phone was able to tell me exactly what day we were in close proximity. Knowing this information helped me remember the specific occasion we were together for and how close we had been. With this information, I could know how long I should isolate. Without the contact tracing, I likely wouldn’t have remembered when we were together and would not have isolated myself. 

Giving up our privacy may be necessary to make our society safer. But we should be able to trust those with access to the information, which means changes to our government must be made. As constituents, we should press our lawmakers to write policy that protects our privacy and gives us peace of mind.

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