I wanted to ask something first before I talk about how much privacy I would be willing to give up: what is the most secure place? I remember someone answering prison (I think it was in a Criminal Minds episode but don’t quote me on that). Prisons [should] offer all the basic necessities to its inhabitants: food, shelter, water, and hospitalization, but at what cost? The cost is freedom.
I think this analogy could be applied in the aspect of public surveillance. When thinking about utopias, it could be defined as not having to worry about attaining the basic necessities to live and being treated fairly. This sounds simple enough since it can be reduced to one sentence, but then why is this so hard to achieve? I believe it is because we cannot have one without losing the other. If countries were able to give its citizens all that they needed, how would they know what you and your neighbor needed? In the micro-lecture with Edward Snowden, we saw the use of surveillance to attain knowledge about the spread of COVID-19 in South Korea. We can compare this to previous analogies above. If it was compared to prison, surveillance is giving those in power the knowledge needed to provide the inhabitants safety. This seems to me like a utopia. The people in South Korea are given knowledge in order to be safe (which I deem as a basic necessity) with this method, but again at what cost? They lose their freedoms without even knowing it. They relinquish their privacy (locations, interactions with people, perhaps even recorded conversations) in the name of safety. The people using this are only revealing the benefits of this but the extent to which they use this knowledge is unknown and can be potentially dangerous/unfair in the future.
Me personally? I would have given up my privacies in that situation. COVID was a life and death situation in which the cost of losing my life outweighs losing my privacy. I expect people with knowledge of my personal information to keep me safe at the barest minimum. It should not be used to destroy my opportunities in life. If it wasn’t a life-death situation, I would give up some of my privacies for the utopian ideas I’ve stated before, but not to the extent that it is similar to the prison analogy. I would give up my location in order to be found in dire situations and as evidence in court cases. I would not consent to recorded conversations. I feel that this goes beyond what would be needed because why would you need to know something so specific at any given time. It’s just too suspicious unless you are again suspected of criminal activity. But even then, it should not be available to everyone. I find it alarming that our phones already do this (Youtube, Facebook, Siri, etc. listens). This should not be done, and if it needs to be done it should be done the old fashioned way (wiring a room or recording a tape, which could be removed later) rather than always be done. There’s so many more but I feel that the invasion of privacy that is too specific (recorded conversations, etc.) should not be allowed, unless it threatens the safety of those around them and themselves.