They Probably Know More Than You Think! They Probably Know More Than You Think! Privacy and freedom are extremely valued in our society, and are to some extent legally guaranteed rights by the constitution. Rapid advances in technology, in conjunction with compelling motives to use this technology to control and exploit aspects of human life in general, as well as the workplace, make urgent the question of what uses of the technology should be permitted. This is a tough questions, but if businesses would realize that their employees are the reason that they stay in business then they would not have to violate the privacy rights of people. Employees and companies need to work together to get past the employer/employee tension that makes employees steal etc.., and employers put up surveillance equipment etc.. However there may only be 1 out of 50 employees stealing so does this justify the surveillance or the other 49 (WRAC 420)? What about every day life? Would you want to have lists of everything about you concocted and put on computer databases for the whole world to know? There really is a serious problem with the violation of individual privacy today.
From the workplace, to buying a vacuum and becoming part of a mailing list, to the stress that lack of privacy causes people, no one is safe from, big brother. No one likes to have someone sit over them and watch all the time, and no one likes to be watched when they don’t even know about it. Without probable cause that one committed a crime no one has the right to deprive the right of privacy to another, whether it be by selling names to a mailing list or cameras watching every move they make while in the office. In the workplace there has been an ongoing battle over what employers may do to monitor employees. The work place isn’t a place where you can expect the privacy of your own home. However no one should have to be subjected to having their e-mail read or constantly being monitored by cameras.
Westin believes that any business that wants to survive in this service oriented environment is going to have to be concerned about the quality of service that is delivered through the telecommunications and database oriented interface with the consumer (Westin 458). These kinds of surveillance create a stressful situation and are a distracting means of employer surveillance evidence of this in his essay: 43 percent of monitored employees said that they suffered a loss of feeling in their fingers and wrists, while only 27 percent of unmonitored employees complained of high tension as opposed to 67 percent of unmonitored workers (Whalen 436). The damage done by a few corrupt or unprofessional executives is far greater than somebody taking a little too long for a coffee break (Whalen 436). In the work place a happy medium should be reached between employer/employee, such as a reward system for honesty and quality work instead of driving employees crazy with unneeded surveillance equipment. The undue stress put on people by new technology is inexcusable. People don’t like to feel like they are being looked at, and when they do feel this way it causes stress both psychological and physical (Whalen 436). This really isn’t a problem in grocery stores or gas stations where surveillance is needed to keep customers from stealing, but more in the office setting where the employee may feel like Big Brother, is waiting to pounce on even the most minor mistake.
This stress that is caused makes employees less productive, and leaves people out and about in everyday life checking their behavior so they won’t get caught on tape doing or saying something that could later be misconstrued and held against them. The solution to this is that there need to be limits on how that kind of technology is used, (Whalen 437). Also the stress factor needs to be recognized as the overall negative thing it is and that it should be avoided. How do you feel when you mail order something, and then receive every bit of junk mail that is even closely related to what you ordered? This is only the tip of the iceberg (Glastonbury and LeMendola 424). While one is growing up, studying, playing, working, etc..
there are people compiling ones interests, and anything else about a person that anyone could even want to know. This is an obvious invasion of privacy, when personal information is compiled and sold. What about when incorrect data is furnished? The location and correction of data is not as simple as it may sound (Glastonbury and LeMendola 428). The only kind of personal databases that should be made are for medical or personal purposes, not for someone else to compile data about someone else and then sell it. The best solution for this would be for it to come to a complete stop. Lack of privacy is a bad problem, not just a problem.
When one feels like their privacy has been invaded they are likely to become less productive, stressed, and it could just be downright damaging if some bit of personal information becomes public gossip. Privacy is not something that should be limited to a few who control today’s most privacy invading technology. This is not techno phobia (Browning 16 Economist), privacy is a right that should be respected. How do you feel when there has been an obvious invasion of your privacy? Bibliography Behrens and Rosen. Privacy and Technology. Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum.Eds.
Laurence Behrens and Leonard Rosen. 6th ed. New York: Longman, 1997. 420-423. Browning, John.
No Hiding Place. The Economist v. 328. Aug. 7, 1993.
16-17. Glastonbury and LeMendola. The Nature of the Meaning of Data. Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. Eds. Laurence Behrens and Leonard Rosen.
6th ed. New York: Longman, 1997. 423-429. Westin, Alan F. Computers in the Workplace: Elysium or Panopticon? Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. Eds.
Laurence Behrens and Leonard Rosen. 6th ed. New York: Longman, 1997. 454-460. Whalen, John. You’re Not Paranoid: They Really are Watching You.
Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. Eds. Laurence Behrens and Leonard Rosen. 6th ed. New York: Longman, 1997.