Blog Post 3: Autonomy and Technology

Autonomy and Technology

Since the birth of our nation, personal freedoms have been imbedded in the collective conscience of our society. Our Founding Fathers championed the ideas of Locke, Voltaire, and Rousseau. Consequently, concepts such as popular sovereignty, freedom of speech, and the social contact are integral parts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  The main issue our predecessors had with the British was the lack of autonomy. Autonomy as defined by the prompt is “the right to be free of interference from or domination by other private individuals.” Obviously, the colonist felt that the deficiency was worth going to war with their oppressors. As a result, the new nation set up protections so that the new government could not infringe upon the autonomy of its citizens. Thus, the United States would succeed where the British had failed. In the present day, personal autonomy is being threatened again; however, this time the threat is not the government. The challenge comes from an unexpected source: technology.

Technology allows individuals to be more interconnected than ever before. People are free to develop an online presence that is then used to interact with their friends and other likeminded individuals. When used positively, this allows the internet to become the fertile forum for ideas and innovation it was meant to be. Nevertheless, it is often used for more social purposes. Twitter and Instagram are used to share details about one’s personal affairs and recreational activities.

Recently, certain entities have begun to monitor the online presence of certain individuals. Employers are holding their employees accountable for the things they post on the internet. Whistleblowers have revealed that the government is monitoring the online activity of its citizens. College admissions counselors are looking at prospective student’s social media accounts. Anything posted on the internet is now fair game for whomever is interested. As a result, people are being forced to restrict their own autonomy.

Unlike the plight faced by the revolutionary Americans, the solution to this new attack on autonomy is not violence or legislation. I believe that social media should give users more privacy settings. Currently, there is just two options: private and public. No one classifies their social interactions into just two categories.  All social media should adapt an interface similar to Google+. Individuals should be able to regulate who can see what. More personal details should only be viewed by trusted friends, while their basic information should be able to be viewed by potential employers. This solutions allows people to maintain an online presence without compromising both their autonomy and professional life.

5 thoughts on “Blog Post 3: Autonomy and Technology”

  1. I absolutely agree the foundation on which our great land was founded on was Autonomy . Independence, the right of Freedom of Speech all stated and recognized in the Constitution. So you have the right to say exactly whatever it is you like that is your right, but what is said and how it is said is up to the individual. Wanting to change legislation because the individual put all their personal information on social media is also up to that individual. You have a choice which is again, your right, as to what information you offer to society. There will always be someone monitoring the web so with that in mind we should use the internet and offer information that we want to offer, that we don’t mind the world seeing. Its not just certain individuals being monitored and I believe that is were a lot of people get confused. Everyone is being monitored maybe some more than others but not one person is excluded. Asking for more privacy on social settings for some filtering is understood but in all we should take more responsibility of our own personal information.

  2. I also agree with your statements involving the government infringing on our day to day privacy. In cahoots with Facebook and google the possibilities of our personal information being seen without our authorization is inevitable. Although, mobile devices such as cell phones and GPS tracking have their perks such as finding a lost phone and in some cases find a stolen car, but when they start to interrupt or interfere with our first and fourth amendments which state that we have the right to free speech and the right of privacy from unauthorized search and seizure, it starts to pose personal problems for all of us. “You have the right to say what you want, but because of autonomy, that doesn’t mean you should.” Yes, I defiantly concur.
    I agree that each of us as individuals have a responsibility to uphold when using and posting items to the internet. However, I believe what we do online should remain private and not interfere or interrupt our everyday lives outside of the net. Tracking criminals and imposing on regular citizens are two different things. Social media should be just that! Keep us connected to the outside world without prying eyes, unless there is a known crime and or a search warrant to invade on your private lives.

  3. I concur with the google+ ordeal. I myself have a google account, and it is the only “social account” that I have. With google plus you can adjust the information that you input so that your closer relations such as friends and family become inclusive to it. However, the statement that [the internet] is not a new violent attack on autonomy and legislation, I think, is not quite accurate.
    Hackers have become a new kind of terrorist, especially one defined as a person who threatens and harms national groups of people. Just recently, a group of hackers referring to themselves as the “guardians of peace” threaten to commit a secular harm to the U.S. much worse than what they referenced as the 9/11 attacks that devastated many Americans. Sony entertainment, the company responsible for the production and distribution of the movie, was breached, hacked, and the movie was leaked. By that very action, employees under Sony entertainment could be losing their personal income over a movie they were willing to sell and advertise. It’s a parasitical type of violence that these hackers take after: they are willing to feed off of stolen information and keep feeding until the host takes further action.
    I completely understand your implication that the physical violence dealt to the states by British military rule is unforgiving and worthy of retaliation. But how can you stop a hacker? People can physically harm people, and that is an unfortunate fact. But not every person has attained skills needed to fight hackers in the cyberwars that persist today. This is a new kind of violence that threatens modern autonomy.

    A link to the Hacker threat to the U.S.:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/12/sony-hackers-threaten-a-new-september-11th/383822/

  4. I agree that social media websites should have more options when it comes to privacy settings. As a Facebook user, I know that if you are not careful about the privacy settings, anyone can view the things that you post on your profile. Even things that you post on your friends profile page can be viewed by others who you do not know as well. I also agree with the comment above me about hackers. There are so many people who try to scam others for money by creating links that have viruses attached to it. The best way to not be a victim of the online hackers is by being mindful of the links that you click and the websites that you open up.

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