In today's increasingly interconnected world, the flow of data has become the lifeblood of our existence. We willingly provide vast amounts of personal information, often unaware of the potential dangers that lurk in the shadows. The rapid advancements in technology and the proliferation of surveillance mechanisms have raised concerns about the erosion of privacy and the risks associated with indiscriminate data collection.
The rise of surveillance technologies has given birth to the concept of a "surveillance state," where governments exert significant control and monitoring over their citizens. Mass surveillance programs, often justified in the name of national security, can encroach upon civil liberties and undermine the foundations of democracy. Widespread surveillance fosters a climate of self-censorship, stifling free expression and dissenting voices.
Not only: as the volume of data collected and stored continues to grow, so does the risk of data breaches. High-profile incidents involving the compromise of personal information have become alarmingly common. Cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in databases, leading to identity theft, financial fraud, and other malicious activities. The consequences of data breaches can be severe, resulting in irreparable damage to individuals and organizations alike.
One great depiction of this was done by the Netflix series called “Black Mirror”.
The sixth chapter of the worldwide famous series has in fact finally dropped after almost four years off the air. Black Mirror explores the dark side of technology and its impact on society. Episodes often depict near-future scenarios where advanced technology exacerbates existing societal problems or introduces new challenges.
A major issue related to privacy protection that was highlighted in episode 1 of this new chapter is related to consent forms: yes, the ones we often ignore because of their length, but that often hide many clauses that might result in the bleach of our privacy. The main character of this episode ; Joan - is just another victim of the shallow approach we have towards these forms. One day, out of the blue, Joan realizes her life is being used for the plot of a streaming series portraying her in a far more negative way than she is, making her a villian in the minds of many.
While Joan tried to sue the streaming company it was impossible as she had signed a consent giving the company all the rights to use her image in whatever way they may.
While the reality depicted in the episode might be exaggerated, consent forms and the data flow they represent, clearly take on even greater significance in the digital age. These documents outline how our personal information will be collected, used, and shared by organizations. By reading and understanding these consent forms, we become aware of the potential risks to our privacy and data security. It allows us to make informed decisions about the platforms we engage with and the information we disclose. Reading consent forms helps us maintain control over our personal information, protect our digital identities, and navigate the complex landscape of online services responsibly. It enables us to advocate for our own privacy rights and make choices that align with our values and preferences.
Blog: https://jlsp.law.columbia.edu/wp-content/blogs.dir/213/files/2017/03/50-Tran.pdf (Accessed: July 1, 2023).
Book: https://www.perlego.com/book/1536337/the-culture-of-surveillance-watching-as-a-way-of-life-pdf (Accessed: July 1, 2023).
Article: https://raley.english.ucsb.edu/wp-content/Engl800/Pasquale-blackbox.pdf (Accessed: June 29, 2023).
Article:https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3976770 (Accessed: June 29, 2023).