The AccSoc Press Article by Brian Lee

Technology surrounds our daily lives and yet, we feel the obligation to use it from day to day without fully encompassing the full risks that come along with it. Take Facebook, Google, Amazon and Microsoft – the “leaders” of the modern world as they are allowed to freely claim private human experiences as free raw material to only transform them into behavioural data. And this leads to the question ourselves of how private is our privacy? 

The 21st Century has given birth to what is called “epistemic inequality” – the injustice behind who is provided access to our privacy and the power that accrues knowledge, as the tech giants seize control of information and learning itself. In a society where “surveillance capitalism” has become increasingly utilised between global enterprises, smaller businesses and companies will have access to these collection technologies. 

This will make surveillance capitalism the norm for businesses for things such as marketing purposes and will not just be limited to the giants of Microsoft and Facebook. In such a society where the power, the expertise, the data are all concentrated in the hands of a few companies, it is quite uncertain whether they should be allowed such things. 

Furthermore, social media/content sharing platforms currently don’t have any legal responsibility of managing user posted contents. What are the consequences of such unregulated online social spaces? Well, fake and biased information will be able to spread quickly, which can influence individuals who may not consider the misinformation. Additionally, people who already have misinformed views can use these fake information to spread their narrative and ‘support’ their ideas. 

Essentially, it is up to the people who have ultimate control over what we share and being aware of which personal data we are making it available for other companies to look over. And remember to always ask ourselves, how private is our privacy?