Protect privacy rights

Phones, televisions, computers and even smart cars. These days, there is virtually nothing that cannot be hacked, tracked or followed. This may soon develop into a major problem with keeping our private lives what they are: private.

While the advent of the digital age has made it nearly impossible to keep our lives completely private, the information we choose to share online is our choice. However, personal photos saved on our phones or text messages with our parents are not meant to be shared with the world. To say that being surveilled by the government is for the sake of the welfare of the people is a stretch.

The 2013 Verizon court order is an example of the government’s complete breach of privacy. The court order revealed by Edward Snowden, which revealed that the NSA was collecting phone records of the millions of Americans who use  Verizon. California Sen. Diane Feinstein, chair of the Senate intelligence committee, argued that what was being collected was just “the type of information found on a telephone bill: phone numbers of calls placed and received, the time of the of the calls and duration.”

While Feinstein may argue that it is just information found on a telephone bill, it is still information that is tied to our private lives. The duration of phone calls and the party called  is information just for the owner of the phone, not anyone else. It is nothing more than some information being considered off-limits.

The American people should not accept that we no longer have any privacy in our lives. Although the Fourth Amendment does not directly state that we, as citizens of the United States, are guaranteed absolute privacy, it does protect us from being unlawfully searched, which is cause for some of the privacy breaches.

The recent WikiLeaks document release revealed that the CIA has found  security holes in major softwares by Apple and Android, never telling the developers and leaving them open for hackers to exploit.

If we are to say that giving up privacy is worth the security, the CIA is denying us both privacy and security. They reap the benefits for themselves and do not consider that others may take advantage of these holes.

The problem is that if we leave these security holes unattended, foreign governments and outside hackers to do the exact same thing as the CIA did. Not telling these companies about how their customers information could be compromised leaves them vulnerable to stolen information and a hacked account.

Misuse of this information is not only a breach of privacy, but it could also lead to security issues considering that we keep certain aspects of our lives to ourselves for a reason.

The very definition of privacy is “freedom from being observed or disturbed by other people.” Giving up our privacy for the sake of security is in a sense giving up a part of our freedom. There are certain boundaries that others should not have the right to cross in our own lives. Private information is private information.