Currently we live in the world where everything is controlled by the government and public authorities. The best examples for that are CCTV cameras in the streets, gathering aerial or satellite imaginary, monitoring the data and traffic on the Internet and our phones and also many others. That process is called surveillance, which is defined as “..the focused, systematic and routine attention to personal details for purposes of influence, management, protection or direction”. However, I am wondering if something what is supposed to prevent or investigate a crime and protect us- citizens, organizations or objects doesn’t violate our privacy in too high level nowadays?
First of all, we all as media students should be aware of using social network analysis. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc. collects some useful information about us, such as our personal interests, friendships, relations, beliefs, wants, activities etc. As we know it may be useful for us- future media professionals. For example in PR and Advertising industry that data may be used while creating some social media campaigns. If social media sites collect some basing information about its users, it will be much easier to target a proper audience for particular campaigns. We are able to describe who we want our messages and posts to be delivered to, by choosing an age, demographics, their interests, gender etc. However, most social networks users doesn’t realise how impactful can be every ‘like’ given by them. As MIna Tsey-Vogel from Bostopn University states “This whole environment actually is telling us a story about the virtual world: that self-disclosure is not only everywhere, but that everyone engages in some way, shape or form to be gratified through this social media sites”.
However, can information shared by us on platforms like Facebook or Twitter use by some public authorities, the government or police? In October this year it turned out that CIA-funded tool called Geofeedia was being used by police to track data on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to aid in investigations. Documents show Baltimore police used the tool, called Geofeedia, during protests after the death of Freddie Gray, even feeding Instagram posts through a facial recognition system to find protestors with outstanding warrants. Although the fact that Facebook and Twitter were quick to revoke Geofeedia’s access to social feeds and effectively shut up the currents version of the tool, there are some broader tool’s implications which are hard to dismiss. Facebook and Twitter can control direct access to their data, but they have much less control where the information goes. Now that police departments are looking to tweets and Instagrams for clues, stopping them may be harder than shutting down a single app.
What do you guys think, if for example Pepsi can use a tool to find disgruntled Coke fans, why can’t police use the same tool to look for rioters and fugitives?