Law and Media

I remember the first high school I attended had changed the required reading during my sophomore year. So instead of reading the regular classical novels or plays, we got to read books like World War Z. This was the coolest thing in the world for a 15-year-old. I didn’t have to read another Shakespearean play, I got to read a book about the zombie apocalypse. Then we started reading a book called Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. We ended up not being able to finish it because a parent complained about a sex scene in the book, but before that, I devoured it. Little Brother is the story of Marcus, who gets caught in the wrong place at the worst time. In the middle of a terrorist attack, Marcus is taken away by the Department of Homeland Security and ordered to unlock his phone. He refuses and is tortured before being eventually released. He then decides that he’s going to use his knowledge of technology and the internet to hit back at the people who wrongfully imprisoned and tortured him.

When I first read the book I was blown away by the idea that the government would go to such lengths to unlock a cell phone. When I was reading the learning materials for this week, I was reminded that the government will do quite a bit to unlock a cell phone. I am consistently reminded that the government and many private entities want as much information about me as they can. This, by itself, is very concerning. I don’t want the government to be able to unlock my phone with an electronic skeleton key. Even if I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s like not wanting someone to go into your bedroom without your knowledge. Even if nothing was touched, it’s still an invasion of your privacy that can make you shudder.

Privacy is incredibly important and hard to keep track of when websites are pulling all kinds of data from your browser’s cookies. Some of the information that we store online is supposed to be private. However, time and time again we see that the information we thought was stored away in a secret vault, far from private eyes, can easily become public. Even googling your own name will bring up a lot more information than what most are willing to let on.

I was able to find my own address and every other address I ever remember living on with that quick Google search. And there’s no way to remove this information here in the United States. If I had a stalker, they could easily find out where I live, where my family members are, and other ways to contact me within minutes.

As there isn’t any way to remove this data from online I will continuously be monitoring what information I share with websites, how those sites use that information, and how to take that information back. I don’t want to be some kind of recluse who doesn’t have any information about themselves available online. But I also don’t want just anyone to be able to find out where I live with a few taps of their keyboard.