What Freedom Means in Technology
December 10, 2016
Technology has become an absolutely integral part of our lives, and with that comes more concerns about personal freedom and individual rights when using technology. As technology continues to evolve, concern is increasing around the world about citizen’s freedom when it comes to using the internet, phones, and other forms of communicative technology in particular. Here are some of the issues that we face in terms of technological freedom, as well as how we can combat them.
– One of the biggest concerns when it comes to freedom and technology is government surveillance. It is well-known at this point that sometimes government agencies do have access to phone recordings and can access the things we publish online. In some cases, they can also wiretap into our live private conversations, although generally a court order is necessary before this can happen. Although there are benefits to this surveillance in some cases, such as the prevention of terrorism, ultimately we need to have user consent for surveillance before we can achieve full technological freedom.
– Another problem that many people have encountered with technology is the prevalence of private surveillance. Hacking has become much more common in recent years, and many people wonder if their private records are ever really private. Additionally, schools and employers have started surveilling social media profiles and taking them into consideration when making acceptance and hiring decisions. In order for total freedom to be achieved, these practices would need to stop.
– Additionally, many people worry about censorship when it comes to online publishing. The internet was designed to be a free space for everyone, and it becomes problematic when laws are enacted to prevent people from sharing their opinions online. We believe that the internet should remain a place for all people, regardless of what they have to say or how they want to say it.
– As new technologies are put into place, many people see them as threatening or distracting at first and discourage the use of them in school or at work. This can be very detrimental to our success as a society. Although every type of technology has its downsides, generally, the use of new technology has far more positives than it does negatives. We encourage companies to embrace the use of technology when it comes to getting work done and sharing ideas; it can help make things faster, more efficient, and even more enjoyable.
– Net neutrality has been a constant debate over the past several years. When companies achieve a monopoly (or close to it) when it comes to the internet providers market, they can essentially charge more to make the internet slower. This was a problem that Comcast users faced in 2014 and 2015 in particular, but it has happened with other providers as well around the world. We hope that in the future, freedom for internet users will increase as producers offer more choices for internet services.
Although freedom of technology still has a long way to go, it has improved significantly as our understanding of it and the implications that it has on society gets better. Movements to support freedom of technology and freedom of communication have developed in many countries around the world, and they are pushing for laws that will protect our freedom of communication online. As technology becomes integral to not just entertainment and socializing, but also to working and educating, it is vastly important that freedom be maintained and fought for. If you notice that freedom of technology is challenged in your community, say something! We must stand up for ourselves in order to make technology culture better.