We hear about it everywhere, yet we are not quite sure how all of this has started: the riots in United Kingdom. There are daily news coverages where we see young guys, hooligans with hoods or masks destroying buildings and spreading violence across the entire country. It seems that the gangs have an unusual friend and partner in their doings – technology and social media.
I am sure that the events from this summer in Great Britain will represent the start of an ongoing debate over social media and services such as Twitter, Facebook and even communication tools like BlackBerry Messenger. We are all acquainted with the fact that during the Egyptian riots, where we can say that they had a “sane reason” to protest, social media has helped them communicate and even when the government tried to cut down Internet connections, giants as Google came in to give a hand to the protesters. Also, there was the so-called Twitter revolution in Moldova, two years ago which had resounding effects all over the world.
Now, it seems that social media is being used by hooligans to organize and plan their attacks and riots across the country. United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, David Cameron actually “accused” social media of having “fueled” the violence that erupted recently. Could this mean that very soon governments will have full control over our privacy?
Recently, we’ve been informed that the Indian government wants to monitor your activity on Twitter and Facebook, while some suggest they could be going after Google products and even Skype. And maybe the recent events from UK could serve as a pretext for approving their move faster than before. So, we have to ask ourselves, are we ready to sacrifice our own privacies for the sake of society? Are the governments “that good” as to protect us, instead of invading our intimate lives?
If you’d ask me, I’ll say that a middle solution should be taken; the government shouldn’t be allowed to record our intimate conversations or to dig our personal details on a permanent basis. The authorities should have the right to investigate only when there is a big threat to national security, such as in Great Britain now. All social services are obliged to show information, even encrypted passwords, only when a court order is presented. Obviously, a court order means a trial which will take a long while which could jeopardize quick actions from the law enforcement agencies.
Sure, some could argue that if you are a “good citizen” then you don’t have to worry about the fact that someone is spying on you. But, does it feel good to know that there is a higher authority closely watching everything that you say, write or do? Does it feel humanely? Let’s hope that our privacy will stay intact as they should be, because each one of us is equally valuable as any other and we love to preserve our identities and to keep intimate our lives.