Saturday, March 10, 2007

QotW6: Space of my own

In this advance technological age, it is not surprising that privacy is lost. The technologies that man creates make it so easy to invade into people’s privacy. Often we find ourselves letting out personal information to others unknowingly. Filling up the “About Me” profile page in online social network sites, filling up survey forms or even lucky draw coupons are ways in which we disclose our personal information unintentionally.

Privacy is often seen as the ability of one to keep their lives and personal affairs out of public view, or to control the flow of information about themselves. (“Privacy,” 2007) As for me, I see privacy as a personal privilege. The privilege to have secrets and to be left undisturbed by others. However, it is hard to maintain the rights of this privilege in this modern era. Technologies make it difficult to keep things private. The Internet has vastly increased the opportunities for individuals to subject themselves to the demands of the personality market, resulting in ever increasing confusion and anxiety about how much of ourselves to reveal to strangers. (Rosen, 2004)

How then are we suppose to know where is the limit for us to stop revealing personal or important information of ourselves. I guess different people would possess different degrees of self-revelation. And within the degree, each would have a set of “rules” to determine how much to reveal. I too have a set of “rules” which I follow online as well as offline. One of the forum that I participate in would be"Cozycot". In there, I would abide according to the et of "rules" that I came up with to guide me on how to protect my own privacy. One of the rules would be, when possible, use pseudonym instead of real name. For instance, I refrain from using my real name when I participate in the forums that I am a member of. As stated, “it is now commonplace on a website to reveal hobbies, favourite foods and music, and pictures of children” (Rosen, 2004). I would remind myself not to reveal too much personal information when I communicate with other members of the forums. Sometimes, others would first provide information about themselves in hope that you too, would provide similar information. In instances whereby this happens, one should be wary and not be too quick in responding. It is worth the effort to be extra careful when one’s privacy is in stake.

Other than that, I avoid providing additional informal about myself. In cases whereby it is optional to reveal information about myself, I will choose not to provide any information. In addition, basic acts such as changing passwords regularly, avoiding revealing personal information to third parties and thinking before revealing any information would help in protecting one’s privacy.

With constant technological innovation, protecting one’s privacy lies in our own hands. Take the recent case of the “Bus Sex Videotaping” that cased quite a stir for example. As quoted from the news article “The couple's indecent romp was caught on video by a fellow commuter, who sent the mobile phone footage to Stomp, The Straits Times' interactive portal for readers STOMP” (Sim, 2007). In the news article, it raised the question of who should be at fault – the couple that got carried away or the commuter that got interested and recorded the incident down. Did the commuter invaded into the couple’s privacy or did the couple invaded into fellow bus riders’s privacy? The news article did gave some insights on what members of the public think. In my opinion, I guess both parties are at fault. Both invaded into each other’s privacy. As the saying says “it takes two to tango”. Clearly, if the couple managed to practise more self-control and not invade into the commuter’s privacy, then the fellow commuter would not have the chance to invade into their privacy as well. In short, if we do not want others to invade into our privacy, we too should not invade into theirs. In a way, privacy can be seen as something that goes hand-in-hand with respect. It is something that we provide others as a form of respect.

In general, privacy is hard to be defined. What privacy is to me might not be what it is to you. Privacy is an exclusive content. One person privacy is another person’s suppression of free speech and another person’s attack on free enterprise and marketing. (Sullivan, 2006) It is our own to decide how we want to protect our own privacy. Protecting privacy can be taught. But ultimately, the decision to learn and want to protect privacy lies on the individual. Everyone has secrets. And if we do not want others to know about them, we need to learn how to do so.


Privacy. (2007, March 6). In: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved March 9, 2007, from

Rosen, J. (2004, July 19). The Naked Crowd. Retrieved March 9, 2007, from

Sullivan, B. (2006, October 17). Privacy Lost: Does Anybody Care? Retrieved March 9, 2007, from

Sim, M. (2007, January 14). Bus sex videotaping. AsiaOne Digital. Retrieved March 9, 2007, from

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Good research into the ethics of soursveillance. Full grade.