Privacy. A relatively new topic that’s been dominating the media and public concern.
Tracking, advertising, spying, and cookies are all buzzwords that float around the debates on privacy. It seems as though—especially recently—modern society has a real issue dealing with human rights in regard to privacy.
But, where does this growing alarm stem?
Odds are if you’re reading this right now, if you’re not reading this ON your smartphone, there is one nearby. Mine is sitting next to me as I type this.
The trepidation surrounding privacy is understandable, since smartphones bring fears of tracking, recording, and potentially eavesdropping. And from this perspective, it is normal that we all would have a serious, vested interest in our privacy.
In response to this feeling of lack of control, some people might be tempted to reject technology, leaving smartphones behind. Yet, it seems unreasonable to travel without complete and total reachability since we’ve become so accustomed to it, especially in the U.S.
So, we are connected. We are available at almost any time of day. We are accountable for what we are doing almost all the time.
Potential positives of greater connectivity
Whether it be long and daunting terms of service agreements or pop-up windows that tell us our browser must allow cookies, we are continually manipulated by corporations. We struggle to reconcile with the results of sleazy business tactics and the famous dark patterns that capture consumers in a cycle that spoils privacy.
Oftentimes—and for good reason—we are blind to the potential positives of this connectivity because we have become commoditized by it. But, there are clear positives to the connectivity that the internet and smartphones have brought to us.
We can become increasingly accountable, transparent, and aware, helping us build greater communities.
Connectivity is a double-edged sword. If you’re not controlling it, it acts as a force that seems to entrench on your rights. If you are controlling it, connectivity can become a first-rate tool in assisting both you and your fellow community members.
Harmony & accountability in the greater population
Harmony is a term that has historically been used to describe a plurality of ideas, and I want to be obvious with what I mean by societal harmony. The core context for our conversation is safety. In this vision of societal harmony, a person ideally would be left in the same state or better-off after every interaction with another member of society. Not that lofty of an idea, but it seems hard to actually execute.
This idea is not new; we as humans have been trying to fix our world ceaselessly.
What is new is this interconnection with each other at the level achievable right now.
The technology we have at our fingertips is an unprecedented development in human history, and if utilized in the right way, this double-edged sword could provide a path to a greater and safer everyday reality.
The global community has unearthed a great potential in technology that everyone can join in on.
An opportunity has presented itself, and it can lead us to a safer, friendlier global community.
Connectivity can bring sorely needed aid to anyone, if only the people capable of providing that aid are aware. And with smartphones and the internet, this kind of potential is at our disposal.
The power of the ostensive good
Facebook popularized this notion through their mission statement. Though at first it echoed,
“Making the world more open and connected,”
the company faced heavy criticism, and was accused of inspiring difference and conflict rather than bringing people closer together. Their new mission statement reads,
“Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
A common argument leveraged against them is that this positive connectivity relies on the hope that the ostensive-good remains good, and it must be regulated by an opaque, private corporation.
What this instance has shown the world is that, in order for technology to bring true connectivity, it requires transparency and community to be prevalent in delivery.
The corruptible few & the transparent majority
If everyone is aware of what is happening, then the corruptible few are at odds with the transparent majority. If we all work to create technologies that rely on community, then information becomes our ally, not our detriment. Connectivity can be a great ally of community if kept in check by the community. This might sound abstract, vague, or over-the-top, but there is an actual and practical result.
As Ulzi, a technological initiative to bring awareness to and prevent sexual assault, we aren’t just sending notifications to a select few. Ulzi works by employing the power of connection to all, not just the powerful, and builds on the technology and awareness that is flourishing more and more in society today. The more of us that are present and mindful, the more protected each and every member of society becomes.
What we can do
Interconnecting will prevent an individual from abusing the system. Ulzi is one of the many organizations trying to take that next step in turning our constant connectivity into an earnest and helpful tool, rather than a method to sell widgets. Through the amazing abilities that modern technology has created, everyone has the liberty to impact change in the community and set a precedent by using our connectivity for the betterment of humanity.
Many people today are on a mission to promote awareness, prevention, healing, and safety through the power of community. Here’s how you can be a part of it.
Join the conversation. Take the pledge. Lead the change in your community.