Money Can’t Buy Freedom

Just like the old saying goes, “there isn’t anything money can’t buy.” This seems to be true more and more each day as our government and business interests are becoming more interactive with one another. This time it is again involving the Internet; as our personal information or “data” is being sold and used for whatever the third party choses; despite lack of your consent. Although we can admit that this is one of the situations in which we would not have even cared about it if the situation had not been brought to our attention, its impact is large.

At the surface level the distribution of one’s somewhat useless information to a third party may admittedly not seem too harmful, however, that should not undermine the true magnitude of the threat it poses. It is illogical to think that our Senate has passed a measure that is set to repeal major rules and regulations the Federal Communications Commission has established to protect private information. For instance, according to Cnet.com these types of regulations have helped keep our private information secure by fining AT&T $25 million for not protecting personal information such as social security card numbers from potential hackers.

Is the potential profit to be made so great that we would risk our identities being stolen? Or even the fact that we are not asked nor notified that the information we input into the Internet will be sold and distributed to companies? The answers to those questions are definitely subjective based on whom you ask. Although, I would bet confidently that a majority of the owners of the information would not be happy about it. This scenario of prioritizing business over individual rights hardly seems new. We can see it with chattel slavery, the prison industrial complex, and pharmaceutical companies that disregard for the welfare of citizens by putting them at risk to potential dangers that could severely impact their livelihood. While we follow a capitalistic economic system that allows a free market, should any freedom be given to entities that strip anyone of their rights as a citizen? I feel as though if the government continues to prioritize business over it’s citizens, then we are doomed for destructive on a large scale. We the people need to pressure our Senators to focus on drafting laws that target critical issues such as homelessness,  before we work towards deregulating who buys our personal information.

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4 thoughts on “Money Can’t Buy Freedom

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  1. I think this is an interesting issue. Is there a way to prevent some person in some place from accessing information that you put online? The realist in me wants to say no, and that there is always going to be someone who can out-tech you. However, I do think there are steps that people personally can take, such as using safe payment methods and online putting in Social Security information through secure portals. There is also a responsibility on the part of national security in regards to citizen safety and their information being taken by other countries. However, I think it’s important to think about the reality of technology, and the fact that with progress, comes risk. These advances and growing dependency on digital mediums makes it easier for people to take advantage of others.

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    1. I definitely agree that if there is a way to keep our online personal information safe, it would be difficult. I also agree with you that people should be someone smarter about putting their information on secure sites as well as this being a responsibility of our government. This essentially is a national security issue because as you mention our information has the potential to be hacked by other countries. However, we are still caught in the dilemma of having the government have access to personal information in order to protect us but then that raises the concern of too much surveillance by government.

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  2. The birth of the internet has brought with it a new series of questions to be answered that weren’t there before. How should we go about regulating information flow? How do we define property rights in terms of internet activity? Historically speaking, we are still in the beginning phases of the internet, which means we are not yet completely used to it. It is unfair that as of now, online security measures are not effective enough to completely protect us the citizens from getting our information stolen. I agree that instead of trying to see how to profit from the widespread use of the internet, that we should work to make the security systems tighter.

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  3. Personally I too believe that our representatives should focus more on tackling critical issues such as homelessness but money talks and members of congress are more interested in helping those who backed them financially then helping their average constituent. This case of deregulating who can buy our personal information is just another example of that. At the end of the day, politicians’ chief concern is staying in power and in order to do that, they need financial support, which is why they value corporate interests so much. One of the few appealing pro-Trump arguments I heard during the election cycle was that his personal wealth would make it impossible for him to be bought off by the elite however, the fact that he quickly filled his inner circle with said elites shows this was a foolish hope.

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