Analytic view of privacy in an “Ubiquitous Media” landscape

1.) Do employers have the right to know what their employees do when they are not working? Why or why not?

-I do not believe that employers have the right to know the private actions of their employees.  By definition, an employers role is only superior in the workforce, and as such, should only be able to exercise that superiority in reference to actions reflected in the workplace.  However, I do believe that if an employer becomes aware of troubling actions made in the employee’s private life they have the right to respond professionally as long as the conduct in question has potential harm to the organization.  This is why extra care must be taken in the age of social media, where employers can be made aware of private behavior, and that private behavior can reflect very publicly on the image of your organization.

2.) Can these cases with professional athletes (Sanderson, 2009) be applied to (or compared with) other types of employees — such as lawyers, teachers, advertising sales reps, etc.  Why or why not?

– Cases of professional athletes and their privacy rights cannot be applied to more pedestrian professions because these celebrities are immediately recognizable without the help of any technology.  If someone posts a picture of a celebrity doing something questionable, the subject of the photo has no choice in being recognized, and as such, reprimanded.  In the case of other professions, their identification in online photographs is largely attributable to their maintenance or negligence of their online identity on sites like facebook.

6.) Is the typical college student’s participation in Facebook an example of Abe’s “peer surveillance?” Why or why not?

– I do not believe that typical Facebook use is congruent with Abe’s idea of peer surveillance.  Abe’s example was Mixie’s tracing utilities that allowed a user to see what people were interacting with their page.  Facebook, however, only posts information that users want, or can expect, to be posted.  There is a difference between a service openly reporting to everyone u have a link to that you were tagged in a photo or updated your relationship status, and a service secretly reporting your page viewing to the person whose page it is.

7.) When you think about Abe’s claim that “every aspect of our communication via those media can be easily traced back and stored” (p. 76), does this seem good to you, or bad? Why or why not? Consider the idea that everyone is monitoring everyone else.

– I both like and dislike this concept.  One of the things I find to be favorable about interactive media is its archived nature.  The idea that I don’t have to keep of track of things that myself and others say because the internet is keeping track of it really appeals to me as a lazy person.  Keeping in mind the last part, however, does make me a little bit uneasy.  Something like this would seemingly put the ordinary citizen in a similar boat as the athletes mentioned in Sanderson’s article.  To me that seems like society going in the opposite direction of where it should.  We need to work on making celebrities have privacy similar to ordinary citizens, not the other way around.

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4 Responses to “Analytic view of privacy in an “Ubiquitous Media” landscape”
  1. Carol says:

    Abe’s claim of “every aspect of our communication via those media can be easily traced back and stored” sort of lowers my intention to use those media as my communication tool. Although it is quite convenient for people to trace the information by these media; however, knowing that everyone might have a chance to reach my personal information or thoughts gives me this weird, insecure feeling. But I know it is impossible to not using these kinds of media when communicating. Maybe what we should do is to teach people about the media ethics.

  2. “In the case of other professions, [someone’s] identification in online photographs is largely attributable to their maintenance or negligence of their online identity on sites like facebook.”

    There are a lot of professions, I think, where a photo someone else posted of you might have a negative consequence if your employer saw it. People who are not celebrities but work in the public eye — like teachers, religious leaders, and even local officials such as the mayor or city council member — might be ostracized for off-duty behavior.

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