DQ8-Singer

Read Peter Singer’s essay “Visible Man” in our Emerging reader and answer the “Questions for Critical Reading” (pp. 461-62). Post your responses as a comment, as usual.

14 thoughts on “DQ8-Singer

  1. 1.) Privacy in my own words is the ability to do what you want without others needing to know, such as in my house if I want to watch a tv show I don’t need the whole world knowing because I have privacy. The meaning of privacy seems to change in singers piece especially when he talks about phone tapping. Phones are thought to be privacy in a way, you can make phone calls and text other people with out everyone knowing. Well actually the government knows and can see who you text and call. this changes the meaning of privacy in a way that privacy is in terms of you and the government are private from others.

    2.) Sousveillance means the recording of an activity from the perspective of a participant in the activity. An example of this would be hidden cameras on a person in the act of a crime, or in sports people wear a camera that records their play. sousveillance is seen as a good thing that helps democracy because democracy means every one is treated equal with equal rights. An example from the article that proves it goes against democracy is where Singer states, “we have seen the usefulness of sousveillance again this year in the middle east,where the disclosure of thousands of diplomatic diplomatic cables of wiki leaks helped encourage the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions.”

    3.) There needs to be a balance on security and privacy. Although privacy is becoming a thing of the past because of social networks , the Government could lay off on the eavesdropping of people. I am not too familiar with the NSA but I believe there needs to be a balance of a finer filter of who gets looked into. We need security to keep protected but too much security would be just as bad as none. certain places require more security then others and that needs to be taken accounted for. I believe Singer thinks how I think because in the end he talks about how if meat factories had glass walls we would be a lot more vegetarians and that explains the balance on security and privacy.The walls are seen as privacy to the world because if everyone could see what was happening a lot of people would be upset.

  2. 1. I believe that the definition of privacy is the ability to keep certain things such as something personal a secret and to yourself, the ability to remain in seclusion when you wish, and not have anyone spy on you in the comfort of your own home. The places in Singer’s essay where he explains concepts of privacy and how it changes is when he said, “Over the course of Western history, we’ve developed a desire for more privacy, quite possibly as a status symbol, since an impoverished peasant could not afford a house with separate rooms” (Singer 463). “Whether Facebook and similar sites are reflecting a change in social norms about privacy or are actually driving that change, that half a billion are now on Facebook suggest that people believe the benefits of connecting with others, sharing information, networking, self-promoting, flirting, and bragging outweigh breaches of privacy that accompany such behavior” (Singer 464). Singer even said how there is always a change when the information that you post on Facebook can be taken and misused.

    2. The term “sousveillance” that Singer used in his essay means that people are using different ways like this as an effective way of informing the world of abuses of power. I believe that this term undermines democracy because our government is for the people by the people and if people are releasing information about secret matters that the government is doing in order to protect us, this can be dangerous. “Yet most government officials vehemently condemned the disclosure of state secrets. Secretary of State Hillary CLinton claimed that WikiLeaks’ revelations ‘tear at the fabric of the proper function of responsible government’” (Singer 465). Confidentiality is necessary for the government in order to avoid making it easier for terrorists and criminals to find the materials and steal them. Singer even stated, “Clinton is right that it is not a good idea to make public the location of insecurely store nuclear materials, but how much of diplomacy is life that? There may be some justifiable state secrets, but they certainly are few” (Singer 465). I completely agree with Singer that this term “sousveillance” is something that is not doing us any good at all by leaking out government secrets that are potentially keeping our country safe.

    3. We can balance the rights of the individual with the need for security by being more conscious of what we post on the internet on all of the social media networking sites. Singer said, “With some social standards, the more people do something, the less risky it becomes for each individual” (Singer 463). Throughout the essay, Singer was saying that today, people know that there is a huge hole in the sense of their privacy and they are unsure of what is really causing it when they are all on Facebook posting every detail of their life. I believe if we have the right balance of sharing everything on the internet we will be able to save some of our privacy from disappearing into thin air. I believe where Singer was going with this essay was that this internet posting needs to be done in moderation so that we will not need as much need for security because we will be shielding more private things in our life that are meant to stay private.

  3. 1. To me, privacy is the ability to conceal your private life without having it breached and invaded. Singer specifically mentions privacy when he states “we’ve developed a desire for more privacy, quite possibly as a status symbol” (463). Privacy in western cultures has become more accepting to people having privacy whereas other eastern cultures avoid the thought of privacy in places such as the home. One room houses were much more common than separate rooms for each member of the family. To Singer, privacy relates to the “status” of the family. This “status” relates to the amount of rooms that are apparent for the members of the family.
    2. Sousveillance, also known as inverse surveillance, means the recording of activities by a participant who is wearing technologies such as cameras and recording devices. For example, Singer talks about the time in 1991 when George Halliday videotaped LAPD officers assaulting a black man named Rodney King. This helped to get racism and violence in police departments noticed. Sousveillance could be considered helpful to democracy because it keeps the equality between the people. Singer states, “we have seen the usefulness of sousveillance again this year in the Middle East, where the disclosure of thousands of diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks helped encourage the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions” (465). This is an example the shows that sousveillance supports democracy because those revolutions were started because of the inequality of the people in those countries. Sousveillance helped allow them to start revolutions to attempt to create equality.
    3. We need to balance the rights of the individual with the need for security. In society today, security is necessary, the NSA and other institutions should be allowed to survey information in order to maintain security within our society. Singer states, “The world before WikiLeaks and Facebook may have seemed a more secure place, but to say whether it was a better world is much more difficult” (468). Singer believes that the security was much more apparent before we started profiling our lives and information with social media, but society before social media wasn’t necessarily a better one.

  4. 1. Privacy is the ability to keep certain aspects of life to yourself or only share it with certain other people. Singer explains privacy and how its concept changes when he said, “Whether Facebook and similar sites are reflecting a change in social norms about privacy or are actually driving that change, that half a billion are now on Facebook suggest that people believe the benefits of connecting with others, sharing information, networking, self-promoting, flirting, and bragging outweigh breaches of privacy that accompany such behavior” (Singer 464).
    2. The term “sousceillance” used in Singers essay means the recording of activities by a participant who is wearing technology such as recording devices and cameras. It can be considered helpful to democracy because it can help keep equality between the people. An example is when Singer says, “we have seen the usefulness of sousveillance again this year in the Middle East, where the disclosure of thousands of diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks helped encourage the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions” (Singer 465). This example supports democracy because the revolutions were started because of inequality of people in those countries.
    3. There needs to be a balance between the rights of the individual and need for security. As social media is playing larger roles in people’s everyday lives, there is not as much privacy. We need security to keep everyone safe and protected, but if there is too much, then it can also have negative effects on people. People need to be more conscious of that they post on social media and the internet in general. I believe Singer was saying that people need to be careful of what they post so that not as much security is needed because we, ourselves, will be protecting ourselves some.

  5. 1. My definition of privacy is the ability of an individual to keep information to themselves and being able to choose what other people know and do not know about you. In Singer’s essay he explains concepts that cause privacy to change meaning. He states how when millions of people started to post personal information on the internet, it became less risky for everyone. “Sharing information, networking, self-promoting, flirting, and bragging outweigh breaches of privacy” today as people constantly post on Facebook and tweet. This is an example of people losing their privacy by choice. The problem is when people lose privacy without a choice. For example, Verizon receives 90,000 demands for information from law enforcement each year. Singer also states that “over the course of Western history, we’ve developed a desire for more privacy, quite possibly as a status symbol” (Singer 465). People want to have large homes with a room for each person, so everyone has their privacy.
    2. “Sousveillance” is an effective way of informing the world about abuses of power. It is a term for the videos and photographs that are captured mostly on mobile phones that reveal crimes and injustices. It supports democracy because it helps to stop injustices that should not happen in a democracy that has equal rights for all citizens. Singer uses the example of a video of two Los Angeles police officers that were beating a black man named Rodney King. This video is the only reason the assault did not pass unnoticed and the two men went to prison. As a result, “racism and violence in police departments became a national issue” (Singer 465). This is an example of sousveillance supporting democracy because the officers were abusing their power by beating up the black man, and sousveillance was the only reason anyone found out about the crime. It was not right that they did this, and sousveillance is what made it right because they were caught in the video and went to prison.
    3. It is important that we balance the rights of the individual with the need for security. Today, almost everyone is on social media and people post many different things about their lives. In an age with this technology, it is important that the NSA monitors to keep our country safe and secure. Singer believes that people have a sense that their privacy is almost completely gone. This is true because they post about their lives on social media all the time and they are losing their privacy because of this. If people cut back on their social media they would obtain more of their privacy, which would also reduce the need for the amount of security necessary to monitor everything.

  6. 1. Privacy, to me, is defined as the ability to keep information from others without needing an explanation. For example, something that I might want to keep private would be my social security number. If we were all sharing those numbers they would have no meaning. Privacy places such a large role in our everyday lives with things we don’t even think about such as those numbers. In Singer’s passage he mentions privacy on multiple different occasions. Singer’s definition seems to fall right in line with the one I have projected. He mentions how we have been giving up our privacy by “voluntarily giving up troves of personal information” (Singer 462). He explores how we have allowed privacy to evolve over time. He informs us of how privacy used to be not quite as necessary since “an impoverished peasant could not afford a house with separate rooms” (Singer 463) this disabled individual privacy within the home. Now we find that we all have different bedrooms and bathrooms and don’t forget the extra room we have for the guests. We expect privacy, now we just need to learn to cherish and keep it.

    2. Sousveillance is the opposite of surveillance and is a video of something that is happening. For example, you might find a surveillance camera in a gas station in case something bad were to happen, detectives would be able to figure it out through this video. I think that this term is supporting democracy because without this we are unable to be fair when it comes to deciphering which individual might need to get charged. This avoids racism and sexism because it leaves no room for guessing or assumptions.

    3. The balance between maintaining the rights of the individual with the need for security is difficult, yet possible. We could do this by monitoring what we post on the internet and what we are sharing with people. We essentially create our own security when we determine what should and what shouldn’t be shared with the general public. Some of these things are better off kept to yourself, so if we were more careful with what we posted on the internet we would be able to maintain the right to privacy as an individual while also keeping our security. Since we have so many options when it comes to sharing information, we just need to know what can and can’t be told to the general public and what we want to keep secret. We can create our own privacy and our own security if we are careful enough with our personal information.

  7. 1. Privacy is the ability to keep something secretive to yourself. When you have privacy, you should have control. Peter Singer believes privacy as keeping things personal and he also believes we do not have a choice with it, that the loss of privacy is inevitable. Singer also talks about how our standards of privacy are constantly evolving. He states “over the course of Western history, we’ve developed a desire for more privacy” (Singer 463). He thinks this is as a status symbol. In the past, the more privacy you had the more wealthy and affluent you were.
    2. Steve Mann defines “sousveillance” as inverse surveillance. It is the citizen surveillance that is recorded and used to support someone or something. One of the first examples was in 1991 when Rodney King was beat by LA police officers. I believe this term supports democracy because it enhances equality. It makes things more just and provides evidence for situations that could turn out unfair and undeserved. Singer states that “sousveillance has become an effective way of informing the world of abuses of power” (Singer 465). Singer also adds “more information is better” (Singer 467). If “sousveillance” provides more information that it should better our world.
    3. In order to balance the rights of an individual with the need for security, the two need to have a direct relationship. As our rights increase, the security must as well. If we allow more action to take place, it must also require more monitoring. He quotes “abuses have undoubtedly accompanied the recent increase in government surveillance” (Singer 464).

  8. 1. To me, privacy is the ability for one to be free from the eyes of the public, to be able to do, say, or think something without other people knowing. Throughout Singer’s essay, he explains privacy and the changes of privacy several times. For example, he mentions that it is becoming a growing desire to the point where now, there isn’t as much privacy as there used to be. He states “when millions of people are prepared to post personal information, doing so becomes less risky for everyone” (463). Here, Singer is describing how overtime, it has become more normal to share one’s personal information to the world. Factors causing privacy to change in a society is technology. All the new technologies available to the public, such as social media and smart phones, are about expressing personal information. Singer hints as well that technology could be the culprit behind the change in privacy.
    2. The term sousveillance means to record an activity by someone who is actively involved or near the activity being recorded. This helps a democracy. Singer explains that “to have well-informed citizens with a strong sense of right and wrong…keep the government democratic” (465). You need people that are on the government’s tail watching them to make sure that they don’t abuse the power they were given.
    3. It is difficult to balance the rights of the individual with the needs for security. However, we can achieve this balance by monitoring the way the government uses their power and watching what we as citizens say and post for the world to see. Singer concludes that before the rise of WikiLeaks and social media, the world “may have seemed a more secure place, but to say whether it was a better world is much more difficult” (468). Now, we know what the government is up to. We can make sure they continue to govern justly and support the rights of Americans properly.

  9. 1. My definition of privacy is the right of someone to keep all their personal information between yourself and trusted others that you’re comfortable with. Singer explains in his essay concepts that cause privacy to have different meanings. Singer later states “over the course of Western history, we’ve developed a desire for more privacy, quite possibly as a status symbol”(Singer 465). As time goes on in our society everyone wants their own space, such as in a household everyone has their own room.

    2. Sousveillance
 is an effective way of informing the world about abuses of power. This term is used for videos and photographs that are captured mostly used to show and reveal crimes and injustices. It supports democracy because it helps stop all the crimes that should not happen in a democracy that has equal rights for all citizens. Singer goes on and uses an example of a video of two Los Angelas police officers that were beating a black man named Rodney King. This video that was found was the only reason these two men were caught and sent to prison. This caused a surge of awareness in “racism and violence in police departments became a national issue” (Singer 465). This example connects to democracy because the officers were abusing their own power by beating up a black male just because he was a different race. Sousveillance was the only reason why these men were caught.
    3. To balance the rights of an individual with the need for security, the two need to have direct relationships. Our rights willl increase, and our security will have to go up. As we progress with action, we feel required to be supervised. We just need to find that happy medium of our privacy rights and our security needs.

  10. 1. To me, privacy is the ability to keep whatever you’d like private and to yourself. Privacy is the ability to share what you want the public and keep hidden or secret what you don’t want people to know. Singer has the same thoughts as I do, “ The standards of what we want to keep private and what we want to make public are constantly evolving” (Singer 463). Singer sees a trend on how people are able to keep to themselves what they want and they are able to show what they want. Singer also believes that the meaning of privacy has been changing and evolving, “over the course of Western history, we’ve developed a desire for more privacy…” (Singer 463). Singer expresses how privacy has become more desirable over the past years. Singer talks about how just about every person in a house stays in their own bedroom and bathroom. That is different than it used to be. It shows how privacy is evolving.

    2. Sousveillance is a way to show people how people with authority are abusing and taking advantage of their authority. There a many inappropriate and wrong videos that are caught on camera of people with power abusing their power. The example that Singer used was when the LAPD were caught on camera being racist. No one would have known what was going on if it was for the videos. This examples shows that it supports democracy because crimes in the authorities hands are now being closely watched.

    3. There needs to be a balance between the rights of the individual and security. Social media plays a huge role in people everyday life and that eliminates some privacy of people. People need to understand that they are giving up privacy by being on social networks. Singer makes it sound like people know that they are losing their privacy and they are okay with it in some aspects but in other aspects they are concerned. I think that Singers main point is that privacy is being lost more and more, but people can prevent it by censoring what they post on their social networks.

  11. 1. Privacy is the things that you know about yourself that you don’t want others to know it is kept to yourself. Mark Singer sees a decline of privacy in our lives. “We sign away our privacy in exchange for the conveniences of modern living, giving corporations access to information about our financial circumstances and our spending habits, which will then be used to target us for ads or to analyze our consumer habits” (Singer, 462). Privacy to Singer is ever changing. With increasing technologies and people’s opinions change the concept of privacy. “Whether Facebook and similar sites are reflecting a change in social norms about privacy or are actually driving that change, that half a billion are now on Facebook suggest that people believe the benefits of connecting with others, sharing information, networking, self-promoting, flirting, and bragging outweigh breaches of privacy that accompany such behavior” (Singer 464). Personal opinions can be interpreted in differing ways by different people about privacy. The use of social networking and changing technologies can shift the concept of privacy one way or the other.
    2. The term “sousveillance” is inverse surveillance and has become an effective way of informing the world of abuses of power. Does this support or undermine democracy? Democracy is for the people and by the people, so if the people are revealing things about the democratic government what does that mean for democracy? Singer sees sousveillance as an advantage to the government, “we have seen the usefulness of sousveillance again this year in the Middle East, where the disclosure of thousands of diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks helped encourage the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions” (Singer, 465). The democracy is benefitting and the people are involved.
    3. There has to be a balance of the rights of an individual and the need for security. With today’s technologies and social networking people believe that their privacy is nonexistent because of the security measures. People post about their lives every day and reveal a lot on their own so they need to be protected more and be way more cautious. Security is needed to protect us but we can’t just rely on that. We must take some measures into our own hands and try to be less public online and on technology.

  12. 1. Privacy is the ability to be left alone, not being observed by other people or things. Singer sees privacy as more of a status symbol. “Over the course of Western history, we’ve developed a desire for more privacy, quite possibly a status symbol” (Singer 463). I can see where Singer is coming from, in different parts of the world the social norms are different. People of Western society feel as though they can afford privacy, therefore it should be a right. The definition of privacy is changing with the increase of people joining social media. People can actually benefit from a lack of privacy.

    2. Government surveillance is the act of observing people’s records for criminal activity. However, there is an inverse meaning; Steve Mann calls, “Sousveillance-has become an effective way of informing the world of abuses of power” (Singer 465). These are actions by citizens to release information the public should know about, pertaining to the harsh treatment of criminals by police officers, the killing of innocent civilians by the U.S. military or other hidden information. I think it supports democracy. “Assange believes, decision-making that is based upon lies or ignorance can’t lead to a good conclusion” (Singer 467). In order for the United States to be a democracy the voters need to be informed about what they are voting for or what the government is doing.

    3. Singers states, “Bentham may have been right when he suggested that if we all knew we were, at any time, liable to be observed, our morals would be reformed” (Singer 468). This would allow us to become more altruistic and the good of the nation would show more than the secrets and negativity. As voters, we need to base our decisions on the truth instead of what the government wants us to hear. This would create the balance between the right of the individual with the need for security.

  13. 1. I believe that privacy means to be able to keep every thought, action, belief, or fact about a person, a secret between that person and whoever else they want to know it. Singer describes privacy as something that is constantly changing as time goes by. He describes technology as one of the main causes for privacy to be invaded. I agree with Singer because it seems to me, and has been proven that more and more often, people are being caught in a crime through their social media and phone records.

    2. “Surveillance” means to catch footage of what is going on around us, and even right before our eyes to eliminate as much crime as possible, along with the abuse of higher powers. Singer used a great example in his essay about the police officer beating Mr. Rodney King. Mr. King was later rewarded a large amount of money for his troubles.

    3. With the world evolving into such a technological savvy place, we need to be able to know the ability of the device before we release our entire life into it. The more information we put onto the internet, the less private our lives become. The more naive we are, the more vulnerable we are to our privacy being invaded.

  14. 1. Privacy allows for people to keep things to themselves and not always have things broadcasted to the world. It is the ability to be left alone and having the right to be left alone when wanted. Singer see’s privacy as changing from day to day as he says, “The standards of what we want to keep private and what we want to make public are constantly evolving” (Singer 463). And privacy is something that has been wanted more and more nowadays. Singer agrees when saying, “We’ve developed a desire for more privacy, quite possibly as a status symbol” (Singer 465).

    2. The term Sousveillance that appears in Singer’s text is used to describe the usage of video surveillance and photographs that different people use to protect equality from being broken by people committing crime. An example that Singer uses would be, “…the usefulness of sousveillance again this year in the middle east, where the disclosure of thousands of diplomatic cables of wiki leaks helped encourage the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions” (Singer, 467).

    3. The fact that will determine how we balance the rights of security is whether or not the government’s actions are known or not. Meaning that if we still don’t know what the government does we won’t feel secure in that we may always wonder what the government does behind the scenes. I believe Singer’s view is that privacy is being lost more and more and people are becoming aware of this which makes them feel more insecure and feel more unsafe.

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