It’s a Changing World: Public Communication

The changing dangers and risks of privacy have made public communication more challenging. Technology, cybercrime, and privacy are huge issues now. Cameras capture picture and video everywhere. The lense can be recording us even when we’re not aware or haven’t been given any notice.

We’re far beyond Candid Camera now. Back then, spy gear and hidden cameras were usually romanticized or fantasized about…now everyone has the ability to record and disseminate anyone’s actions.

This convenient technology can strip away privacy since small devices like smartphones can record someone so easily. Unwanted voyeurism has reached new heights with well publicized violations and victims.

The basic “it’s only bad if you get caught” approach continues to evolved to disgusting levels. Avoiding any association of identity to get away with these acts hurts society. Counter threats don’t help either and remind me of road rage incidents with people shouting “I know where you live”.

The act is magnified. The example is magnified. The emotions are magnified. Common sense and decency are minimized if considered at all. It’s easy to hurt and harder to love.

Many times the shock comes after the violation. People cannot often react to the violation at the time it occurs because they do not know, which has created a culture who victimize for their own gain without considering the consequences…the future consequences especially.

New rules can help protect, but we have to take special considerations and action ourselves. Try to ask people what their preference is and explain why you’re asking (consideration, etc.)

Let’s start with a base example of evolving public communication

Knowing and especially remembering a person’s name in public can be good, but sometimes we need to stop right there and give a friendly wave instead of blurting out their full name.

Sure, it might seem more courteous to recognize and greet someone by name to avoid a risk public embarrassment at a business event. Maybe we want to give ourselves a pat on the back for remembering their name. Whatever our thinking is, we need to take a step back and consider the other risks involved.

I greet John Doe and his wife Jane using their full names and even mention their place of work (a candy factory) when I ask if they’re stocked up and ready for Valentine’s Day. They’re happy to see us and wish us well. We’ve helped our social standing and boosting our basic human need for friendship, right? Well, nearby is a person who lives in the same local area that felt slighted by John in the past. This person just heard all this information and is looking for revenge against John.

John doesn’t know this person has it out for him. Jane doesn’t know that she might be a target of this person. I don’t realize I provided public information to a person who wants to use it for nefarious purposes.

This person wants to use this information we provided to feed his personal vendetta against John. He searches “John Doe”, “Jane Doe”, and their names with the candy factory name and the state. He now knows where they live. He searches their public voting records online for more information and so on.

This situation cannot be detected inside the person’s mind. The recording world can have footage this person’s actions, but they need someone to analyze and recognize what’s happen or what might happen. I’m thinking of the concepts in the 2002 film Minority Report as I write this feature. People are still trying to stop the crime before it happens today.

So how do we deal with data privacy? With data protection…and consideration. It may seem like a losing battle to spend so much time on something that might happen to us, but using common sense and decency can be the best practices. We see more practical deterrents for more publicize and often more volatile situations, but the mental health aspect cannot be ignored.


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