‘You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every moment scrutinized.’ (Orwell 2008, p. 3).

It is without question that the idea of having your every movement documented and available to an unknown authority is chilling. Yet despite this reality, modern humanity readily subscribes to this form of surveillance. Through use of mobile devices with geolocation technology an obscene amount of data regarding an individual’s activity can be captured.

Geolocation is a devices capability to use satellite technology to track an objects (and subsequently a person’s) whereabouts (Mura 2013, p. 79). Whilst the conceptualization behind location tracking is well-meaning and idealistic. On an individual level consumers receive immense benefits from GPS navigation when using applications such as maps, weather reports or transport services. And on a societal level the prospect of using such devices to assist in emergency response, health care and security, work to reinforce the adoption of rampant geolocation apparatuses (Furini & Tamanini 2015, p. 9796). Regardless of these apparent benefits, the possibility of foreign third parties being privy to your activities can lead down a rabbit hole of alarming worst case scenarios. Anyone read 1984?

Tweets embedded from @AlcyMeehan profile. 

One of the most common arguments put forward in order to convince users that unrestrained location tracking is worthwhile, is the claim that consumer industries can use this information to target marketing and advertising to specific audiences (Mura 2013, p. 80). In theory the idea of having individually tailored ads based on your surrounding area sounds convincing.  Nonetheless, a recent survey conducted by Mura (2013) revealed that public opinion refuted the notion of targeted advertising on the basis that the information may be misused and more importantly that restricted advertisement might mean they’d miss out on a good deal which may otherwise not present itself in a tailored marketing campaign.

With 2.32 billion smart phone users across the globe in 2017 and growing steadily more numerous (Statista 2017). The concern surrounding privacy breaches and regulation of mobile devices is not disparate. Yet, despite the vast amounts of literature outlining the privacy issues faced by consumers. The cost of unchecked surveillance does not appear to outweigh the benefits of mobile device features that require 24/7 tracking. Ultimately it is apparent that convenience is one of modern civilizations greatest values.

Buzz in Google Maps by Johan Larsson (CC BY 2.0)

However, there are two key considerations that should be highlighted when discussing human’s consent to location tracking. A study undertaken by Furini and Tamanini (2015) identified that users must feel they have authorization over subscribing to geolocation applications, as opposed to being blind sighted with surveillance.

Tweets embedded from @AlcyMeehan profile. 

Furthermore, after interviewing members of the public, it was noted that consumers require obvious benefits when enabling the collection of location data. Individuals were open to applications tracking their movements as long as they gained from it (Furini & Tamanini 2015, p. 9823). Whilst it appears that many are content to continue allowing geolocation abilities to monitor their daily movements, it is not without conditions that we accept it. Perhaps once we become more active in assessing how our freedom is open to invasion, stricter regulations can be put into place ensuring individuals right to privacy.


Reference List

Buzz in Google Maps by Johan Larsson (CC BY 2.0)

Data Security Breach by Blogtrepreneur (CC BY 2.0)

Furini, M & Tamanini, V 2015, ‘Location privacy and public metadata in social media platforms: attitudes, behaviors and opinions’, Multimedia Tools and Applications, vol. 74, no. 21, pp. 9795-826, doi:10.1007/s11042-014-2151-7

‘Glenn Greenwald: Why privacy matters’ 2014, YouTube, TED, 10 October, 1 August 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcSlowAhvUk&feature=youtu.be>.

Mura, R 2013, ‘Geolocation and targeted advertising: Making the case for heightened protections to address growing privacy concerns’, Buffalo Intellectual Property Law Journal, vol. 9, pp. 77-88, retrieved on 9 August 2017, <http://www.heinonline.org.ezproxy-f.deakin.edu.au/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/biplj9&div=6&gt;.

Orwell, G 2008, 1984, Penguin Books, London, UK.

Statista 2017, Number of smartphone users worldwide from 2014 to 2020 (in billions), Statista, retrieved on 8 August 2017, <https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/>.


4 thoughts on “The Passive Acceptance of Privacy Invasion Over the Passage Of Time

  1. You make a very good point that digital surveillance is all about convenience (whats in it for me). What can we get in return for being monitored by who knows who and who else might have access to that information too.
    excellent utube video. very appropriate to your blog post.
    Well written, you did not try to cover too many points, stuck to the main theme, will be taking some pointers from you there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Alcy, what a well researched and interesting post! I thoroughly enjoyed that you considered both sides of issues surrounding geolocation, thus forming coherent and concise arguments. You make a very relevant point in that in the 21st century convenience has become our greatest measure of somethings effectiveness and worth, modern technologies catering more and more to meet this, our lives becoming more and more effortless by the day! Your opening quote utilises WordPress’ functions well, and your supporting media integrates seamlessly, contributing to the flow of your post. You could potentially demonstrate further knowledge of this topic by using a real-life example of geotagging, incorporating this with your discussion of pro’s and con’s. While the video embedded is great, there may be the potential for copyright issues, making your own media definitely something you could consider to, again, further demonstrate your obvious wide knowledge of such a topic. Overall, really awesome read. Well informed and captivating, good job!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Alcy,
    Looking at this post, I thought back to a conversation with someone who told me that eventually privacy would become non-existent. The level of research is well established more than I’ve seen in any other blog post. I also noticed you’ve leaned more into the doom and gloom aspect of surveillance, which I honestly I understand. It’s hard to look at the concept of privacy, something that we once considered a right and to also acknowledge it’s disappearance in a positive light. Some may argue for the middle of the road approach, but I believe it’s well done.


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