Posted: September 20th, 2022
Privacy, gives us the power to choose our thoughts and feelings and the freedom to choose with whom we share those thoughts and feelings (Matomo, 2022). Everything in our lives is driven by privacy, for instance, the use of privacy is seen when creating passwords for our phones, computers, and even when using social media. Privacy protects us from invaders, gives us respect as individuals, and most of all, it allows us to have control over our lives. For that reason, privacy, has always been and will always be a freedom that is highly respected and honored. Therefore, if the new social media app were to ask me to upload my face for free but at the end have a record of my personal information in the form of biometric facial data, I would have to decline and resort to my rights stated in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that everyone is protected from unreasonable search and seizure by the federal government (United States Courts, n.d.). Having my data available or searched without probable cause or reason would be an invasion of my privacy.
The next question that arises is: How would the theory of Utilitarianism view the app’s feature of uploading individuals’ biometric facial data? I believe the theory of Utilitarianism is important when it comes to the idea of privacy. The theory of utilitarianism states that what is moral is if the consequence of an action brings about happiness rather than unhappiness (Rachels and Rachels, 2019). Therefore, according to the utilitarian view, if privacy is a freedom that is highly valued, and uploading individuals’ faces leads to their personal data being exposed to the public, knowing that a majority of people would be unhappy, then using such app is unacceptable. The utilitarian view looks at the broader picture, what will bring about happiness or good for the majority. Thus, if looking into people’s data or personal information brings upon unhappiness rather than happiness for a majority of people, then such app should not be used.
Social Contract Theory:
The other factor to consider is the idea that the social app would be using one’s facial data to help the federal government in tracking terrorists at airports. Social contract theorists would consider the use of such app appropriate based on rules imposed by a central government for or against using the app. For instance, social contract theorists believe that what is moral is if everyone follows the rules that are put to govern them in order to promote a civilized society. Moreover, social contract theorists believe that having a central government that imposes rules and enforces them would protect people from doing harmful things such as theft or murder. With the idea of the social app helping the government track terrorists at airports, social contract theorists would state that the use of such app is appropriate as a result of the Fourth Amendment. While the Fourth Amendment prohibits an “unreasonable” search and seizure of a person by the federal government, search and seizures can be performed without a warrant if there is probable cause to believe that an individual committed a crime (The White House, n.d.). Therefore, social contract theorists would state that as a result of the government wanting to promote safety and prevent harm from invasion of terrorists, then using the social app is acceptable. In the opinion of social contract theorists, use of the social app in preventing terrorist attack at airports would bring about peace amongst everyone, promote social order and most of all, prevent what philosopher Thomas Hobbes called one’s “state of nature” which allows individuals to act in defiance of what the government constitutes as appropriate behavior.
Matomo. (2022). Why is privacy important? (Data privacy day).
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Rachels, J., Rachels, S. (2019). The elements of moral philosophy (9th ed.). Mc-Graw Hill Education.
United States Courts. (n.d.). What does the fourth amendment mean?
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The White House. (n.d.). The constitution. https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/our-government/the-constitution/
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