Three Tech-Toys you probably use that raise Ethical Dilemmas

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Wearable Tech

Wearable health tracking Devices represent challenging ethical issues for those involved. There is far too much ability for control and manipulation by large companies that these represent. Insurance companies face the ethical dilemma of not utilizing wearable health technology to deny insurance to pregnant mothers. This and other examples, including early-onset diabetes detection (again insurance) or other health conditions are more than enough reason to question these devices’ ethical integrity (Wearable Devices: Security Risks — HealthcareInfoSecurity, n.d.).

Find My Friends

The Find my Friends app, which was rolled out in 2011 as part of iOS 12, raises ethical challenges in that many people are unaware that their friends can track them. If your friends can be found so can you. Granting access to said tracking is far too easy and two available. Individuals have a surprising lack of understanding of what physical tracking can represent for big companies (Tiffany, 2019). I’ve had many conversations where this exact technology has come up, and having arguments with people about these innovations is fruitless because they are seen as useful. This individual utility overtakes the risk that it represents to their safety in their perspective.

Snapchat location tracking

If any technology is inconceivably over the top, useless, and highly dangerous, it is Snapchat tracking. And with snap maps, people can see where strangers are and what they are doing at any given moment. And everyone’s friends can see each other (yes there are settings for this but still…). People’s reasoning for this is usually something like, why should I care because I have nothing to hide? I’m my experience; these individuals haven’t invested in educating themselves about the true risks of being blasé about online security. Honestly, this is a valid opinion, and I respect it; people have the right to choose their life-focus, and security may be a detrimental focus. They have the right to use their mental resources how they want and should not be taken advantage of because of this preference. Being aware of data security constantly is a very second nature kind of thinking for some people, and for others, it is very contradictory to who they are. This emphasizes why companies like Snapchat and Facebook need to be held accountable for any negative outcomes of these purported advancements in technology and convenience. Their products’ genius lies in the strange reality that many people are being taken advantage of and so many of them don’t even care. They just accept the tracking. It seems like these specific people only start to care whenever they finally get hacked or their trust is violated.

What is the point of this article?

We’ll get there… But what constitutes hacking? One could argue that being manipulated online into preferring a specific product is a form of brain hacking. At the same time, others may argue that this is a convenient form of product discovery. Who is right? The Jury is out on that question and may not be reaching a verdict anytime soon. But in the interim, we must stand against unethical use of public data or private data.

This fails to mention the psychological impacts that studies have shown apps like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, and the newcomer TikTok have on our brains. It’s one thing for a 35-year-old to Peru’s social media for pleasure. It seems different when you see a two-year-old with an iPad in place of a good old-fashioned hardcover children’s book. To wrap this up and cement this point, consider this news article. In 2017 a man tracked his girlfriend with Snapchat snap maps and killed the man she was with (Smith, 2017). He was able to do this because of the lax privacy settings on her phone. Am I arguing for enabled infidelity? Hardly, however, I am arguing for personal privacy. The freedom of choice is only ours if we are truly aware of what choices we have. With thousands of privacy acknowledgment pages and documents to sign, we rarely know what actual rights we have signed away. These three technologies should change if not completely go away. Well, we should leave FitBit… after all it’s so convenient.

References

Smith, M. (2017, November 7). Guy tracks down girlfriend via Snapchat Snap Map, stabs man she’s with. CSO Online. https://www.csoonline.com/article/3236486/guy-tracks-down-girlfriend-via-snapchat-snap-map-stabs-man-shes-with.html

Tiffany, K. (2019, November 20). The Most Useful App Is Find My Friends. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/11/find-my-friends-location-sharing-gps-history-google/602281/

Wearable Devices: Security Risks — HealthcareInfoSecurity. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2021, from https://www.healthcareinfosecurity.com/interviews/wearable-devices-security-risks-i-2764

Strategic Analytics Master’s Student at Brandeis University with sales experience in both the automotive industry and Real Estate.

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