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Cyber Spying

How social media has influenced our system of privacy

We watch in awe as the President of the United States communicates his displeasure of the day’s events with late night tweets. This demonstrates just how far we have gone in our integration of social media as a method of communication. We should not be surprised that the KGB as well of other governments‘ intelligence agencies (think China and North Korea, as well as Al Qaeda) have gone there to get information.

We thought we might be vulnerable to the National Security Agency listening in on our cell phone conversations. But, if Kellye Ann Conway is to be believed (even our television sets and microwave ovens may be instruments of spying. The average American citizen does not know what to believe or of what to be wary. We do know that Snowden or WikiLeaks or Russia are all too anxious to propagate the findings resulting from cyber spying and FOX NEWS ,

Breitbart, and even President Trump himself are anxious to let the world know.

I am not sure it was wise for Hillary Clinton to use a personal server in her position as Secretary of State or for the Democratic National Committee to not have taken its security more seriously. But all of us who use social media should be aware that our words are not for our eyes only. The world may be listening. So it is important that we watch what we say and do using this form of expression. What we put out electronically can be a permanent record of our actions and thoughts. We should engage our brains before our mouths or fingers.

We can all celebrate that social media has no biases. If you are lucky enough to have access, your opinion counts as much as any other user. It does not matter whether it is unsubstantiated or heavily researched. It does not even matter whether it is true or false. All that matters is that it is your opinion. So an opinion can be formed by what you heard, or what you read, or even what you think. Facts can take a back seat. While we celebrate equality of access regardless of economic (or educational, or emotional) standing, we should be concerned about the amount of misinformation that has become commonly accepted as true. Have we gone too far?

There are many benefits that come from the freedom that social media affords. No longer are we constrained by the cost of access and who controls the ink if we want to voice our opinion. But discipline in its use is still required in order for social media to be valuable to political discourse. We should endeavor not to communicates lies or impugn the integrity of others. We should verify what we have to say before we propagate things unverified that can subsequently be proven untrue. We must fight the urge to communicate just because it is easy or just because we can. Words still matter.

Maybe we should think for a moment, before we hit that send button

Brad Thompson

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