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write response with your original ideas to each author

  • These responses must reflect critical thinking. Using evidence to support your reasoning, provide commentary responding to peer insights. This may include agreeing, disagreeing, or adding additional insights or considerations. In either case, you should bring in reasoning or ideas not addressed by the author. 
  • Each response must be a minimum of a paragraph, but no more than two paragraphs. 

As the growth of individual data expands, consumers’ concerns about their privacy also expands. Privacy is the exclusion of others from knowing certain aspects of someone’s information or data. The concept of privacy only applies to areas where human interaction is likely to occur, and there is no privacy issue on a deserted island with no human footprint. There are three different forms of privacy: First somatic privacy. Refers to the private parts of the human body, which cannot be exposed to ordinary outsiders. Second Spatial privacy, it refers to maintaining a certain distance with non-intimate people. Third information privacy, this refers to the protection and control of personal information. Information about individuals includes: Inherent characteristics. Where is this person from? Who is he or she? Date of birth, gender, nationality, etc. Sometimes it also acquired sexual characteristics. The person’s history, such as address, medical records, and shopping history. Lastly is about personal preferences. What does this person like? Include interests, hobbies, favorite brands and TV shows, etc. The above information can be linked to an identified or identifiable person.

On the internet, especially in the era of big data, loss of privacy can easily occur. When conducting transactions and registration, individuals need to provide private information. Credit card information, ID number, phone number, mother’s maiden name, address, etc. are collected and used by companies and public agencies, which may lead to loss of privacy. Fraud and impersonation are malicious activities that result from the direct or indirect misuse of private information. In addition, function creep often occurs, where the original purpose of obtaining information is quietly and unknowingly expanded to include the informed and voluntary consent of the participants. Functional creep occurs both in business and in government surveillance. 

Should privacy be given up? There is a view (the “post-privacy movement”) that privacy is a means of controlling the sharing of information, and in the era of web 2.0 or big data, privacy can no longer be properly protected and should be voluntarily abandoned. In my view, privacy is a basic human right. In addition, the loss of privacy will cause serious losses to the data market, and privacy must be carefully protected. Personal information is the currency of the data market. Like any currency it must be stable and trustworthy. This is the key. While consumers are concerned about the use of their data, are willing and even desperate for others to share some of his personal information (when they have an appropriate benefit in return). Consumers “spend” their personal data when the deals and conditions are right. The biggest challenge for all stakeholders is how to establish a trusted flow of data. Most consumers or users do not know how their data is being used, nor are they able to proactively manage and control them, but want their digital identities to be treated responsibly and openly. In my opinion, businesses and public agencies need to inform consumers or users how their personal data is used and to protect privacy. As far as I am concerned, there are three essential elements to ensuring sustainable data flows: firstly the benefits to consumers must outweigh the costs of sharing data. Secondly there must be transparency about how data is used. nd thirdly individual privacy can be protected. 

Technological products nowadays as household appliances like some high-tech auto robots that help people with housework, various commuting vehicles, and dazzling apps on mobile phones are creeping into our daily life, leaving people more disposable time by sparing them part of arduous work. Such inventions changed people’s normal lives more than ever before. However, with a careful look at the whole picture, the word ‘ethic’ is now being more and more cited worldwide. Ethics guiding people on ‘how best to live’ is now facing some problems when the leading technologies such as data science needs data collected from users, but without appropriate policies, this would lead to data abuse, which arouses concerns from not only critics but also citizens among the nation.

One obvious argument is that although cutting-edge technology brings about most advanced tools like ‘deep learning algorithms’, which has been proved really powerful in decision making, there still remain some alarming ethical issues. Vallor and Rewak believe that lack of transparency of using data will lead to public concerns. In the past, experts in different industries such as bank manager who approve loans, employers decide to hire and so on, are mainly based on their experience and they can tell a reason why they make such a decision eventually. However, after Artificial Intelligence came out, such machine learning methods as deep learning are replacing humans’ job in decision making nowadays. When such a company gets the data from the users, and uploads them to the datasets which deep learning algorithms will be based on them. After iteration of computing, the algorithm finally gives a certain answer whether yes or no. According to Knight(2017)’s research at MIT, he points out unless we can interpret the reason why such a decision is made, for example, which index or coefficient make contribution to the final decision, then we can improve the decision-making progress more understandable and lead to better use of such technology. Vallor and Rewak mention an example that a married couple who wants to apply for business loans. Both the couple are promising and bank consultant tell them they should pass the test and get the loan. However, after the evaluation of computer software, they are rated as ‘moderate-to-high’ risk and cannot get approved without a rational reason. This brings much trouble to people’s everyday life.

Furthermore, more precise and up-to-date policies should be introduced by the government in order to supervise such misleading and abuse of data usage. People are still in lack of the protection of such laws and policies which may cause potential data leaks or abuse. Knight finds that the European Union starting from the summer of 2018 asked companies to give explanations for automated decision-making regarding their users. Besides, European Union also claimed that ‘individuals should not be subject to a decision that is based solely on automated processing (such as algorithms)’, which made a huge contribution to the legislation of providing data abuse.

Nevertheless, such policies and public concerns may also turn out to be a hypercorrection. There are some policies that were aimed at protecting some targeted vulnerable groups of people but led to even worse situations. For instance, McCabe(2021) told a story about age checks with regard to some internet applications such as YouTube, Twitter, and so on. People are currently facing stricter age checks than ever before since the policies were built for the protection of children. It becomes necessary for people to upload their information of credit card or identity card to prove they are entitled to certain-age contents, which ‘upends one of the internet’s central traits: the ability to remain anonymous’.

In conclusion, such cutting-edge technologies truly benefit people’s lives to some degree, however, they may lead to data abuse, for example, nowadays algorithms of deep learning may not be interpreted well as long as it is improved in the future. Meanwhile, it also faces a dilemma. On the one hand, the lack of completed laws and regulations so that companies are under insufficient governance may cause data leaks and abuse. On the other hand, over-supervising of data usage can lead to hypercorrections which would arouse public concerns.

In time of Covid-19 pandemic, Big Data is widely used. China regards health QR code and travel QR code invented by Xiaodong Ma as a good tool in prevention and monitoring of the pandemic. The health code shows someone’s states, healthy, indirect contact, close contact or infected using different colors red, yellow and green. And it could also record one’s nucleic acid duration, if the duration is more than several days, the color would become grey. The travel code records one’s travel trajectory in the past 14 days. If the pandemic broke out in one of the cities in the trajectory and the risk level of city(depend on the density of infected patients) was escalated, there would be a ‘*’ in the travel code means someone maybe a potential carrier of the virus and he or she maybe refused by some public places. The two codes use Big Data of citizens exactly and do work for epidemic prevention, however, call in question of ethics of them is also popular. The main issues addressed in this essay are three unethical risk of using two codes: a)Risk of ‘Regulatory Capture’ from ‘Public-Private Partnerships’ b)Risk of abuse not for epidemic prevention and control purposes and c)Risk of shelving basic principles of law due to the long-term influence of ‘Public Interest Priority’. 

First, the risk of ‘Regulatory Capture’ from ‘Public-Private Partnerships’. It is hard for the government to prevent the pandemic alone, so assistance from social institutions like enterprises. The assistance was proved helpful, however, this kind of ‘Public-Private Partnerships’(Bing Li & Akintola Akintoye, An overview of public-private partnership, 2003), may also generate the ‘Regulatory Capture’(Ernesto Dal Bó, Regulatory Capture: A Review, 2006). Regulatory Capture is a form of corruption of authority that occurs when a political entity, policymaker, or regulator is co-opted to serve the commercial, ideological, or political interests of a minor constituency. It occurs when most or all of the benefits of a program go to some single, reasonably small interest but most or all of the costs will be borne by a large number of people. It is what happening in China now, citizens take nucleic acid for free, the cost seems be payed by the government, however, the expense still originates from taxpayers. Tax revenue per year is limited, more in nucleic acid, less in other aspects like education, health care, environment protection and etc. Ten nucleic acid enterprises in China earned 16 billion yuan(RMB) in the first half of the year. Citizens have to do the nucleic acid to get a ‘green code’ for their normal life. In the endless rounds of nucleic acid, citizens lost time and energy, government lost money, the enterprises were the only winner. In conclusion, unethical Regulatory Capture rose from color of the code is actually happening, if it was not controlled, health code may result in out of order.

Second, the risk of abuse not for epidemic prevention and control purposes. It is truth that health code determines relatively accurately the limits of individual freedom of movement while legally collecting personal information in compliance with laws and regulations. However, the collection of personal information is difficult to avoid being abused by public power. To meet epidemic prevention needs, governments have to frequently obtain mobile phone data from citizens based on their authority or external factors, but informed consent from citizens at the front end of the data is often difficult to achieve. For example, in June, 2022, nearly 14000 citizens who came Henan province from low-risk areas were given ‘red code’ because they have been to a village bank. Some depositors from other provinces were unable to return to their domicile due to the red code and had to sign a ‘guarantee’, which read ‘no money has been deposited in the village bank and no online or offline petition is guaranteed’. The fact was money in this bank was diverted illegally and the equity hole was impossible to make up, so the bank corrupted some government stuff to do this. The scholar David Lyon believes that people ‘s acquiescence to the ‘declaration of information’ means that the ‘surveillance culture’ continues to expand, and further condones the penetration of public power into the daily lives of citizens, forming a ‘flexible surveillance society'(Lyon, D., Surveillance society, 2001).In the special time of fighting Covidvirus, the problem could be temporarily shelved, however, citizens should know that it is unethical, and when the pandemic could be handled mildly, it need to be repaired immediately. 

Last, Risk of shelving basic principles of law due to the long-term influence of ‘Public Interest Priority’(KAKAVAND, M., & Turkashevand, S, The Jurisprudential Principles of the Preference of Public Interests over Individual Interest by Referring to the Opinions of Imam Khomeini and Sheikh Tūsi, 2020). The two codes really cost inconvenience and troubles in normal life. In my hometown, Qingdao City, a ‘green code’ which means negative nucleic acid in 48 hours and a travel code without ‘*’ are required to take public transportation in a long period of time. And I was stopped by the security of a shopping center in the June because the travel code showed I have just come from Wuhan, but there is no ‘*’ in my code! I heard many people complained having to walk to company in the morning because forgetting take the nucleic acid last night. Why not a taxi? Because a taxi may need the two codes! There is no low reads ‘citizens without green code must not take public transportation or go into the shopping center’, so in fact, my legal rights have been violated. This is ‘Public Interest Priority’, sacrificing personal interest for public interest. In special time of war, pandemic and etc, it is acceptable, however, it do shelve basic principles of law and may expend to future normal time.

In conclusion, health code and travel code did make a great difference in fighting Covid-19, they helped collect virus influence, decrease possible infected cases and reduce property loss, and they also have unethical features discussed above. Fostering strengths and circumventing weaknesses, readjusting continually following changes of the pandemic, they would be a good weapon. The suffering will eventually pass, tomorrow is better,

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