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The Limits of Privacy Post 9/11 1

The Limits of Privacy Post 9/11

Victoria Arreola, Alvaro Gonzalez, & Scott Ligon
California State Monterey Bay University

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The rights to privacy throughout decades has undergone scrutiny and questioning, and as
a result, societal and individual views of this issue have evolved. Compared to the twentieth and
nineteenth century, households and neighbors had public relationships and reputations that in
current standards appear to be an invasion of privacy. With the age of rapid expansion of
technology evolution, citizens throughout the world are able to store, research, and share their
information through the means of the Internet. Although this utility connects different users all
across the globe, an individual using this technology would likely say that they do not want to
share his or her information with their worldly neighbors in comparison to how households
before the twenty first century contact and communicate with one another.
Before the the events of September 11th, 2001, politicians were defending Americans
rights to privacy against overreaching government surveillance; however after, the attacks on
September 11th, 2001 the American government hastily passed laws with the intentions of
preventing any terrorist attacks on American soil. Despite the governments intentions, civilians
fear and continue to fear the laws that either already have or will eventually limit their right of
privacy. As a group, we have views towards privacy would be compared with Amitai Etzionis
views from his writings in The Limits of Privacy and with Bill Tancers Click. Through two of
our members backgrounds in computer science and one of our members experience in
communication design, we will be discussing our personal concepts of privacy with the
assistance of our cultural views and how the concept of privacy is different compared with
cultures such as Japan, China, and Mexico. As well as how the concepts of privacy affect the
economic social classes in the United States. Lastly this paper will cover the privacy between
criminals (more focused on pedophiles) and the common American citizen.

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Our concept of privacy can be broken into parts based on our group members definition
of the term. First, privacy allows an individual to perform different actions that do not involve
others to observe and judge him or her. If the world as a whole were to do anything with
everyone being aware of what is happening around them, then there would be privacy since
individuals would be watched from all around. Because of this, there would be a sense of
judgement, whether good or bad, from the individuals peers, family, friends and etc. The sense
of being judged can create an uncomfortable environment for different individuals, and as a
result, they would prefer to do as they please alone.
The second concept of privacy that was defined in our group is that everyone has the
right to their own personal time and space. People who are more introverted fit under the need to
have time to themselves not because they are apprehensive of experiencing judgment. Those who
are introverted find the desire to distance themselves towards others because it brings them
energy, and on a paradoxical note, being away from others can allow them to express themselves
to people they are close to. According to Dr. Shawn Finch of Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital, she
states that it is difficult for her to explain that she is a people person when [she needs] to spend
time away from people in order to be with them again (The power of introverts, 2013). If
society overall were to set standards that shift every person to be present with one another, it
takes away the rights to those who need comfort and energy whenever they are alone.
Technology is also connected with these definitions of privacy since it involves
motorization and tracking of personal information. Information technology, such as the Internet,
has allowed individuals to store information onto their devices and servers, but with this service,
users treat this as if they were communicating with other people in person. With features found
within technology, like the global positioning system found in websites and applications, a

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person would have the knowledge that they are being tracked, and because global tracking is
integrated within social media, a persons peers would be able to know where he or she is at.
This involves with the persons (especially those who have solace to be alone) right to have
space for themselves.
Online advertising also correlates with this. Advertising found on the Internet can also keep some
information about their users, such as their location and interests. According to the Network
Advertising Institute (NAI), online consumers who click on a number of different websites are
placed into a category that relates to their research. For example, if a person were to research
about clothes on different websites, an NAI member would would assign an ID to [his/her]
browser usually by storing a unique ID number in a text file or cookie on [their] browser
(National Advertising Institute). The ID number in this instance would then be assigned to a
group that is classified as clothing. Online advertisements also cater towards the location of
where the user is at through the use of Internet Protocol or I.P. addresses. The National
Advertising Institute explains that the organization sometimes tracks the location of the users
given area in order to make the advertising more accurate towards the locations characteristics.
Because of this, advertisements that are targeted towards areas that, for example, tend to snow
should not be able to appear to a user who lives in a sunny climate.
Bill Tancer discusses in his book, Click: What millions of people are doing and why it
matters, about his job at Hitwise Competitive Intelligence Service. According to Tancer, he has
access to more than 10 million Internet users (Tancer, p 7). The position he works under is
designed for him to monitor the general pattern of research done by overall users online during
specific times. Through his studies, he has discovered different patterns towards what users
research and how it ties into towards their behavior, such as sexual desires, depression, or

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gambling impulses. An example of this is how, Tancer takes note of how the visit count towards
pornography websites decreased from 16 percent in 2005 to 10 percent in 2007 (Tancer, p
19) and based on the theory that Internet users would be most likely to view adult content on the
days that theyre at home and have free time Tancer would had expected that the weekend days,
both Saturday and Sunday, would have the highest frequency of adult visits. Despite the fall in
church attendance, and the decline in the percentage of the U.S. population that identifies itself
as religious, which Tancers theory was proven wrong since the activity found on porn sites
decrease a main constant at 6 below the Friday peak (Tancer, p 20) on Sundays. This example
gives Tancer to create an overall profile of how users feel more likely uncomfortable of
researching adult websites on Sunday since in Christianity, the Sabbath falls on that time. Not
only does this give Tancer the data needed to profile users, he also uses this data to conduct
business research to see which websites are succeeding and which ones are declining on visitors.
Referring to how the visits of porn sites declined from sixteen to ten percent by 2007, Tancer
analyzed how there is a growing movement towards visiting porn and online dating sites to
social media websites for romantic get-togethers.
With these cases for online advertising and research tracking, we reason that these
practices towards the Internet users are invading our definitions of privacy in order to help their
businesses. Although the National Advertising Institute works diligently to provide accurate
advertisements for users, they do not display any message of consent that consumers
information would be taken when they click on an advertisement. This would then violate the
rights of users who are unaware of these conditions and who wish to not be tracked while online.
Despite no person being physically present while a person is researching, the concept of
monitoring what exactly a person does create the atmosphere that someone is present.

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An example of this is written in Tancers book, Click, where would
expand their sale power by offering anybody with a website to put links that would lead to
Amazon books .Any books sold from traffic sent by an affiliate would result in an affiliate fee
paid back to the owner of that website. The affiliate earned anywhere from 4 to 10 percent of the
resulting sale. (Tancer,p 31) since then this model has been used by other companies such as
Google, Google would gather information depending on what the user types in the search bar so
say the user puts in Chinese privacy laws then google will analyze it, then once the search
results appear, on the right side of the screen there will be advertisements for Chinese privacy
screens from Amazon or any other business that sells Chinese privacy screens. The reason why
the advertisements display Chinese privacy screens instead of Chinese privacy laws is because
google takes the words Chinese privacy and tries to connect it to any item that is on sale
in the online shopping world. If the user becomes interested in the products and decides to buy
the products from lets say then Amazon will get the money as well as as Google
since they led the user to Amazon.
Advertising firms have taken into consideration about how their algorithms to make more
accurate advertising comes across as creepy and off-putting if they believe that the firm violated
their privacy (Stone, 2010). Because of this, the social website Facebook has conducted an
experiment in which they introduced a user friendly interface, reduced the amount of information
that is require to be automatically viewed, and gave users control of how they could be tracked
by third party advertisements. They also state that:
This change did not, however, affect the underlying algorithm used to determine which
advertising was displayed, targeted, and personalized, because the advertising platform used
anonymous data (American Marketing Association, 2014).

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Even with the efforts of minimizing the appearance of taking privacy from their users,
advertising firms still have the intention of grabbing information from their consumers for their
personal gain. I, Scott Ligon, have had experiences with online advertisements that took my
information without my consent. One of my most recent encounters with online advertising
happened after researching for one of my software engineering project. I was researching how to
fix an Android mobile app, and I used Google as my search engine. I researched for nearly three
hours, and a day later I decided to go onto Youtube to watch a video to unwind. Before the video
started, advertisements about iPhone application classes began to appear before every video I
watch. I recall advertisements began to become increasingly more accurate when Google decided
to merge with Youtube, and at that time, I had to give up my unique Youtube user name and
combine all of my Google search history, contacts, and emails to Youtube. I personally saw this
as more of a gain for Google than it was for Youtube community since advertising became more
apparent and more personally accurate. With the assistance of more accurate advertisements,
Google and the firms who have their ads displayed would receive more money based on how
many people click on the increasingly relevant ads. People who created channels with unique
names and banner art had to sacrifice those qualities, and without the use of ad-blocks, these
individuals would have to face seeing their personal search results interrupt their video watching
Beyond the scope of advertising, monitorization of peoples information does not only
have to be for business gain. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United
States government passed a policy called the Patriot Act. The Bush administration provided
federal law enforcement agencies [with] critical tools to investigate terrorists and spies . This
enforcement allows the countrys government to have greater control of investigating

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information passed through technology to help prevent future acts of harm. provided federal law
enforcement agencies [with] critical tools to investigate terrorists and spies. Technology users
might argue that their privacy is being infringed upon with the increased amount of surveillance
by the government. One of the measures that users take to help protect their privacy is to encrypt
their data. Encryption is when the contents of specific data a person wants to be kept private is
scrambled, and only people who have a private key is only able to decrypt the data. This can
fulfill our definitions of privacy since private information that people do not wish to share are
kept hidden from others. The average person or even advanced programmer would not be able
have immediate access to personal information that a person would like to keep secret. However,
Amitai Etzioni views the use of encryption from the views of the overall public. Etzioni is
known for his philosophy of communitarianism which takes into consideration the
responsibility of the individual to the community and the social importance of the family unit
(Oxford Dictionaries, n.d.) This ideology does take into account the rights that an individual
has but ultimately, the individual should consider their responsibility to everyones wellbeing.
Etzionis viewpoints of encryption under communitarianism might go against the beliefs
of those who want their information kept secret since he sees how the dangers of encryption has
towards everyone outweigh the benefits it has towards individuals who prefer to keep some
information to themselves. Examples of Etizionis thoughts towards the negative effects of
encrypting information mainly correlate with preventing or stopping criminal activities. An
instance of his is how Etizioni explains that encryption can make it impossible to obtain
necessary evidence (Etizioni, p 79). With this example, Etizioni demonstrates that overall
potential the encryption can have towards the public. It is true that it can benefit individuals since
it can help protect special information, such as their social security number or credit card

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information, from being in the hands of criminals or dangerous people. Encryption in this case is
is presented as a very resourceful tool that can help protect the information of all people who
have access to it. However, since a variety of people can have access of securing important
information, it is entirely possible for those who wish to bring harm to encrypt their data.
Accounting from my own life, I, Scott Ligon, have not faced a case in which I would
have give up my information in order to help solve a case that involved the safety of the public.
Although I explained how I do not approve of giving up privacy to help provide business gain, I
am willing to give my information if it means to help out the overall good for others. I do not
remember what exactly happened during the events of September 11 when I was a child, but I do
recall the consequences of that day as the years progressed. Trust towards others began to turn
into suspicions and fear. I recall the amount of fear and sadness people have towards the
mentioning of 9/11. One of the things I remembered most when I was growing up was how the
war on Iraq became a priority as I watched the news, and how the regulations on airports began
to become more tedious and restrictive. With these incidents I mentioned, I could see the
consequences towards the actions of terrorists groups changed lives and ways of living towards
What I, Scott Ligon, did not truly notice right away is through the words of Kevin
Bankston, in which he states that the biggest change after 9/11 is the transition from targeted
surveillance--where the government picks a target and spies on that person--to untargeted
wholesale surveillance, where masses of people are surveilled (McCullagh, D, 2011). Although
I am a computer science major, I did not use the emailing system at all when I was a child. I did
not own a cell phone until I reached middle school, and it was at that time that I started an email
account. During this time, I had the sense that the government would be tracking what I am

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saying through phone calls and written electronic messages. It has made me more conscious of
how I truly communicate with others, and the sense that a governmental authority is watching
over my personal information can be a little daunting. However, this form of someone else
looking at my information is different in comparison to advertising and website companies.
Companies, such as Google, have the intention of looking at search results, Internet history, and
even written emails to provide convenience towards their customers, such as relevant ads and
search results, so they would continue to use their product. Advertising firms also take into
account where users are at and what kind of ads they click on so they can create a profile of
unidentified people in order to help guide them to shop at their favorite businesses. Both kinds of
companies do provide convenience towards their users, but in the end, it is only to help their
businesses and their partners grow and continue to earn money. The way I see the Patriot Act is
similar to Amitai Etzions views of encryption and privacy in technology. The surveillance that
government has placed on all of its citizens, whether it is for traveling to the airport or sending
messages through email, is for the overall wellness and safety of people. This is not for monetary
gain, and since I am willing to give up my privacy if it means stopping terrorists from encrypting
dangerous information or making the process of undercovering dangerous acts easier.
Privacy is a universal; however when it come to privacy in other parts of the world, the
meaning can be interpreted differently. Mexico, China, and Japan for example can have different
views and different laws based on privacy, and the religions that are practiced in those countries.
Privacy is a psychological concept; it is an objective environment for the attitudes beliefs, and
how to understand in the environment view. It reveals a psychological environment. (unknown

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In Mexico the majority of people are identified as Catholic and in the Catholic community they
dont see privacy as a malicious thing; however, they do believe that whatever they do in privacy
must respect the 10 commandments as well as long as it is approved by the Catholic Church
and also the private action must be truthful. If whatever practice they do in privacy violates the
10 commandments, they are expected to immediately go to a priest for confession to atone for
their sins. For some, it retains the idea; since the priest is a figure to be trusted, no one else would
know of the private matters. For others, this violates the idea of privacy in that the individual is
forced to confess their private matters. I, Victoria Arreola, am part of the Catholic community,
and I remember feeling conflicted with the matter of a priest having knowledge of my private
life. Though my religion views the priest as one of the authorities of God, in my eyes he was a
stranger. I was not comfortable with the idea of a complete stranger knowing anything about my
personal life. I, Alvaro Gonzalez also has faced the same issues just like Victoria; however I
was distant when it came to confessing my sins to a priest for I believe that confessing your past
sins to a stranger who has the title of priest or father or padre was an insult to my privacy.
In Japan, privacy was difficult to guarantee for a period of time. At the time, the country
was recovering from the after effects of World War II. The government began drafting a new
constitution when the attempt for an empire was quickly expunged (Tsuchiya 2012, p. 239).
During the process, there had yet to be a law which protected the privacy of individuals; the
exception being communication. It was not until 2003 when the Personal Information Protection
Law was established for the public (2012, p. 240). However, the law does not punish the thief
who stole private information; the law punishes the administrator who allowed it to be stolen.
Because of this, parents are not able to provide their contact information for schools; the
administrative offices are concerned with the probability of thievery. In some cases, the

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government is reluctant to carry private information. Privacy is viewed as a precious item to
obtain. Due to prewar experience with invasion of privacy, Japans mass media strongly
opposes the presence of any government hand in private sector information (2012, p. 240).
However, in the event data is being collected, the intentions must be explained in full detail.
Distribution of any information to a third party without permission is forbidden. I, Victoria
Arreola, have not experienced having any personal information distributed without consent.
However, I can understand the level of mistrust that the people have towards the government
simply because we may never truly know the governments intentions.
In the United States and other western countries, privacy is viewed as an essential to all
citizens; however in a country especially if its a communist country like China. China became
communist after the end of the Chinese Revolution in 1949. In the ethical perspective in
communism, communism focuses on the benefits to society as a whole instead of any individual;
communism holds the needs of the society as a priority rather than the needs of any individual.
The right to privacy is not granted to the people of communist China, China views privacy as an
undesired and an unnecessary privilege. As a communist nation, the chinese government
monitors its people for any unwanted behaviors that threaten the governments beliefs or even
the government itself. When the growth of technology affected China, that meant that the amount
of information has grown which had forced the Chinese government to increase their
surveillance. No citizen in the China has been safe under the watchful eyes of the government.
The government monitors the user's actions on the internet observing for any undesirable or
illegal actions. If the government catches a user misbehaving on the Internet, the government
will not intervene online. Instead the government will find the any one who is seen to be the
biggest contributor to the governments unwanted behaviors and literally beat them in public,

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This technique is according to Chinese officials as killing the chicken to frighten the
monkeys is used in order to frighten the Chinese citizens or to at least make the citizens respect
the Chinese authorities. Besides tracking people online, the government is also known to
eavesdrop whenever a citizen is making a call, Jeffrey Barlow, the director of the Gerglund
Center for Internet Studies at Oregons Pacific University told a tale where a professor in China
complained on the phone to his family members about receiving a low pay and stating that he
would move out of China in order to find a job in a different country that would offer better pay..
Several days after the phone call, the professor received a raise thanks to the governments
surveillance. Businesses in China also deal with having no privacy from the government. Under
Chinese law all Internet Information services businesses must keep all records of information,
record every update to the business data. The reason on why business are imposed to practice this
is in order to have the Chinese government to exam all of the records that each business has. Its
interesting that different on how different nations run governed by different ideologies can
influence the privacy of everyday people. I, Alvaro Gonzalez as an American citizen doesnt see
Chinas privacy laws as taboo; however seeing Chinas privacy laws are a bit intrusive to the
American eye, other nations would either see Chinas privacy laws as taboo or may praise and
even be influenced to practice those laws or just simply respect those laws.
Speaking of citizens and still on the topic of privacy, privacy is very difficult for some
citizens such as criminals specifically those who had a history of committing the acts of
pedophilia. Eztioni introduces his book to the reader by stating a case in 1995.
Accompanied by his wife and nine-year-old son, John Becerra moved to Farmington,
New York, in December 1995 to start a new life. Becerra had pleaded guilty to sexual

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abuse, served his time, and quietly begun his probation. In the spring of 1997, however,
the Becerra family found themselves in the crosshairs of a neighborhood campaign to
drive them out of town. Picketers rallied outside the family's home; a brick was thrown
through their car window; a shot was fired through a window of their house; and
anonymous calls were made to Mr. and Mrs. Becerra's workplaces. All this happened when
members of the community found out about Becerra's past.' (Etzioni, 2008)
Also Etzioni introduces the the story with another pedophilia case where Jesse
Timmendequas offered seven year old Megan Kankas to see his puppy; however once the girl was
in Timmendequas home he sexually assaulted her and then murdered her. (Etzioni, 2008). The
Kankas had no idea about Timmendequas had been convicted of earlier peodophilia crimes. After
the incident of Megan being a law was made for pedophiles who must go around their
neighborhood and tell their neighbors that they had practiced pedophilia. This was to let the
neighbors especially those who have children know that they have a pedophile in their
neighborhood. This is great for the citizens however , for the pedophiles who served their
sentence and changed their ways they feel they no longer have any privacy of their past. Etzioni
states that Civil liberiteis and legal scholars have raised numerous objections to the Megan
laws, arguing that they are unfair and punitive because the notification requirement subjects them
to various abuses . (Etzioni, Location 15) There have been case where he neighbors will harass
their peodphiliac neighbor such as throwing a brick at their window, vandalism and other abuses.
The debate of privacy of pedophiles still continue to this day as many feel like the laws are
abusive to their privacy.

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Overall, there is no one true concept and viewpoint of privacy. The definition of privacy
varies between different individuals and nations as a whole, and it can change over time. The
United States serves an example towards how privacy changed after a certain time, such as after
the terrorist attacks from September 11. Because of this, the United States government has
implemented the Patriot Act which allows greater surveillance of information being passed
through technology in order to help investigate terrorist attacks. The author of the novel, The
Limits of Privacy, Amitai Etzioni has a communitarianistic philosophy in which he considers the
wellbeing of everyone despite having to make small sacrifices. Etzionis communitarianistic
views correlate well with the intention of the Patriot Act since the monitorization of civilians
privacy can help stop or prevent future terrorist attacks. Privacy does not only change just in the
United States. Japan, for example, has not secured civilians privacy until 2003 when the
Personal Information Protection Law was passed. Information could also be accessed in stricter
lengths, such as the Chinese government monitoring what their citizens say online in order to
keep the communist ideologies in power. The concepts of privacy does not also involve security
or countrys beliefs. Religion is also a factor in world cultures. Mexico has a large Catholic
population, and the religion requires followers to fully confess their sins to the Church. To
others, this might be an invasion of personal information, but to Catholic followers, this practice
is normal. Privacy also involves business practices in which companies monitor information
placed by users of the Internet in order to display relevant search results and advertisements.

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Overall, the concept of privacy is not the same for different nations, cultures, and businesses, but
taking time to learn about the variations of privacy can help create new practices and behaviors
that might benefit more people in the future.

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