Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The World is Flat and Nothing is Private

Adam McCauley

Every time a major breakthrough occurs in communication technology, it causes worldwide change that has the potential to connect people from all walks of life. Whether it is Twitter, which has allowed people to get almost instant updates on anything happening, or the recent progression of that in the form of live streaming.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

At the turn of the century the primary way of seeing breaking news would be cut-ins on your television or an update on the radio. Today, you are more likely to see breaking news on your computer or phone, whether on a news site or a social media platform. For instance, news about the recent act of violence at Ohio State developed rapidly online through social media, yet television was still only able to report nothing more than that there was an active attacker on the campus.

News reporters cannot give specific details in these situations as they may be unconfirmed or lack necessary permissions. The world has been flattened if you are actively following these situations you can simply get on Twitter or Facebook and find someone near the area that is live streaming what they are seeing. Not only does this give you potential details that are not available on television, but the raw footage also helps transport the viewer to that area, wherever it is, in a way that broadcast news is not fully able to do.  

The Citizen Voice

One worry that news organizations have with any live story is the inability to control the whole situation, this is especially true in the case of live streaming breaking news where the benefit of the immediacy might be outweighed by the potential risk of airing something violent or profane without a chance to prepare for it.

News organizations have too much at risk in these situations, but for a private citizen, there should be far less risk involved with live streaming. Sure, the police may confiscate your phone as evidence, like in Diamond Reynolds case after her live video of Philando Castile being shot and killed in his vehicle went viral. For her, the only goal was for it to be spread, and there was no problem with that as it re-ignited the current discussion on police shootings in the U.S.

Uncharted Territory

Unfortunately, if you are a tech-savvy person trying to take advantage of drone technology you’re still in a position where you have limited protection to film, and unsure laws on flying drones over private property. This is an awkward time for the law regarding how it treats drones because it has to classify them first by who is using it, then by if they are even allowed to fly.

Journalistic use of drones is still being questioned for practicality, and more specifically as something needed for only necessary situations. For many citizens, the thought of widespread drone use stirs a lot of paranoia about constant surveillance and big brother. Privacy is never 100% guaranteed, and a society that is worried about being watched from unknown sources above is not a society that will thrive.

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