Personal Homework

Task 1

  1. Glenn Greenwald: Why privacy matters :
  2. Why Privacy Matters Even If You Have : Nothing to Hide

These articles and a video illustrate the key point that is why privacy matters in free society. The mass surveillance undermines the very core of the western values and free speech in particular. Freedom of speech means not only the freedom to express oneself, but also the freedom from having to be afraid to express oneself. When one has to self-censor everything they say due to the fear of being placed on a list or in the worst case imprisonment one is building a prison for the mind.

Task 2

Telephone operator

What is collected:

Basic info:

  • name, address, birthday, telephone number, e-mail, social security number, preferred language

Service info (what user has bought):

  • subscription, extra services, devices, contract start/end dates, value of the order, order/delivery dates, cancel/return information, SIM-card number, end device IMEI-code or other indentity code


  • way of billing, billing address, any other info related to billing or dept collection


  • is direct marketing allowed, other bans
  • phone support recordings, what services are being used/searched for, anything customer has provided (customer surveys, customer interests)

How is it used/who is using it:

This data can be used by the corporation to manage, maintain and improve customer relations or for direct marketing. It can also be analyzed for the purposes of service production and improvement, marketing research and other statistical purposes.

When customer contacts support all communications may be recorded for the purposes of verifying/improving procedures or support personnel training. Recordings are destroyed when they are no longer needed for said purposes. Only authorized personel can review these recordings.

Corporation can share this data in the bounds of current law. Data can be given to list like telephone number directories unless client has disallowed this. Due to technical details some data may be stored or analyzed by subcontractors. Some data can be moved outside of EU in these cases corporation takes care that data privacy is protected.

Online retailer

What is collected:

  • name, e-mail, address, phone number, order details, order tracking info

How is it used/who is using it:

Data is gathered for the purposes of order processing and archiving, managing customer relations, tracking sent orders (like tracking lost packets), improving the service, statistical purposes, providing personalized content on the online platform. This data is handled within the bounds of the law.

Corporation may use subcontractors for the purposes of customer relations management and some data may be transferred to these subcontractors due to technical requirements. Corporation may also publish the contents of this register digitally or in paper unless customer disallows this. Data is not transferred outside of EU by the corporation or its subcontractors unless required by technical limitations.

Task 3

Group: university student

Society has moral and reputational pressures on me. This is because society provides many helpful services for me as a student (e.g. KELA). I have ego-preserving interest to be a good student and not slack off.

KELA poses an institutional pressure on me in the form of laws and rules that i have to follow to receive study grants. This pressure invokes my self-preserving interest because life gets harder if I don't get these grants. There is also some reputational pressure because not following the rules it probably will show somewhere.

My friends provide both moral and reputational pressures. These arise from my ego-preserving interest of being seen as a specific kind of person in the minds of my friends.

My family has moral and reputational applied onto me. Both work in similar way through ego-preserving interest, I don't want to be seen in a bad light within my family. I also have relational interest because I know my family and want them all the good (in this case from doing well in the uni).

Seminar Presentations

Seminar 1

Seminar 2

Seminar 3

Exam questions


How does society benefit as a whole if it allows its individuals to have privacy?

  • This shows that one understands that privacy is not only a tool to hide something.
    • One doesn't have to worry about everything they do. “Can this be used against me?”
    • Not everyone wants good for you. identity thief, regular thieves(where do you keep your valuables)
    • Laws change & some current laws are bad/wrong/unequal. If one was for gay rights only 10 years ago they would be in trouble. Same for black rights half a decade ago. and so forth.


Explain the arguments against privacy in the following text and explain why they are not good arguments. “The only way to be more secure is to allow surveillance because, lets face it, having privacy would only help bad people.”

  • Shows understanding of connection between security and privacy and that
    • The decision between them is not binary
  • All or nothing: privacy vs security is binary decision and if there is privacy there is no security.
    • In reality different security measures have different levels of privacy impact.
  • Nothing to hide: The idea that only bad people have things to hide
    • There are various reasons to not tell something (this something can be completely legal thing)
      • e.g. medical conditions, having different view in sensitive subject (not to bandwagon and trying to be reasonable instead)


Explain the “Tragedy of commons” dilemma(what is it and why it happens) and what prevents it from happening all the time in the real world?

  • Probes the knowledge of one of the social dilemmas that is happening everywhere all the time (over fishing is a problem)
  • Answer shows that person has understood the possible different reasons why this dilemma disappear
    • There are societal pressures like institutional pressures in the form of laws, that make the cost of defection more costly.


Consider the following social situation “late enrollment for a course”. How each of the societal pressure types given in the book Liars & Outliers work here. If a fee or penalty was introduced for late enrollment. How would the perceived effects of the pressures change (would the pressure work better or worse) and why? What if the penalty was next to nothing vs very severe.

  • Tests the understanding of the different types of social pressures. How they work and when they break down.
  • in first case:
    • Moral: People are compelled to enroll on time because they would feel bad if they didn't
    • Reputational: No one want's to be known as the one that is late to enroll in the eyes of the lecturer
    • Institutional: If there is some kind of penalty associated with late enrollment e.g. a fine
    • Security systems: Enrollment has to be done through something e.g. web portal. Someone with enough technical know how can hack this and be able to enroll whenever they want.
  • in second case:
    • Moral: Moral pressure might lessen in both cases because the moral was replaced by institutional pressure
    • Reputational: If the penalty is black listing it might have severe reputational pressure. otherwise no much change.
    • Institutional: Depending on how large the fine is. If it is low it could be considered as “cost of doing business”. Also if there is no enforcement this has no effect.
    • Security systems: no change

META101 Philosophy and Critical Thinking @ UQx