Attention, you are being watched?

Recently I have been playing this video game called Watchdogs, it is about this hacker named Adien Pearce who is using his phone to hack everything to achieve his revenge to mobster in the fictional city of Chicago. The ctOS which stands for Central Operating System is the tool Adien used to hack people’s phone to get money,  hack traffic light to stop pursing police or enemy cars and hack almost everything to do whatever you want to do. Though this game is fictional in all, it still illustrates what it looks like today in metropolitan cities like Chicago, Beijing and London where everyone’s life is being watched by millions of surveillance cameras.

Watchdog Poster
Watchdog Poster

When you think about privacy, it is a sense which human beings have after they were born; it is a sense of self-protection in our psychological mechanism. Every one has their little dirty secrets which they do not want any other people know, you may heard this a lot, and it is being said in Watchdogs several times too. Privacy does not worth anything before someone decide to use these secrets to threaten you. It is a weakness which you never worried about once it is taken out of your small dark cave where nobody knows, and it hurts so bad that you probably will lose everything in your life to some extent.

But the interesting thing is that the generation today do not care about their privacy as much as the older generations, their social life has moved from actual physical places into virtual online social websites or software. From one article in American Civil Liberties Union website, the statistics says that “Only 25% of Millennials agreed with the statement, ‘I’m ok with trading some of my personal information in exchange for more relevant advertising.’  Among the over-35 set, it was 19%; both Millennials (ages 18-34) and over-35 people believe in large numbers (70% and 77%, respectively, with a 3.1% margin of error) that ‘no one should ever be allowed to have access to my personal data or web behavior.’ “. I am not saying that younger generation do not care about their privacy at all, but they know that they cannot stop the government watching and even manipulating their information which they are willing to put online for some unknown purposes. Yes, the government is doing this for the sake of national and public security which I totally understand and stand for. But for older generation and people who do not want their information to be known at all, it is disaster and terrifying.

Hacking process in Watchdogs
Hacking process in Watchdogs

In Watchdogs, you will be hacked by random AI or other players if you play online, this happens randomly even though you are not hacking anything at all. That is how security system works in real life, the company who invented this security software or surveillance system will pay hackers to hack this new system to test out how fast it will be breached. In today’s world, you can hack other people, and people can hack you too; you probably never know these hackers and neither do they, they did this just for fun. And it is the same for online privacy today, you have the chance to see everyone else’s information and they do too; what you do with these information is up to you. This is where human’s nature comes in, if I want to use this guy’s information to make a fake account to make million dollars’ purchases and not paying for them, he will definitely be screwed; but if I want to check him out about his previous life stories due to my curiosity, everything will ok. So it is the matter of people who are in front of all the computer screens today, a mouse click or simple types on keyboard will change everything in a second. We are not machines which have certain algorithm to work, instead we have emotions and abilities to think, we can decide our actions which will lead to various results.

In Watchdogs, Aiden found a secret video which includes a murder created by the mayor of Chicago, and he did not choose to put it online at first, but in order to threaten the mobster which controls the city, also killed his niece and kidnapped  his sister, he was forced to do so. I do not think we need to worry too much about our privacy being leaked or used because the same systems will also protect them and even find them back to you. It is one system but can be used for two different purposes depending on the operators which are us.

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