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Micaela Flowers

English 1102 Sec. A
Note to Reader: The revisions that I made were mostly based off of the letter I received
from my classmate who read over my paper. The changes mostly focus on transitioning
and introducing topics/ points in a better way. Also, making the paper more personal and
relevant to myself and the reader. I think that the points that I have are solid and I plan to
add more citations and information to the ending paragraphs. I also plan to go back and
make it more clear why the topic is relevant to me and why I care. How can I conclude my
paper in a more subtle/ less choppy way? Do I even need a formal conclusion?
Privacy Laws
Privacy Laws are things people do not have a conversation about on a daily basis. We as
humans tend to expect some sense of personal space and privacy. However, if they were not in
place or did not adapt to our ever changing society, people would definitely be thinking of them
a lot more. For example, if a person was being harassed, followed, picked on, etc. he or she
would not be able to file a restraining order to legally keep wrongdoer away. Personally, I feel a
lot safer knowing that if I felt uncomfortable with someone I have legal ways to deal with it. I
developed my own interest in Privacy Laws after watching one of the many entertainment shows
out there and seeing how little privacy superstars have. I have always had a really strong
connection to pop culture, from the songs I listen to, to the movies I watch, to even the fashion
trends I follow. As an aspiring Public Relations/ Mass Media major I keep up with what is going
on in the media and pop culture and recently there has been a lot of debate over celebrities and
the protection of the privacy of their children. I took this lead and expanded it to the evolution of
privacy protection as a whole. Pop culture is mainstream and mainstream means that it is
something most people like therefore most people can relate or find interest in it, also what
teenager, ever, does not like his or her privacy?
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English 1102 Sec. A
What exactly is privacy? Every person has their own sense of what privacy is. Some
consider privacy a right while others consider it a privilege. Personally, I consider privacy a
right, however, I am not the type of person who has anything to hide. I am hoping to discover
how and why Privacy Laws have changed over the past few decades. Is it because of celebrity
activists such as Kristen Bell and Zach Braff? Or perhaps because of the need of our population
as a whole? Privacy laws come into place because, while in the First Amendment of the
Constitution there is the right to Freedom of the Press, the government wants it to be used for the
bettering of the public rather than for exposing individuals intimate or inappropriate secrets.
Take for example, the FBIs phone tracking device called Stingray which allows them to access
all communication within a certain area (Fouraker, USA Today). The official definition of
Privacy Laws is that they are Regulation or statute that protects a persons right to be left alone,
and governs collection, storage, and release of his or her financial, medical, and other personal
information (Business Dictionary). Privacy laws are in need of a change because of the
development in technology over the past three decades as well as the increase in Popular Culture
(Pop Culture) interest and the governments steps to prevent events such as terrorism.
The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits disclosure of these records without the written
consent of the individual(s) to whom the records pertain unless one of the twelve disclosure
exceptions enumerated in the Act applies. (HHS). Since 1974 the world has come a long way,
especially in technology. A few of the advancements with the most effects on privacy include
Internet, Mobile phones, social networking, and digital photography/ videography (Wharton
University of Pennsylvania). Back 40 years ago it was easier to control the access people had to
other people and their business. News reporters and journalists back then would have to use
interviews and do more interactive snooping to find out about a source or a person and even
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English 1102 Sec. A
then they may not get all of the juicy details. They are able to walk right up to a person of
interest and ask any question from general to extremely personal because they are not in a setting
of a professional interview where a lot of times certain topics are not allowed to be brought up.
When a person is interviewed on a show like Good Morning America, their publicist usually
provides the interviewer with a list of topics to ask about and a list of topics that are not to be
brought up. This pertains a lot to people being interviewed right after being involved in a
scandal. For example, when someone like Lindsey Lohan or Charlie Sheen are being interviewed
in a professional setting they are not asked about drug issues, run ins with the law or their latest
hookups. However, a journalist or field reporter can catch either of the two off guard in public
and ask any question in the world. (Whether Lohan or Sheen answer is another question). To
add on top of those bold actions the internet makes it easy to find hidden records as well as for
pictures and videos to be uploaded for everyone to see by the click of a few buttons.
Technologies will continue to grow and social networking and sharing will still remain bigger
than ever.
Speaking of social networking and sharing, media has become bigger than ever. In past
decades people had to work exponentially hard to broadcast themselves, and on a bigger scale, to
become famous. Now one can achieve those goals simply by tweeting something relatable/
funny/ or a cover of themselves singing really well. Once those tweets hit the internet, they are
there to stay and grow. I can bring up the Ridiculously photogenic guy in an everyday
conversation and most people will be able to picture the man who was photographed while
running a marathon and making it look effortless. Many celebrities have achieved their fame
through social media, one of the most famous young adults in the world, Justin Bieber, achieved
his fame and fortune through YouTube. Other YouTube success stories include Carly Rae Jepsen
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English 1102 Sec. A
(She sings that insanely catchy song Call Me Maybe), and Psy, the Korean artist who took over
the internet with Gangnam Style. Nowadays, it seems like anyone can get famous off of the
internet, the popular phone application Vine, which features only six second videos, has proved
that six seconds is enough to do intense marketing, search for potential actors, as well as offer
meet and greets. One of the most popular boys from Vines name is Nash Grier. Grier was just
a regular high school student from right outside of Charlotte who, in less than a year, gained
millions of followers through his Vines and now he has traveled all across North America
meeting fans because his fanbase is so large. These were people just like you and me who one
day starting filming their self for six seconds and now they are on Good Morning America and
traveling the world. Once put into perspective, it is absolutely amazing how media and
technology work these days.
The increase in media coverage within pop culture over the past few decades has grown
consistently . The advancement of cameras and videos and how they can be shared world wide
quickly has lead to a lot of privacy invasion. The most common form of privacy invasion done
within pop culture is through the paparazzi. Paparazzi are paid photographers whose photos go to
magazines and entertainment agencies. Certain shots that these paparazzi get can earn extremely
large amounts of money which make the practice enticing. A lot of the people who are paparazzi
are men, these men do not hold back asking personal questions or even going to extreme
measures to see a celebrity and take their picture.While they play a huge part in media to spread
trends and make pop stars bigger than ever, their habits are known to be dangerous and almost
not even worth it.Would you feel comfortable with middle- aged men swarming you, following
you, taking candid photographs every single time you were out in public? I do not think that is
something anyone would want to endure. While when we put ourselves in the shoes of a
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celebrity it is easy to say how awful a paparazzi is but when we think about how many times we
look through magazines or websites that house these pictures we do not put much thought into it.
We think Oh wow Tom Cruise goes shopping with his child just like me! rather than Oh wow
Tom Cruise is being followed by strange men and probably being asked inappropriate questions
in front of his young daughter while trying to just buy some more milk. Many celebrities and
even non- celebrities have come together to try and reign in the institution of paparazzi by
creating specific privacy laws they must abide to. Kristen Bell and Zach Braff are both known
for their successful acting careers but they also have children together and one of their main
concerns are their children being exposed to paparazzi. They have spent a majority of their time
advocating for stricter privacy laws dealing with paparazzi specifically around celebrity children.
Many of these laws are to keep everyone safe physically and even emotionally. There are
websites to aid these efforts like where petitions can be found as well as
updated privacy laws. On these websites, the main arguments are to protect the identity and
safety of children, also drawing a line between stalking and interviewing, and also to avoid
indecent exposure and embarrassment. Photos these days have the ability to make or break a
celebrity so they want to restrict how a photograph can be obtained and keep detrimental ones
from surfacing to the media.
The governments role in Privacy Laws is clearly a large piece. The government created
the privacy laws to help the people but they are also questioned for their infiltration of privacy.
The government has admitted to wire tapping phone calls among other invasive acts. While this
is said to be done to protect the public from events like finding potential terrorists, many feel like
this is an unnecessary invasion of privacy. Over the years many reforms and changes have been
made to the laws. Beginning with the Privacy Act of 1974 when there was the realization that the
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First Amendment had a sort of loop hole in it that infringed peoples right to privacy with the
right of press. Now the most current set of laws prevent people from hacking into others
personal things, as well as keeping people from getting too close, as well as frowning upon
embarrassment and bullying. There is also the Freedom of Information Act which allows
individuals to request access to federal agency records, except to the extent records are claimed
as exempt from disclosure under one or more of the nine (9) exemptions of the Freedom of
Information Act. (HHS, N.D.) This involves cases and other judicial information which is
believed to be information that should be available to the public. However, the government has
to regulate it to protect individuals for example a lot of information on cases involving minors
are not available. Also, information such as addresses, family members, etc are kept hidden to
avoid harassment. This type of information can be detrimental to an individual, however, some
information could help the public. For example, if a person in a case had hidden a bomb or had
an attack on the common people planned ahead, the press can report that and people near that
area can be kept safe and away from the danger.
The changes made to Privacy Laws over the past 40 years have been necessary to keep up
with the constant evolution of the government and our society as a whole. I began this inquiry
paper wondering how and why these Laws have changed, and I am quite satisfied with what I
have found. Many reasons are behind the changes and many more still need to be made as
society continues to grow. Somewhere there is a happy medium between keeping individuals
safe and keeping the public face without intruding either, we just have to find it.

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English 1102 Sec. A

The Economist, . N.p.. Web. 25 Mar 2014.
Gregory C. Wilshusen, . N.p.. Web. 25 Mar 2014. <
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Kevin Bankston , C.. N.p.. Web. 25 Mar 2014.
"The PAPARAZZI Reform Initiative - Legal." The PAPARAZZI Reform Initiative - Legal. N.p.,
n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.
"Privacy Law |" Privacy Law | N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014