There are very few things I wouldn’t do for a piece of chocolate. I wouldn’t get anywhere near a spider, I wouldn’t give up my faves Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson from Law and Order: SVU, I wouldn’t throw my phone in water, but beyond that, I’m pretty much game.
Don’t believe me? Here’s proof.
This past Tuesday in class, my professor John Robinson asked the class who would give him the password to their email account for a miniature Twix bar. He had a piece of chocolate in his hand so I was already prepared to shoot my hand up into the air before he finished his sentence.
Once I heard what I’d have to give up, my hand went up. Only a few other hands were raised and Mr. Robinson instructed me that I couldn’t delete anything and that I’d have to email him the password after I got the candy bar. I agreed because, honestly, I don’t have anything to hide and if I do have stuff to hide, it’s not on my email.
After I happily ate my chocolate and did a little food dance, I sent an email to my professor with my UNC email and password.
A few of my classmates were hesitant to give up their passwords because they use the same password for multiple accounts. I’m guilty of doing this, but my Carolina email is my ONYEN (only name you’ll ever need) and the password changes every 90 days. That being said, I don’t use that password for anything else because it’ll change and I’ll forget about it.
Mr. Robinson asked the class if anyone would give him their Twitter password and sure enough, someone volunteered for a mini candy bar.
He then asked the class if anyone would email him their social security number for a mini candy bar. The class was silent– well, almost. A classmate of mine sent her SSN to our professor in an email for a piece of chocolate.
While we all discussed the reasons we did– or didn’t– give up our information, the issue of privacy was the main subject in everyone’s reasoning. I don’t care about the privacy of my email, some people really care.
Ironically, we all read an article written by Dan Barker about how much information Buzzfeed records about its users through the many quizzes on the site. Buzzfeed tracks what answers you choose in a quiz as well as tracking what answers you don’t select. This may not be an issue if you’re taking a quiz about what character in Frozen you are or a quiz testing how well you remember the lyrics to Britney Spears’ songs, there’s nothing personal about the questions.
I got Olaf and obviously got a perfect score for Britney lyrics. Is anyone surprised? No.
Other quizzes ask more personal questions and it’s more intrusive when Buzzfeed records your answers. Barker brings up the quiz “How Privileged Are You?” Depending on what answers the user selects and doesn’t select, Buzzfeed could figure out many things about the person taking the quiz.
For example, if the person doesn’t select the choice “I have never had an eating disorder,” Buzzfeed can determine that the person once struggled with an eating disorder. The same can be said for the answer choice “I have never taken medication for my mental health” or “My parents are heterosexual.”
These bits of information may be private to the individual and not realize that he or she is giving this information away.
I’m okay with this information being recorded in the same way that I’m okay with my cell phone service provider tracking my location and my internet provider tracking the sites I visit.
I don’t have anything to hide, I’m not doing anything illegal nor would I be upset if the government keeps track of what I do. I have nothing to hide, and if I did, it’s probably a good thing that I’m being monitored so it could be handled. In fact, I’d prefer that we’re constantly being tracked so that people that are dangerous and plotting to hurt others can be found and stopped. Maybe that’s me being paranoid and dramatic, but it’s true.
Maybe now you understand a little bit better why I would give up my password for a 50 cent piece of candy.
Would you do the same?