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The Concept of “Risk Society”

Find a historical media piece that aptly explores a particular risk. Choose one that has had a large impact on a group or population. Outline what you see as the perceived risk(s) and their impact.

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As far as I am concerned, the statement that we live in a ‘risk society’ suggests that the global society, as well as all national societies, are subjected to a wide range of risks of different nature including economic risks, environmental risks, military risks, terrorist risks, technological risks, risks related to various types of criminality, natural disasters, human-made catastrophes, and many other types of risks. The abundance of hazards that common people face on the daily basis explains why it can be considered that human society is a ‘risk society’.

The growth of cities and the industrial revolution in the nineteenth century has caused an increase in the number of causalities in transportation and traffic, industry and manufacturing, and people’s homes. With the boost of industrialization, global society has faced the problem of protection from man-made hazards. Industrialization has also caused environmental problems that in turn, lead to natural disasters. Another sad implication of industrialization and technological progress associated with it is the emergence of multiple tools and the new ways to commit crimes such as thefts and stealing of financial assets and even a person’s identity.

With regard to all these development, global society has become an increasingly risky society that subjects a human being to the wide scope of dangers of various types and origin. The unexpected outcome our contemporary scientific-technical society has faced is an increase in threats number and density at all levels. As a result, humans are capable of walking on the Moon but they are afraid of walking through the streets of their own communities.

What do you think it means that we live in a ‘risk society’?

In the digital economy era, the personal information of an Internet user is an expensive commodity for business owners. However, a common user is hardly aware of the risks this circumstance subjects his or her life, ranging from private life infringement and manipulations such as manipulation of customer choices to becoming a victim of criminals stealing identity or finances. Social media companies are inventing and implementing more technologies permitting the collection of personal information about customers, whilst the public thought grows concerning the dangers of such developments and surveillance policies’ development by the government. Customers have serious grounds for concern because their personal information may be used by a variety of commercial companies that violate privacy policy legislation.

The issue of web surveillance is raised by reason of social networks’ activities. These companies collect, process, store, and sell large amounts of personal information about their users. The average social network user hardly knows how much information about him or her the platform owner stores. For example, an Australian student wanted to know how much digital data was stored about him by the Facebook Company during his two-year membership. He requested a copy of all the data of his account. The network sent him a CD containing 1,124 pages of data. When the young man checked the files, he found that every message and chat session that included sensitive information about him, his personal life, his relations with other people, and about his friends was on this CD. This young man was especially astonished upon learning that all the information he deleted was still kept on the CD (Addington, 2011). Analyzing this experience, it appears that most people do not imagine the real scope of this risk.

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Addington, T. (2011).The private face of Facebook. B&T Magazine. Web.

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