In the latest installment of “how much do you care about your privacy?,” let’s venture into the 2016 presidential race. Monday morning Senator Ted Cruz of Texas announced that he is officially running for president in 2016. Cruz is the first Republican or Democrat to officially announce a candidacy.
More important than the official announcement (we all knew this was coming) are some of the quotes that came from Cruz’s speech at Liberty University. First off, students at Liberty University were required to attend Cruz’s speech as it was part of the weekly convocation they must attend.
Cruz went on to highlight some of his beliefs and goals: honoring the Constitution, abolishing the IRS, smaller government, and of course a federal government that “protects the privacy rights of every American.” But then Cruz went into a part of his speech that leaves some of us scratching our heads.
Cruz asked for all of the students to take our their phones and text the word “Constitution” to the number 33733. However, Cruz never explained what exactly texting the number 33733 did. He just asked them to do it and moved right along. Kind of ironic for a candidate who just made promises about increasing privacy measures for all Americans. Now, whoever is behind 33733 just received data information from every Liberty student who followed those orders.
In class, Professor Robinson asked us how much our privacy is worth. He offered chocolate to anyone who would send him an email containing their password to a social media site or email account. Some students obliged. I wouldn’t dare.
But for me this does raise some issues. Liberty University is a private school. And maybe that allows for things such as this to fly — requiring all students to attend a partisan political event and then have them text an unknown number with no explanation. I bet that students who texted the number probably didn’t think twice about doing so. However, this again raises the question we’ve debated many times over this semester: how much do you value your privacy?
PS: I highly recommend checking out this clip from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart that inspired this privacy post.