The argumentative essay addresses the rights to hide, the right toresearch, the right to infrastructure and the right to the city.Additionally, the essay develops arguments for or against the publicvalue of each “right” in the digital informational age. First,the citizens should not be given the right to hide because theartistic interventions and designs of hoodies, hats, scarves and evenhairstyles counter visuality. In this way, the surveillance camerascannot easily track these citizens, and this increases chances ofterrorist attacks and other security related issues (Monahan 2). Theurban dwellers should be given the right to the city, which makes iteasy for public involvement in making decisions on matters of waterhousing and transportation in urban settings. The people can regulatethe actions of the capitalist societies by reducing destruction tothe environment or even preventing major financial crises.
In careers and businesses of any kind, the young people should begiven the right to research in order to increase their stock ofknowledge making it easy for them to address global issues broughtabout by globalization. Although the right to the city is interlinkedwith the right to infrastructure, I think the later has little or novalue in the modern informational age. When communities govern theopen source projects such as Wi-Fi networks and energy micro-stationsthey deprive the states’ authority to control their activities, andthis can result in security problems.
The Right to Hide
The recent anti-surveillance attempts through artistic designs haveraised concerns about whether citizens have the right to concealthemselves from the surveillance cameras. The hairstyles, fractalface paints, reflective underwears, hoodies, and scarves underminethe ability of technologies to track an individual from the crowd.Visuality is concerned with state control using apparatuses thatclassify and separate the potential threats in a crowd, and hence, itviolates the right to hide (Monahan 3). The citizens should not begranted the right to hide because when they wear the Fag Face Masks,scarves and hoodies, they block the surveillance apparatuses whichmakes it hard for face recognition, tracking by drones or videotracking. In public settings such the subway stations in New YorkCity, the security guards often escort individuals who try tocustomize such places through the artistic designs in combinationwith music. With the denial of the right to hide, the security forcesand gadgets can easily track the individuals and eliminate thepotential threats.
The Right to the City
The Harvey’s right to the city is a collective right forindividuals to reinvent or renovate the city to fulfill our hearts’desires. In other words, the proponents of this right aim at rootingout the individualistic and capitalistic ideologies and grant thepublic the power to participate in the urbanization process. Theright to the city allows democratic involvement in making decisionsrelated to the urban life, for example, in housing, transportationand water services (Harvey 3). In order to minimize the high rates ofunemployment due to technology, immigration and environmentaldegradation, the public should be given the right to the city. Withpublic participation in the urbanization process, the impacts ofcapitalism and individualism can be reduced ranging from destructionto the environment, unemployment to economic crises. For example, ifthe public had the right to control the housing market that wasexpected to stabilize the economy in 2008, probably, the globalfinancial crisis could not have emerged (Harvey 9).
The Right to Research
The right to research is concerned with the access to tools forcitizens to increase the stock of knowledge so as to claim fullcitizenship, especially in the poorer countries. The right toresearch should be recognized as a basic human right particularly inthe 30% of the global population where people have not gained fullcitizenships (Appadurai 168). The right to research has a lot ofpublic value because it allows young people to improve theircircumstances, exercise informed citizenship and meet their academicaspirations. If the youth is denied such a right, they end up beingguided by local knowledge, which makes it hard to understandglobalization issues such as knowledge of AIDS, shifts in the labormarket, law and digital media. Democratizing the right to accessknowledge as in India allows the continuous access to the knowledgecreated by globalization, which is beneficial to the less-developedcountries (Appadurai 171).
The Right to Infrastructure
The right to infrastructure is interrelated with the right tothe city, which was theorized by Henri Lefebvre in the 1990s. Theright to infrastructure has become a symbol of the modern socialmovements in the urban settings. The right to infrastructure is notconcerned with the claims to get the urban social justice orrecognition to the urban ecology, but it is concerned with the rightsof possibilities emanating from the agential works of infrastructuresas open sources (Corsín Jiménez 3). The terms, “open sourceurbanism”, “open hardware” or “open technology” describesthe wiring of landscapes with devices, architectures, and networksthat has enhanced social-technical relations. Open source urbanismhas increased attention to the local concerns by enabling thecreation of Wi-Fi networks, micro-stations for alternative energy,and urban gardens among others. Such local interventions made by thepublic are transforming the urban space qualities for the better but,at the same time, they deny the government and experts to control theinfrastructures (Corsín Jiménez 5). I think the public should notbe given the right to infrastructure because this would increasecases of hacking, invasion of privacies and increased security threatto the public. The right to infrastructure will violate the socialcontract the state administrations and experts should oversee theoperation of urban equipment.
When the public is granted the right to hide through artisticinterventions and designs, then, it means that surveillance of theiractivities will be hard regarding facial recognitions video trackingand monitoring by drones among others. Therefore, in order to ensurepublic security, the right to hide has little or no value because itjeopardizes their visuality techniques applied by the government. Thevalue of the right to the city can result in a reduction inunemployment rates and minimized environmental degradation and hencethe public should be given this right to allow them to participate indecision-making over matters of housing, transportation and waterservices in urban settings. With the right to research, the youngpeople can increase their stock of knowledge and improve theircircumstances, especially in the poor countries. Therefore, theyshould be granted the right to tools of research that enables them togain full citizenship as well. Although the right to the city has alot of public value, the right to infrastructure, which isinterlinked with this right should not fully granted to the publicbecause it jeopardizes the security of citizens.
Appadurai, Arjun, “The Right to Research.” Globalisation,Societies and Education 4.2 (2006): 167–177. Internet Resource.
Corsín Jiménez,The right to infrastructure: a prototype foropen source urbanism. New York: Routledge, 2013. InternetResource.
Harvey, David, “The right to the city.” New Left Review 5.3(2008):1-25. Internet Resource.
Monahan, Torin. The Right to Hide? Anti-Surveillance Camouflageand the Aestheticization of Resistance, Communication andCritical/Cultural Studies. Retrieved from:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14791420.2015.1006646 on February 06, 2015.