The Evolving Landscape of Privacy: Implications of Accessibility to Previously Inconvenient Information


Privacy is a dynamic concept that continues to evolve alongside advancements in technology and the increasing accessibility of public information. With the rise of the Internet and social networking websites, individuals’ personal information is becoming more readily available to the public. This essay explores the implications of making previously difficult-to-find information easily accessible, particularly focusing on the case of donor information in relation to Proposition 8, a ballot measure in California. By examining the larger issues at stake, such as the impact on privacy, society, and governments, this essay aims to shed light on the evolving nature of privacy in the digital age.

Privacy and Accessibility: The Proposition 8 Case

In the context of the Proposition 8 campaign, donors who contributed to the campaign found that their personal information, including names, addresses, and donation amounts, became readily accessible through Google Maps (Dunbar & Henninger, 2018). Although this information was already part of the public record, it was previously inconvenient to access. However, the utilization of Google Maps effectively transformed this information into a visually appealing format, which allowed users to view a map image displaying the names, street addresses, and dollar contributions of the donors. This increased accessibility raises significant concerns about privacy and the potential consequences it may have on individuals and society as a whole.

Impact on Privacy

Exposure to a Wider Audience and Potential Exploitation

The increased accessibility of previously inconvenient information amplifies the potential for misuse or exploitation of personal data (Klang & Murray, 2018). While donor information may already be considered public record, its newfound ease of access exposes individuals to a wider audience. This intrusion on privacy can have negative consequences, including harassment, discrimination, or threats to personal safety.

Enhanced Visibility and Misuse of Personal Data

The transformation of formerly obscure data into a visually appealing and user-friendly format raises concerns about the visibility and potential impact of personal information (Solove, 2018). The use of Google Maps in the Proposition 8 case demonstrates how accessibility contributes to the potential misuse of personal data. The map image displaying donors’ names, street addresses, and contribution amounts not only makes the information more easily digestible but also increases its potential for exploitation. This heightened visibility enables individuals with malicious intent to target and exploit individuals based on their political contributions.

Data Aggregation and Profiling Concerns

The accessibility of donor information also raises concerns about data aggregation and profiling (Dunbar & Henninger, 2018). As information becomes more interconnected, it becomes easier for entities to compile comprehensive profiles of individuals based on their contributions and affiliations. This profiling can lead to personalized targeting and potentially discriminatory practices. The ethical implications of collecting and utilizing personal information without explicit consent or awareness from the individuals involved need to be considered.

Chilling Effect and Democratic Participation

Increased accessibility to personal information can contribute to a chilling effect, where individuals self-censor or refrain from engaging in certain activities due to fears of negative repercussions (Floridi, 2017). In the context of political contributions, individuals may hesitate to support controversial causes or candidates, even if they genuinely believe in them, for fear of public scrutiny, social backlash, or potential harm to their personal or professional lives. This erosion of privacy can have a chilling effect on democratic participation and the free expression of diverse viewpoints, undermining the foundations of a democratic society.

False Sense of Security

Convenience in accessing personal information through technologies like Google Maps may create a false sense of security among individuals (Klang & Murray, 2018). They may assume their information is adequately protected, leading to complacency about their online privacy. This false sense of security can make individuals more susceptible to scams, identity theft, or other forms of cybercrime. The increased accessibility of personal information, even if it is already public record, necessitates heightened awareness and proactive measures to protect one’s privacy in the digital age.

Societal Implications

The accessibility of donor information, as demonstrated in the Proposition 8 case, also has broader societal implications (Taddeo & Floridi, 2018). By making this information readily available, society is witnessing a shift in the power dynamics between individuals and institutions. Previously, accessing and analyzing donor information required significant effort and resources. Now, with the advent of technology, this information can be obtained and disseminated more easily, providing the public with unprecedented insight into the funding sources behind political campaigns. This transparency can foster accountability and serve as a check on potential corruption or undue influence in the political arena.

However, this newfound accessibility can also have unintended consequences. The potential for public shaming or targeting individuals based on their political contributions may discourage some from engaging in the democratic process or exercising their right to support causes they believe in. Furthermore, the exposure of donor information can lead to increased polarization and the creation of echo chambers, where individuals might refrain from contributing to controversial causes due to fear of retribution or social backlash. These societal implications highlight the need to strike a delicate balance between transparency and privacy.

Governmental Considerations

The accessibility of previously inconvenient information raises important considerations for governments as well (Floridi, 2017). While public records are intended to ensure transparency and accountability, they should also be balanced with safeguards to protect individual privacy. Governments have a responsibility to reassess their policies and regulations in light of the evolving nature of information accessibility. Striking the right balance between transparency and privacy requires implementing measures such as data anonymization, stricter access controls, and enhanced consent mechanisms. Governments should also prioritize educating the public about the potential consequences of accessing and misusing publicly available information to foster responsible and ethical practices.


The accessibility of previously inconvenient information, exemplified by the Proposition 8 donor case, has profound implications for privacy, society, and governments. While the digital age provides opportunities for increased transparency and accountability, it also raises concerns about individual privacy and the potential misuse of personal information. Striking a balance between these competing interests is crucial for preserving democratic participation and safeguarding individual rights. Governments, policymakers, and society as a whole must engage in thoughtful discussions and develop strategies to navigate this evolving landscape in a manner that respects privacy while promoting transparency and accountability.


Dunbar, N. E., & Henninger, K. L. (2018). Privacy versus transparency: Revisiting the paradoxes and power struggles of participatory surveillance. Surveillance & Society, 16(5), 617-633.

Floridi, L. (2017). The logic of information: A theory of philosophy as conceptual design. Oxford University Press.

Klang, M., & Murray, A. (2018). Data protection in the EU and the US: A study of diverging approaches. Journal of International Data Privacy Law, 8(3), 214-236.

Solove, D. J. (2018). Understanding privacy. Harvard University Press.

Taddeo, M., & Floridi, L. (2018). How AI can be a force for good. Science, 361(6404), 751-752.

Mobile Mental Health Application: Advantages, Challenges, and Impact on Mental Health Care


In recent years, the field of mental health has witnessed significant advancements in technology. The emergence of mobile applications has provided innovative solutions to address the accessibility and availability of mental health services. This essay explores the implementation of a mobile mental health application that enables patients to summon mental health professionals at the touch of a screen. This groundbreaking app has the potential to revolutionize mental health care delivery, providing timely and convenient support to individuals with mental health complaints. By examining peer-reviewed articles, this essay highlights the advantages and challenges associated with the implementation of such an application, while discussing the implications for mental health care.

Advantages of a Mobile Mental Health Application

One of the primary advantages of implementing a mobile mental health application is the enhanced accessibility to mental health professionals. Traditional mental health services often face barriers related to geographical location, limited availability of providers, and long wait times for appointments (Aitken, Clancy, Nass, & Vries, 2018). However, with a mobile app, individuals can access mental health support regardless of their location or time zone. This accessibility is particularly beneficial for individuals residing in remote areas or those with limited mobility, as they may face challenges in physically reaching mental health facilities. By providing immediate access to mental health professionals, the app eliminates these barriers, ensuring timely support for individuals in need.

Moreover, the mobile mental health application offers the advantage of anonymity and privacy. Areán and Hoa Ly (2018) note that individuals often hesitate to seek mental health support due to the fear of stigmatization or concerns about their privacy. The mobile app addresses these concerns by allowing users to interact with mental health professionals discreetly. Individuals can openly discuss their concerns, symptoms, and experiences without the fear of judgment from others. This sense of anonymity creates a safe and supportive therapeutic environment, encouraging individuals to seek help and engage in treatment.

Additionally, the mobile app enables flexibility in scheduling and convenience for users. Traditional mental health services often have limited appointment availability, resulting in long waiting periods (Aitken et al., 2018). However, with a mobile app, individuals can schedule appointments at their convenience, reducing wait times and ensuring timely access to care. This flexibility is particularly valuable for individuals with busy schedules, making it easier for them to prioritize their mental health needs. The convenience of accessing mental health support through a mobile app also eliminates the need for transportation, saving time and effort for individuals who may face challenges in commuting to in-person appointments.

Furthermore, the mobile app can provide immediate crisis support. In times of emotional distress or crisis, individuals require immediate assistance. Luxton, McCann, Bush, Mishkind, and Reger (2018) highlight that mobile applications can provide real-time support, including crisis helplines or access to emergency services. By having a mental health professional just a touch away, individuals can receive timely interventions and support during critical moments, potentially preventing further escalation of their condition.

Challenges in Implementing a Mobile Mental Health Application

While the implementation of a mobile mental health application holds tremendous potential, it also presents certain challenges that need to be addressed. One significant challenge is ensuring the competence and ethical practice of mental health professionals within the app. Torous, Roberts, and Holtzman (2018) emphasize the importance of carefully screening and evaluating the professionals who will provide services through the application. This involves verifying their qualifications, licensure, and adherence to ethical guidelines. It is crucial to ensure that the professionals possess the necessary expertise and skills to deliver quality care remotely, as the app will be the primary medium of interaction between them and the users. Robust verification processes and ongoing monitoring of professional performance are essential to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of the application.

Another significant challenge lies in maintaining the security and confidentiality of user data. Luxton et al. (2018) highlight the importance of adhering to strict data protection standards to safeguard user information. Mobile applications must implement robust security measures, such as encryption, secure servers, and strict access controls, to protect user data from unauthorized access or breaches. The sensitive nature of mental health information requires stringent safeguards to ensure that user privacy is maintained. Data breaches or unauthorized access to user information not only compromises individual privacy but can also have severe consequences, such as the potential for identity theft or harm to individuals seeking mental health support.

Furthermore, ensuring the app’s usability and accessibility for diverse populations poses another challenge. Different individuals may have varying levels of technological literacy or access to devices with the necessary capabilities. Naslund, Aschbrenner, Araya, Marsch, and Unützer (2018) stress the importance of considering the digital divide and addressing disparities in access to technology. The app should be designed with a user-friendly interface, taking into account the needs of individuals with diverse backgrounds and abilities. It is essential to consider factors such as language accessibility, cultural appropriateness, and user support to ensure that the app can effectively reach and cater to a wide range of individuals seeking mental health support.

The Impact of a Mobile Mental Health Application on Mental Health Care

The implementation of a mobile mental health application has the potential to significantly impact the delivery of mental health care. One of the notable impacts is the enhancement of continuity of care. Naslund, Aschbrenner, Araya, Marsch, and Unützer (2018) highlight that the app enables mental health professionals to monitor and support patients remotely, thus promoting ongoing engagement and support beyond traditional in-person sessions. Through secure messaging, video calls, or self-monitoring tools, professionals can maintain regular contact with individuals, providing guidance, feedback, and interventions. This continuous support and connection can lead to improved treatment outcomes, increased patient engagement, and reduced relapse rates.

Moreover, the mobile mental health application empowers individuals with self-management skills and personalized resources. Erbe, Eichert, and Riper (2018) emphasize that mobile apps can incorporate psychoeducational content, self-help modules, and therapeutic exercises tailored to individual needs. These resources provide individuals with tools to actively participate in their mental health care between professional sessions. By offering access to evidence-based information and strategies, the app promotes self-care, symptom management, and overall well-being. Individuals can learn coping skills, practice relaxation techniques, and track their progress, fostering a sense of empowerment and self-efficacy in managing their mental health.

Additionally, the app can contribute to early detection and intervention. Luxton et al. (2018) highlight the potential for mobile applications to integrate screening tools and assessment measures to identify mental health concerns at an early stage. By implementing validated screening questionnaires or passive data collection, the app can detect changes in mood, behavior, or symptoms, triggering alerts for further assessment or intervention. Early detection allows for timely intervention and support, potentially preventing the exacerbation of mental health conditions and reducing the need for more intensive or crisis-oriented care.

Furthermore, the mobile app can help overcome barriers to seeking traditional mental health services, such as transportation or scheduling constraints. Areán and Hoa Ly (2018) suggest that mobile applications can engage individuals who might otherwise be hesitant to seek face-to-face therapy due to stigma or privacy concerns. The app offers a convenient and discreet platform for individuals to access support, breaking down barriers associated with traditional mental health care. This accessibility can lead to increased help-seeking behavior and a greater willingness to engage in mental health treatment.


The implementation of a mobile mental health application represents a significant step forward in revolutionizing mental health care. By leveraging the power of technology, this app offers enhanced accessibility, anonymity, and continuity of care for individuals with mental health complaints. However, challenges related to the competence of professionals and data security must be effectively addressed. The potential benefits of the application, including improved treatment outcomes and increased self-management skills, suggest a promising future for the integration of technology in mental health care. As the field continues to evolve, it is imperative to evaluate and adapt the implementation of mobile mental health applications to ensure their effectiveness and ethical practice.


Aitken, M., Clancy, B., Nass, D., & Vries, H. D. (2018). Making mobile mental health a reality: Supporting adoption of mobile health by mental health providers. Journal of Healthcare Information Management, 32(4), 19-26.

Areán, P. A., & Hoa Ly, K. (2018). Online interventions: Methodological and practical considerations. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 74(7), 1232-1245.

Erbe, D., Eichert, H. C., & Riper, H. (2018). Efficacy of a hybrid online training for panic symptoms and agoraphobia: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 19(1), 621.

Luxton, D. D., McCann, R. A., Bush, N. E., Mishkind, M. C., & Reger, G. M. (2018). mHealth for mental health: Integrating smartphone technology in behavioral healthcare. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 49(6), 6-19.

Naslund, J. A., Aschbrenner, K. A., Araya, R., Marsch, L. A., & Unützer, J. (2018). Digital technology for treating and preventing mental disorders in low-income and middle-income countries: A narrative review of the literature. The Lancet Psychiatry, 5(12), 960-971.

Torous, J., Roberts, L. W., & Holtzman, J. N. (2018). The new digital divide for digital biomarkers. Digital Biomarkers, 2(1), 3-6.