I think one of the major concerns with the idea of a “socially responsible” business model is that it will inevitably lead to a reduction in profits. Yet, as we have read and as many developing companies have shown, this is merely an illusion. Socially responsible organizations—those that address, ameliorate, and in some cases eliminate a societal issue—are growing in number and popularity. Because there is this inherent sense that socially conscious, stakeholder-oriented business approaches are not profit maximizing, I do not believe for-profit businesses are always the best method to solving social issues. Many times NGOs, charitable foundations, and other such organizations might best solve these problems, as they are not constricted by shareholder demands. An investor will certainly contribute to a socially responsible business if it is a lucrative opportunity, but not merely because it’s just “the good thing to do.”
Regardless, an important social issue I’m passionate about is the protection of civil liberties, particularly with regards to data and privacy. I have always been cognizant of what I put on the Internet, knowing that it will truly never be deleted; I learned many alarming and unsettling things regarding surveillance and data collection by taking the technological organization. The UK has CCTV cameras watching people nearly everywhere. I was there for two months and I can tell you it’s a bit weird. I ended up writing a research paper on CCTV and British citizen surveillance for my class while there and the resounding majority of my research suggested that surveillance methods did little to deter crimes (there help was more in crime detection). It still seems shocking to me that this exists in a country where the police don’t carry guns and cant force you to show them your ID when you get pulled over. This issue is also currently at the forefront of the mainstream media with the case between Apple and the FBI. I’m entirely with Apple on this one—why should they not only waste their time and money, but risk jeopardizing the security of their entire operating system just to get into the phone of one dead guy? Furthermore, the precedent should not be established that the courts can force tech companies to do these sorts of things. The causes of this issue include an uninformed public and intention psychological manipulation by the government. Think of the PATRIOT ACT for example. People have no idea how this erodes their civil liberties and instead are forced to believe that if they denounce the act, they are not a true “patriot.” The Apple situation is similar. “If you are supporting Apple, then surely you must not want stop ISIS or protect national security.” The public must become better educated about these sorts of things.