I’m doing some editing on the third Rachel Peng book, and there’s a throwaway bit of dialogue that struck me as interesting. Here’s the spoiler-free version of the text:
The suspect’s face was thinner, her eyebrows altered to look further apart. Her hair was a different color and cut after she had lost the red wig, and she now sported a longish brown bob. She was wearing a trendy but loose jacket, and a pair of Armani jeans that looked painted to her body but moved easily when she walked. A stylish pair of sneakers finished the outfit: she was ready to run if she needed to.
“She knows she could be caught,” Rachel mused through the phone lines. “She’d definitely here for a reason.”
“Maybe a handoff?” Santino asked. “Is she carrying the [MacGuffin]?”
Rachel started to protest: she tried to avoid prodding around clothing and what lay beneath. Larger objects, like guns and most knives, she could pick out no problem, but they were chasing a piece of metal the size of her palm and that involved a slower, more… thorough set of scans.
“Just do it,” Santino muttered. They’d had this discussion many times before. “If you asked someone if they’d rather have you stare at their naked bodies, or pry into their minds, I bet nine times out of ten they’d rather be naked.”
“Reading emotions is not the same as reading minds,” she said, as she fine-tuned her scans to go through pockets and purses and all manner of private places. “And who’s part of a hivemind here anyway, you or me? I’d much rather have someone in my head than pawing at my body.”
“Yeah, right. Ask Zockinski which he’d rather… You know, this might be a gendered issue.”
“Jesus, Santino. Go write a paper on it.”
“Shut up,” she muttered, and this time she meant it. Her partner fell silent as they held their positions, keeping Miss Armani in sight until the police could get close enough to tag her.
So! I’ve already asked friends who identify as male or as female whether they’d rather have someone spy on their emotional status or spy on their naked body. So far, it’s been unanimously males who’d rather have someone look at their bodies, while females would rather have someone look at their emotions. But I think my sample size is too small.
If you’re okay with answering these questions, would you mind noting which type of privacy violation you are most okay with, and whether you identify yourself as male, female, or differently gendered?