Ethica Publishing


Leeds School of Business
UCB 419
Boulder, CO 80309-0419

ethicalistens
@ethicapublishing.com


Convenient or Invasive- The Information Age

For anyone reading Orwell’s 1984, perhaps the biggest surprise is the technological simplicity of the government surveillance techniques. Only a few citizens could be monitored through their TVs at the same time, and behavior was modified through the fear of being monitored. Today, almost anything we do can be and is being monitored, including our online hobbies and real-life friends, the places we visit and when we visit that location (through our cell phones and GPS technology), what we talk about in the privacy of our own homes and vehicles (through the microphones on computers and onboard navigation systems), and even what we think (through monitoring of the brain’s p300 responses). In the year of 1984, the general consensus was that Orwell had incorrectly predicted the technological sophistication that 36 years could bring. Today, close to 60 years after Orwell wrote his book, we are far beyond any technology Orwell imagined, and we are living with today’s technology permeating our lives. This book outlines different ways in which ordinary citizens are now willing to give up their privacy for the conveniences of life.

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The Ethical Imperative in the Context of Evolving Technologies

This book represents the efforts of a group of bright and talented students to analyze the ethics of the technologies that they currently take for granted, and to ask whether evolving technologies may require new ethics. The contents of this book are entirely researched, written, edited, and published by a group of seniors at the Leeds School of Business. The goal of the seminar was to provide a framework3 within which moral dilemmas regarding technologies, cyber-technology in particular, can be identified, analyzed and discussed. As all these students have a sense of ethics, there was no attempt to "teach ethics." Instead, the assumptions that support moral perspectives were brought to the surface and challenged. Rather than debating whether the use of a particular technology was "correct" or "incorrect," the students engaged in examining how valid, sound, and persuasive arguments3 for policies or decisions regarding technology and its uses can be constructed.

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Confronting Information Ethics in the New Millennium

College seniors graduating in 2007 live amidst a vast sea of information almost constantly accessible through increasingly convergent technologies. Students are aware that data mining for marketing, political campaigns, consumer behavior, and terrorist risk assessment is now at levels never before seen. They realize that surveillance is everywhere, from government monitoring of phone calls, emails, and international travel patterns to corporate monitoring of web-site visits, communications, physical location, and computer keystrokes2. All these students have a sense of ethics, of what is right and what is wrong. But in our increasingly technology-dependent world, they have had little time or opportunity to examine how information is shaping the ethics of their age.

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Domains of Information Ethics

There are several agencies that focus on foreign threats to the USA, the foremost of which is the CIA, and of the several intelligence agencies that focus on domestic threats, the FBI is the foremost. Because of the difference in the nature of the mission of the several US intelligence agencies, a problem of intelligence oversight exists and restricts the flow of information to where it is most needed. Additionally, the changing patterns of international and domestic crime and terrorism play a large role in the issues of integration of information because it is increasingly more difficult to distinguish between the foreign and domestic threats. These factors suggest the US is up against an enemy which requires adaptation in the form of increased integration between foreign and domestic intelligence agencies if the US is to effectively combat these new threats.

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Technology and Privacy in the New Millennium

Privacy issues will most likely continue to be contentious, as technology can easily be used as a tool for invasion. The chapters in this book discuss those issues, they provide insight and opinions, and in certain cases, they propose solutions for major problems an individual may encounter when his or her identity is stolen through the use of electronic technology, or when biometrics fail to secure private medical information, or when electronic voting machines can be used to manipulate election results.

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At the Edge of Information - Changing Ethical Dilemmas
At the edge of information

At the edge of information, changing ethical dilemas

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Privacy in a Transparent World

The authors and editors of this book would like to express their gratitude and thanks to all that helped make this publication possible.

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