The Ethics Sage Addresses Youthful Cybercrime – Hacking and Online Bullying


Cyber ethics education – Ethics Sage

I feel strongly that cyber ethics education is a must. Students tend to react more positively to discussing right and wrong behavior when they are personally invested. After all, it is difficult to discuss with youngsters the ethics of some Congressional representative; they can’t relate; they have no frame of reference. However, using computers to steal information or bully others is front and center in their consciousness.

Dr. Marvin Berkowitz of St. Louis University conducted an analysis of the behavioral development factors that must be considered in searching for an optimal age range for instruction of cyber ethics. Dr. Berkowitz concluded that the 9-12 ages was a “very reasonable” age to target for a first time strategy of cyber ethics instruction. Several factors led to this conclusion. This age range is considered a “gateway” age and has been used by other groups to begin message delivery; e.g. substance abuse and sex education. Absent hard data on the age at which children actually begin to go on line, we can generally assume that by age 13 children have routine access to the Internet. The 9-12 ages is also the point in development where children begin to understand abstract values, for example, privacy rights, and can begin to evaluate the consequences of their actions. It is important to be able to think abstractly, particularly when working in a medium that is routinely described as “virtual.”

Cyber ethics education – Ethics Sage

 

I also feel strongly about this issue. Ethics training should begin in the schools as early as possible and the article is absolutely correct. Dealing with real current issues is completely superior to hypothetical scenarios.What is happening in your life now is almost always more important and more relevant then what might happen. Hacking and cyberbullying, also referred to as cybercrime, are gateway crimes. I believe they can lead to more serious crimes because they make unethical behavior more acceptable and more routine.

I believe that we strengthen our ethics and moral stance by our choices in our life experiences. You can choose to limit television viewing to programs that have strong themes of morality and justice. You can choose motions pictures based on whether or not the film conveys messages of kindness and healing as opposed to wanton killing and theft. You can choose to surround yourself with art, culture and literature choosing to become a fuller and better human being instead of relying on consumerism to make you content in the narrow sense.

Ethics is not just a class in college. It is a lifetime pursuit of the what Greeks called the “good life.” The earlier we begin ethical training and the more relevant it is, the better to begin that internal conversation that builds judgment and wisdom.

There is no doubt in my mind that this society at this time in history needs more judgment and wisdom. We are in the midst of an ethics crisis. The great financial institutions of this country have engaged in trickery and deceit on a massive scaled as well as engaging in the most reckless kind of speculation with other peoples’ money.

Concentrated around Washington and its environs, is a relatively small number of opinion leaders known as “very serious people” or the Washington Elite or the “villagers.” They believe that standardized tests solve educational problems, that cutting the benefits that feed the helpless and keep the elderly out of poverty have to be cut in a time of economic recession and high unemployment. They seem to have no idea how the great mass of Americans live and little curiosity about them. We live in the richest nation on earth and we are unable to maintain our infrastructure or feed the poor. This is immoral. Exalting greed is immoral. Evading taxes by moving money overseas is immoral and unpatriotic. Making corporations already profitable even richer by tax breaks is immoral.

We should start moral education early and if we do so, we see real effects with a little luck in our lifetimes. It is obvious that there has been failures in the moral teaching delivered to this generation.

Let us build a new consensus that “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it”

James Pilant

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SceneTap Controversy Discussed by the Ethics Sage


Creepy Facial Recognition App Raises Privacy Concerns – Ethics Sage

You’re single and looking for someone to meet so you go to one of the bars in your home town. You decide to use a new app to scan the faces of patrons in the bars in the downtown area to determine the ages and genders of customers in the bars. You then check your smartphone for real-time updates on the crowd size, average age and male-to-female mix to decide whether the scene is to your liking. Then, you pick out the bar that best suits your needs and off you go to mingle with the crowd. Is it fact or fiction?

It is happening right now. On May 17, the Austin, Texas-based makers of SceneTap launched an app that can do just that. The app doesn’t identify specific individuals or save personal information. SceneTap’s ability to guess how old people are and whether they’re men or women relies on advances in a field known as biometrics. A camera at the door snaps your picture, and software maps your features to a grid. By measuring distances such as the length between the nose and the eyes and the eyes and the ears, an algorithm matches your dimensions to a database of averages for age and gender.

Creepy Facial Recognition App Raises Privacy Concerns – Ethics Sage

The computer has brought us many benefits but it also provides new opportunities to lose privacy. This one is apparently being used for lounge lizards to scan their female prey, not very edifying. So, what’s next – scanners that track your visits to stores, sidewalks and communities. What kind of privacy are we going to have left?

James Pilant

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Wichita police testing out 6 body-mounted cameras (via The Wichita Eagle)


From the article by Stan Finger –

A half-dozen Wichita police officers are testing a new body camera system that records everything the officers see and do outside their vehicles.

The field tests began two weeks ago and will continue for another two weeks, Capt. Jeff Easter said Wednesday.

“Anything that they get out of the vehicle on, they’ll record,” Easter said of the officers. “Anything is evidence. You never know what’s going to happen in front of you when you get out on the scene.”

Early results are promising.

“It’s a very good system,” Easter said. “The video quality is amazing. It’s much better than any other camera system we’ve looked at in the past.”

The system is manufactured by Taser, which is letting Wichita police try it out. The head-mounted system resembles a Bluetooth and can also be attached to an officer’s hat or eyewear.

I’m a little surprised that the police are adopting these without any fuss. I have read and directly heard about the police disabling cameras. But apparently it has become a useful tool for the officer.

I’m a little more interested in what this means for the rest of us. I recognize that the technology is available to be purchased now but it is not the same. These things kick on every time an officer exits the car. They keep all of what is seen for a year. This is no short time surveillance camera in a tie. While we are not police officers whose department is willing to spend the $5,000 a year necessary, we will eventually be the beneficiaries of the technology. Soon at a reasonable price you will be able to make a record of everything you see 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It might be useful taking college classes or at a family reunion or in large scale use changing the social fabric of the nation.

Will all Americans adapt their behavior to an utterly continuous recording of themselves by countless others? What will be the long term social effects?

In terms of business ethics, what we have here is the private becoming public. Discussions, comments and negotiations will all be easily recorded in the most informal of circumstances with the ability to keep records for years. Is there a disclosure requirement? Is there going to be an unspoken agreement not to use these in negotiation? Can they be used in court? This kind of evidence could come back to bite you as long as it exists and eventually those records will exist for the course of our lives or longer.

Will states or the federal government regulate their use? That is an important question. There is some regulation of recording phone calls. The grounds for this is that there is no consent from one of the parties. That would be a similar justification for laws on continuous viewing by personal cameras.

These things worry me. We seem as a society to do things without discussion and debate. When we do it turns every single time into a debate over personal freedom versus government regulation whether or not these are significant factors in the issue. Every subject can be classified that way but that doesn’t mean it fits into that box. Surveillance is more of an issue of what can new technology do and “what the effects are.” What are the advantages of this technology? Does it conflict with our customs and morality? What effects will it have in different areas of endeavor; medical operations, trial, sports, sex, and countless others. Once we think about the effects then we can start putting it into legal or regulatory boxes. But in current discussion the boxes come first and we never do the often subtle thinking that allows humanity to make reasonable and intelligent decisions.

James Pilant

P.S.

I went to a “gadget site” on the web. I couldn’t get a price but the system ad read this way. I think you’re supposed to feel like Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible move.

This High Quality Body Camera set is ready for Covert Operations. This complete set is all you need. At a much better and higher resolution then our lower priced Body Cam, you get what you pay for. This is the best there is. Camera is powered by the DVR unit itself so there is no stupid 9 volt batery to weight you down.

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The “BlackBerry Riots” — What Should RIM Do? (via The Business Ethics Blog)


We have learned that Chris MacDonald quickly analyzes current events for ethical issues and can be counted on to get a post up in a day or less. This is one of those.

Chris MacDonald

My favorite paragraph is this one –

The question is complicated by questions of precedence. Tech companies have come under fire for assisting governments in, for example, China, to crack down on dissidents. Of course, the UK government isn’t anything like China’s repressive regime. But at least some people are pointing to underlying social unrest, unemployment etc., in the UK as part of the reason — if not justification — for the riots. And besides, even if it’s clear that the UK riots are unjustifiable and that the UK government is a decent one, companies like RIM are global companies, engaged in a whole spectrum of social and political settings, ones that will stubbornly refuse to be categorized. Should a tech company help a repressive regime stifle peaceful protest? No. Should a tech company help a good and just government fight crime? Yes. But with regard to governments, as with regard to social unrest, there’s much more grey in the world than black and white.

We’re going to come across this issue again and again. Modern social unrest, justified, unjustified or simply beyond our understanding, is now also a product of social networking. As these machines gain complexity and power, so will the possibilities of social action. We are entering a new world in which a protest or similar action can be organized in very short chunks of times. Flyers and bullhorns are as obsolete as Egyptian hieroglyphs in this new climate of computer assisted unrest.

James Pilant

The intersection of social media with social unrest is a massive topic these days. Twitter has been credited with playing an important role in coordinating the pro-democracy protests in Egypt, and Facebook played a role in helping police track down culprits after the Vancouver hockey riots. But the mostly-unstated truth behind these “technologies of the people” is that they are corporate technologies, ones developed, fostered, and controlled by c … Read More

via The Business Ethics Blog

Moral Implications of the Workplace Part 2 (via Ethical Realism)


I found this an informative post. There were things in it I didn’t know. It touches on many ethical issues, many of the critical ones in the lives of employees. Take this for an example –

Companies often pressure employees to get involved in civic activities, such as “running for the local school board or heading up a commission in the arts,” but such pressure must not constitute coercion (ibid.). Employees must not be disciplined or dismissed for a lack of participation, and even public embarrassment could be considered to be a form of coercion. For example, “[m]embers of the Army Band… won a suit claiming that the posting of names of soldiers who had not contributed to the United Way constituted coercion” (245).

Now that coercion is going to become far more intense. The supreme court’s Citizens United decision allows limitless spending on influencing employees.

And how about this?

Some businesses pressure employees to undergo “personal growth” to help people “realize their potential for perceiving, thinking, feeling, creating, and experiencing” (ibid.). There are many different kinds of intensive groups and companies often use “team-building groups to facilitate the attainment of production and related goals as well as to provide opportunities for improved human relations and personal growth” (ibid.). Again, intensive group experience can improve productivity, so it is relevant to job performance. However, employees should not be punished for refusing to participate.

This is one I find particularly loathsome. Chasing around as forced comrades in some strange locale for some strange idea of development inevitably tied in to some bizarre theory like “emotional intelligence,” is pretty close to forcing me to live in a version of a horror movie without hope of escape.

So, please give this writing your attention.

James Pilant

My thanks to Ethical Realism.

I have already discussed various moral implications of the workplace in part 1 of “Moral Implications of the Workplace,” and I will continue the discussion here by considering (a) privacy, (b) work conditions, and (c) job satisfaction. This discussion is based on chapter seven of Business Ethics (Third Edition, 1999) by William Shaw. Privacy We have a right to privacy, and a lack of privacy can endanger our livelyhood. We don’t want people to see … Read More

via Ethical Realism

Are Outdoor Surveillance Systems the Big Threat Towards Privacy and Personal Integrity? (via Are Outdoor Surveillance Systems the Big Threat To)


You’d have to look a long time to find a meatier or more significant blog post than this one. Our declining privacy is a crisis. Our lives as individuals are rapidly being diminished. More and more we exist as manipulated numbers, figures in a computer.

When are we going to get concerned? When is this going to become an important issue?

This is an important post. I am deeply impressed. I hope to see more.

James Pilant

We now have a community where it seem necessary to use modern technology to monitor people and property. We might risk that sensitive information about privacy will be compromised (as any computer system is leaking). States and authorities are not the only threat to personal privacy. Companies are taking more stringent measures for enhancing the viability of collecting detailed personal information about its customers, potential candidates for em … Read More

via Are Outdoor Surveillance Systems the Big Threat To

Espresso, WiFi, & Confidentiality with a Twist of Lemon (via Bow Tie Law’s Blog)


Does an attorney violate client confidentiality by using public broadband? It appears so. There are clear implications for any profession in which confidentiality is a responsibility. Is this the first shot in a dispute about using public Internet access for professionals or all of us?

Maybe we should all be more aware of the risks to our own data?

Read this fascinating article on using the web and an attorney’s fiduciary duty.

James Pilant

Espresso, WiFi, & Confidentiality with a Twist of Lemon Many attorneys, as with a large contingent of the general public, do not possess much, if any, technological savvy. Although the Committee does not believe that attorneys must develop a mastery of the security features and deficiencies of each technology available, the duties of confidentiality and competence that attorneys owe to their clients do require a basic understanding of the electronic protections afforded by the technology they use in t … Read More

via Bow Tie Law’s Blog

Wichita police testing out 6 body-mounted cameras (via The Wichita Eagle)


From the article by Stan Finger –

A half-dozen Wichita police officers are testing a new body camera system that records everything the officers see and do outside their vehicles.

The field tests began two weeks ago and will continue for another two weeks, Capt. Jeff Easter said Wednesday.

“Anything that they get out of the vehicle on, they’ll record,” Easter said of the officers. “Anything is evidence. You never know what’s going to happen in front of you when you get out on the scene.”

Early results are promising.

“It’s a very good system,” Easter said. “The video quality is amazing. It’s much better than any other camera system we’ve looked at in the past.”

The system is manufactured by Taser, which is letting Wichita police try it out. The head-mounted system resembles a Bluetooth and can also be attached to an officer’s hat or eyewear.

I’m a little surprised that the police are adopting these without any fuss. I have read and directly heard about the police disabling cameras. But apparently it has become a useful tool for the officer.

I’m a little more interested in what this means for the rest of us. I recognize that the technology is available to be purchased now but it is not the same. These things kick on every time an officer exits the car. They keep all of what is seen for a year. This is no short time surveillance camera in a tie. While we are not police officers whose department is willing to spend the $5,000 a year necessary, we will eventually be the beneficiaries of the technology. Soon at a reasonable price you will be able to make a record of everything you see 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It might be useful taking college classes or at a family reunion or in large scale use changing the social fabric of the nation.

Will all Americans adapt their behavior to an utterly continuous recording of themselves by countless others? What will be the long term social effects?

In terms of business ethics, what we have here is the private becoming public. Discussions, comments and negotiations will all be easily recorded in the most informal of circumstances with the ability to keep records for years. Is there a disclosure requirement? Is there going to be an unspoken agreement not to use these in negotiation? Can they be used in court? This kind of evidence could come back to bite you as long as it exists and eventually those records will exist for the course of our lives or longer.

Will states or the federal government regulate their use? That is an important question. There is some regulation of recording phone calls. The grounds for this is that there is no consent from one of the parties. That would be a similar justification for laws on continuous viewing by personal cameras.

These things worry me. We seem as a society to do things without discussion and debate. When we do it turns every single time into a debate over personal freedom versus government regulation whether or not these are significant factors in the issue. Every subject can be classified that way but that doesn’t mean it fits into that box. Surveillance is more of an issue of what can new technology do and “what the effects are.” What are the advantages of this technology? Does it conflict with our customs and morality? What effects will it have in different areas of endeavor; medical operations, trial, sports, sex, and countless others. Once we think about the effects then we can start putting it into legal or regulatory boxes. But in current discussion the boxes come first and we never do the often subtle thinking that allows humanity to make reasonable and intelligent decisions.

James Pilant

P.S.

I went to a “gadget site” on the web. I couldn’t get a price but the system ad read this way. I think you’re supposed to feel like Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible move.

This High Quality Body Camera set is ready for Covert Operations. This complete set is all you need. At a much better and higher resolution then our lower priced Body Cam, you get what you pay for. This is the best there is. Camera is powered by the DVR unit itself so there is no stupid 9 volt batery to weight you down.

Did You Know My Religion Was Reform Judaism?


Did you know that I was a Reform Jew?

Well, you can forget it as quick as you learned it. I am a Methodist, but Reform Jew is what my Facebook Profile says.

I don’t want people who I don’t know anything about to have access to my actual data. Besides Reform Judaism sounds kind of neat.

(I considered Islam, but I didn’t want to wait an extra couple of hours to board a plane.)

Loren Steffy writes about internet privacy and specifically about Facebook privacy in a recent column.
From the Column

We’ve allowed self-indulgence and technology to override common sense when it comes to what we share with the world.

A birth date and a name can yield a driver’s license number and address in about 30 seconds. From there, it’s relatively easy to get a Social Security number, a list of legal judgments or convictions, information on gun permits, pilot licenses and voter registration, among other things.

You can, of course, just put the month and a day of your birth, but profile photos and school information can make it possible to guess the year.

Either way, it may be enough information to, say, fill out a credit card application in your name. For minors, this is particularly dangerous because identity theft can go undetected until they’re old enough to establish credit, and by then their credit is already ruined.

Facebook, of course, isn’t the culprit. It simply provides the platform from which we feel a need to talk about ourselves. Much of the same information can be found elsewhere with a little effort, of course. Facebook merely wraps it in a tidy package for lazy online scofflaws.

Facebook has added privacy controls, but the typical user doesn’t really know who all their friends are, or how much they value the friendship. Would all your “friends” turn down, say, $50, to let a someone have a look at your profile?

Student Privacy Disappearing!


The increasing use of student surveillance and intrusion of school districts into students’ extra-curricular conduct should alarm us all. Whether it is a district surveilling students in their bedrooms via webcam, conducting random drug or locker searches, strip-searching students, lowering the standard for searching students to “reasonable suspicion” from “probable cause,” disciplining students for conduct outside of school hours, searching their cellphones and text messages, or allegedly forcing them to undergo pregnancy testing, student privacy is under increasing threat.

In this quote from the web site, Pogo Was Right, it’s laid out for us. The schools’ use of surveillance technology is on the rise and students will be conditioned to having it.

Wow, this generation has a rendezvous with destiny. And apparently that destiny is the destruction of their privacy throughout their lives. Gives you a patriotic feeling, doesn’t, … You know. Land of the free and all that.

James Pilant