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Ethical Dilemma/Issues in the Cyberworld

"[To] do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time,
with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not for everyone nor is it easy;
wherefore goodness is both rare and laudable and noble."
(Aristotle, Ethics II.9)
Ethical dilemma is a complex situation that will often involve an apparent mental
conflict between moral imperatives, in which to obey one would result in transgressing
another. This is also called an ethical paradox since in moral philosophy, paradox plays
a central role in ethics debates. For instance, an ethical admonition to "love thy neighbor
as thy self" is not always just in contrast with, but sometimes in contradiction to an
armed neighbor actively trying to rape you: if he or she succeeds, you will not be able to
love him or her. But to preemptively attack them or restrain them is not usually
understood as loving. This is one of the classic examples of an ethical decision clashing
or conflicting with an organismic decision, one that would be made only from the
perspective of animal survival: an animal is thought to act only in its immediate
perceived bodily self-interests when faced with bodily harm, and to have limited ability to
perceive alternatives - see fight or flight....
However, human beings have complex social relationships that can't be ignored:
If one has an ethical relationship with the neighbor trying to kill you, then, usually, their
desire to kill you would likely be the result of mental illness on their part, stories told to
them by others, e.g. their daughter claims you raped her. Such conflicts might be settled
by some other path that has strong social support. Societies formed criminal justice
systems (some argue also ethical traditions and religions) to defuse just such deep
conflicts. Such systems always impose trained judges who are presumed to have an
ethical relationship and also a clear obligation to all who come before them.
Reframing "problems" as "dilemmas"...
Problems might be defined as those recurring and frustrating “glitches” and
“snafus” which impede smooth organizational functioning. They also hinder the process
of achieving personal and professional as well as organizational goals.
Additionally, each alternative in a dilemma possesses inherent drawbacks that
the other alternative avoids. Returning to the fictitious husband, telling the truth will likely
lead to hurt feelings and estrangement, certainly not conducive to marital happiness.
Yet, telling a lie is an affront to the vow of being "true...all the days of my life." A
dilemma, then, requires organizational leaders to deal with the conflicts of values at the
heart of conflicts if organizational leaders are to solve organizational problems. Invoking
the medical metaphor once again, reframing a "problem" as a "dilemma" requires
leaders to search for and to identify the disease manifesting itself in the symptoms of
organizational dysfunction. To do so, organizational leaders must have the courage to
challenge themselves and their followers as well to identify the problem as well to probe
into and beyond them if they are see clearly the deeper issue that the problem
Ethical dilemmas...
An ethical dilemma emerges in a context of conflict between at least two goods
(values) which require different responses.
The conflict can be simple and straightforward, like a person who makes
conflicting promises. What is that person to do? The conflict can be more complex, for
example, when physicians and families agree that human life should not be prolonged
and that unpreventable pain should not be tolerated. Just when should life support be
withdrawn? The conflict can also be very complex as Sartre (1957) noted in relating the
story of the student whose brother had been killed in the German offensive of 1940. The
student desired with all of his heart to avenge his brother's death and to fight the forces
he regarded as the incarnation of evil. But, the student's mother was living with him and
he was her sole consolation in life. The student was torn between two values. One
value was of limited scope but certain efficacy, that is, personal devotion to his
mother. The second value was of wider scope but uncertain efficacy, that is, offering
one's services in an attempt to contribute to the defeat of an unjust aggressor.
In such contexts, an agent views oneself as having ethical principles to pursue
each of at least two actions but doing so is not possible.
The crucial elements of an ethical dilemma are these: the agent can perform
each action and the agent cannot perform both or all of the actions. Thus, the agent
appears to be condemned to ethical failure on at least one count because no matter
what course of conduct the agent selects, this person will not do what virtue requires,
namely, will fail to do something that the agent ought to do. However, when one of the
ethical requirements overrides another there is no genuine ethical dilemma. So, in
addition to the two elements already mentioned, in order to have a genuine ethical
dilemma, it must also be the case that none of the other conflicting values can be
Sartre's story about the student proves instructive in this regard. If the student
was certain that he would make a difference in defeating the Germans, then the
obligation to join the military would prevail. But, if the student would make little or no
difference whatsoever in the cause of the French, then his obligation to tend to his
mother's needs would take precedence since there he is virtually certain to be helpful.
Some ethicists have argued that solving an ethical dilemma involves
hierarchically arranging the resolutions to the conflict of values, however many there
might be. In this scheme, the highest-ordered resolution always prevails, the second
prevails unless it conflicts with the first, and so on. This scheme is problematic,
however, and on at least two counts. First: it is not credible to assert that values and the
conduct required by them can be so neatly ordered. Keeping one's promises and not
harming others clearly can conflict but it is not at all clear that one of these resolutions
should always prevail over the other. Second: where it possible to arrange values and
the conduct required by them hierarchically, it is entirely possible that the same value
and resolution can give rise to conflicting obligations (what ethicists call "symmetrical
cases" [Sinnott-Armstrong, 1988]).
William Styron invites his audience to enter just such a context in his novel,
Sophie's Choice. A mother, Sophie, and her two children are interred in a Nazi
concentration camp. A guard informs Sophie that one child will be killed and the other
allowed to live. Her decision will save the life of one child but only by condemning the
other to death. The context is further complicated by the guard who informs Sophie that,
if she chooses neither child, then both will be killed. This piece of information provides
Sophie with an ethically compelling reason to choose one child; yet, Sophie has equally
compelling reasons to choose to save both. Thus, the value of preserving human life
gives rise to a genuine ethical dilemma.
Ethical dilemmas present organizational leaders with two questions: "What ought
I do?" and "Why ought I do it?" It is likely that different organizational leaders will select
different resolutions to an ethical dilemma presenting itself depending upon the
situation, intentions, and the circumstances. Because of this characteristic, some
ethicists (Kant, 1971; Mill, 1979; Ross, 1930, 1939) have argued that ethical theory
should not allow for the possibility of a dilemma. That presupposes, of course, that there
exists only one choice concerning what ought to be done.
1. Invasion of Privacy
The wrongful intrusion into a person's private activities by other individuals or by
the government. Tort law protects one's private affairs with which the public has no
concern against unwarranted exploitation or publicity that causes mental suffering or
humiliation to the average person. The right to be left alone is not always superior to
the rights of the public and it may or may not exist or may exist to a lesser degree
with regard to the life of a public figure, such as a politician or other person in whom
the public has a rightful interest. The right to personal privacy is encompassed as an
aspect of liberty protected against government interference by the Constitution's due
process clause. Some of the personal decisions protected from unwarranted
government interference include decisions relating to marriage, procreation,
contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education.
2. Theft
In criminal law, theft is the illegal taking of another person's property without that
person's freely-given consent. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term
for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting,
robbery, shoplifting, fraud and sometimes criminal conversion. In some jurisdictions,
theft is considered to be synonymous with larceny; in others, theft has replaced
Someone who carries out an act of or makes a career of theft is known as a thief,
and the act of theft is known as stealing, thieving, or sometimes filching.
3. Security
Security is the degree of protection against danger, loss, and criminals.
Security has to be compared and contrasted with other related concepts: Safety,
continuity, reliability. The key difference between security and reliability is that
security must take into account the actions of people attempting to cause
Security as a form of protection are structures and processes that provide or
improve security as a condition. The Institute for Security and Open Methodologies
(ISECOM) in the OSSTMM 3 defines security as "a form of protection where a
separation is created between the assets and the threat. This includes but is not
limited to the elimination of either the asset or the threat. In order to be secure, either
the asset is physically removed from the threat or the threat is physically removed
from the asset.[1].
Security as a national condition was defined in a United Nations study (1986)
{{Citation needed|date=September, so that they can develop and progress freely.
• With respect to classified matter, the condition that prevents unauthorized
persons from having access to official information that is safeguarded in the
interests of national security.
• Measures taken by a military unit, an activity or installation to protect itself
against all acts designed to, or which may, impair its effectiveness.
1. Copyright infringement
Copyright infringement (or copyright violation) is the unauthorized or prohibited
use of works covered by copyright law, in a way that violates one of the copyright
owner's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted
work, or to make derivative works.
For electronic and audio-visual media, unauthorized reproduction and distribution
is also commonly referred to as piracy (an early reference was made by Daniel
Defoe in 1703 when he said of his novel True-born Englishman : "Its being Printed
again and again, by Pyrates"[2]). The practice of labeling the act of infringement as
"piracy" actually predates copyright itself. Even prior to the 1709 enactment of the
Statute of Anne, generally recognized as the first copyright law, the Stationers'
Company of London in 1557 received a Royal Charter giving the company a
monopoly on publication and tasking it with enforcing the charter. Those who
violated the charter were labeled pirates as early as 1603.[3]
The legal basis for this usage dates from the same era, and has been
consistently applied until the present time.[4][5] Critics of the use of the term "piracy" to
describe such practices contend that it is pejorative and unfairly equates copyright
infringement with more sinister activity,[6] though courts often hold that under law the
two terms are interchangeable.[7]
2. Unfair competition
Unfair competition in commercial law refers to a number of areas of law involving
acts by one competitor or group of competitors which harm another in the field, and
which may give rise to criminal offenses and civil causes of action. The most
common actions falling under the banner of unfair competition include:
• Matters pertaining to antitrust law, known in the European Union as competition
law. Antitrust violations constituting unfair competition occur when one competitor
attempts to force others out of the market (or prevent others from entering the
market) through tactics such as predatory pricing or obtaining exclusive purchase
rights to raw materials needed to make a competing product.
• Trademark infringement and passing off, which occur when the maker of a
product uses a name, logo, or other identifying characteristics to deceive
consumers into thinking that they are buying the product of a competitor. In the
United States, this form of unfair competition is prohibited under the common law
and by state statutes, and governed at the federal level by the Lanham Act.
• Misappropriation of trade secrets, which occurs when one competitor uses
espionage, bribery, or outright theft to obtain economically advantageous
information in the possession of another. In the United States, this type of activity
is forbidden by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and the Economic Espionage Act
of 1996.
• Trade libel, the spreading of false information about the quality or characteristics
of a competitor's products, is prohibited at common law.
• Tortious interference, which occurs when one competitor convinces a party
having a relationship with another competitor to breach a contract with, or duty
to, the other competitor is also prohibited at common law.
Various unfair business practices such as fraud, misrepresentation, and
unconscionable contracts may be considered unfair competition, if they give one
competitor an advantage over others. In the European Union, each member state
must regulate unfair business practices in accordance with the principles laid down
in the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, subject to transitional periods. (See
also trade regulation law.)
1. Virus
A virus (from the Latin virus meaning toxin or poison) is a small infectious agent
that can replicate only inside the cells of other organisms. Viruses are too small to
be seen directly with a light microscope. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from
animals and plants to bacteria and archaea.[1] Since the initial discovery of tobacco
mosaic virus by Martinus Beijerinck in 1898,[2] about 5,000 viruses have been
described in detail,[3] although there are millions of different types.[4] Viruses are
found in almost every ecosystem on Earth and these minute structures are the most
abundant type of biological entity.[5][6] The study of viruses is known as virology, a
sub-specialty of microbiology.
Unlike prions and viroids, viruses consist of two or three parts: all viruses have
genes made from either DNA or RNA, long molecules that carry genetic information;
all have a protein coat that protects these genes; and some have an envelope of fat
that surrounds them when they are outside a cell. Viroids do not have a protein coat
and prions contain no RNA or DNA. Viruses vary from simple helical and icosahedral
shapes, to more complex structures. Most viruses are about one hundred times
smaller than an average bacterium. The origins of viruses in the evolutionary history
of life are unclear: some may have evolved from plasmids—pieces of DNA that can
move between cells—while others may have evolved from bacteria. In evolution,
viruses are an important means of horizontal gene transfer, which increases genetic
Viruses spread in many ways; plant viruses are often transmitted from plant to
plant by insects that feed on sap, such as aphids, while animal viruses can be
carried by blood-sucking insects. These disease-bearing organisms are known as
vectors. Influenza viruses are spread by coughing and sneezing. The norovirus and
rotaviruses, common causes of viral gastroenteritis, are transmitted by the faecal-
oral route and are passed from person to person by contact, entering the body in
food or water. HIV is one of several viruses transmitted through sexual contact or by
exposure to infected blood.
Viral infections in animals provoke an immune response that usually eliminates
the infecting virus. These immune responses can also be produced by vaccines,
which give immunity to specific viral infections. However, some viruses including HIV
and those causing viral hepatitis evade these immune responses and cause chronic
infections. Microorganisms also have defences against viral infection, such as
restriction modification systems. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses, but several
antiviral drugs have been developed.
2. Videoconferencing
A videoconference or video conference (also known as a videoteleconference) is
a set of interactive telecommunication technologies which allow two or more
locations to interact via two-way video and audio transmissions simultaneously. It
has also been called 'visual collaboration' and is a type of groupware.
Videoconferencing differs from a videophone calls in that its designed to serve a
conference rather than individuals. It is an intermediate form of videotelephony, first
deployed commercially by AT&T during the early 1970s using their Picturephone
3. Piracy
Piracy is a war-like act committed by private parties (not affiliated with any
government) that engage in acts of robbery and/or criminal violence at sea. The term
can include acts committed in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not
normally include crimes committed against persons travelling on the same vessel as
the perpetrator (e.g. one passenger stealing from others on the same vessel). The
term has been used to refer to raids across land borders by non-state agents. Piracy
should be distinguished from privateering, which was a legitimate form of war-like
activity by non-state actors, authorized by their national authorities, until this form of
commerce raiding was outlawed in the 19th century.
4. Defamation
In English and American law, and systems based on them, libel and slander are
two forms of defamation (or defamation of character), which is the tort or delict of
making a false statement of fact that injures someone's reputation. "Defamation" is
however the generally-used term internationally, and is accordingly used in this
article where it is not necessary to distinguish between "libel" and "slander".
5. Fraud
In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain
or to damage another individual. The specific legal definition varies by legal
jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and is also a civil law violation. Many hoaxes are
fraudulent, although those not made for personal gain are not technically frauds.
Defrauding people of money is presumably the most common type of fraud, but
there have also been many fraudulent "discoveries" in art, archaeology, and science.
6. Pornography
Ethics and Law
1. Computer Ethics
Computer Ethics is a branch of practical philosophy which deals with how
computing professionals should make decisions regarding professional and
social conduct [1]. Since the 1990s the field has started being integrated into
professional development programs in academic settings. The conceptual
foundations of computer ethics are investigated by information ethics, a branch of
philosophical ethics established by Luciano Floridi. Computer ethics is a very
important topic in computer applications.
2. Netiquette
Netiquette (a portmanteau formed from "network etiquette") is a set of social
conventions that facilitate interaction over networks, ranging from Usenet and
mailing lists to blogs and forums. These rules were described in IETF RFC 1855.
However, like many Internet phenomena, the concept and its application
remain in a state of flux, and vary from community to community. The points
most strongly emphasized about USENET netiquette often include using simple
electronic signatures, and avoiding multiposting, cross-posting, off-topic posting,
hijacking a discussion thread, and other techniques used to minimize the effort
required to read a post or a thread. Netiquette guidelines posted by IBM for
employees utilizing Second Life in an official capacity, however, focus on basic
professionalism, maintaining a tenable work environment, and protecting IBM's
intellectual property.[2] Similarly, some Usenet guidelines call for use of
unabbreviated English[3][4] while users of online chat protocols like IRC and instant
messaging protocols like SMS often encourage just the opposite, bolstering use
of SMS language.