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Ethical issues assignment: Use of ICTs


Assignment Description
Students will be assigned in a group of five (5) students from the same laboratory class. You must not change your group unless approved by your tutor. Please select one of the topics below and inform your tutor the topic you have chosen. Group must elect a group leader and only one submission per group is required on Moodle.

All students must collaborate in this group assignment and contribute equally. Group leader should report their progress on a regular basis to relevant tutor. Every student must participate in peer assessment on the SPARKPLUS system after submission on Moodle. SPARKPLUS Guide for students is available on Moodle.

Part 1:
In this section you need to find an online newspaper article that discussed privacy/security breaches involving an organization. For example customer data stolen from an organization by cybercriminals.

Provide screen shot of the article and provide a clear summary of the issue presented in this article and its importance. Use ethical reasoning here.

Topic 1:

In 2017, Facebook’s “People Insights” blog published a post titled “What Mends a Broken Heart on Facebook.” In it, the company’s researchers detailed insights that they had gathered by examining “how the break-up moment influenced the online behaviors of people across France, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom who indicated on Facebook that they recently went through a break up.”

“One of their findings was that “there could be a gap between the break up itself and theFacebook post announcing it. During the two weeks before and the two weeks after their breakup announcement,” they explained, users “accepted more than one invitation to an event 40% more than [during] the 60 days before and 60 days after their announcement.” “The researchers also noted that “’Healing,’ ‘detox,’ ‘drowning sorrows,’ ‘binge watching’ and ‘suffering’ are just some of the words and phrases that are more pronounced in men’s posts before they mark themselves ‘Single.’ The same types of words and phrases are more pronounced in women’s posts on the actual day of their announcement.” “As to what helps people get over a breakup, Facebook researchers wrote that “[g]aining new experiences… seems to be more therapeutic than buying things.” Under the subhead “What it means for marketers,” the post then asks, “How can brands be a part of the journey to help mend people’s broken hearts?” Suggested answers include “Empathize with them” and “Offer them new experiences.” The post concludes by encouraging potential Facebook advertising clients: “Tracking signals of intent to travel, experience new things or take up a new hobby can help you reach this group with a relevant ad at the right time.” (Raicu, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics 2020)

Topic 2:
“Sarah was recently promoted to a managerial position at her industrial engineering company. With her new position, she is now responsible for overseeing the company’s production factory, meaning approximately 50 factory workers now report to her. Although Sarah previously worked as an engineer and does not have any experience running a factory, she is excited to begin her new position”.

“At the end of her first day, Sarah is confused to see her factory workers continuing to work well past the end of their 8-hour shift. She then goes to the factory supervisor (who reports to her) to express concern because the factory does not have the budget to pay so many workers overtime. The supervisor smiles at Sarah and explains that the factory meets production goals by making the factory workers work off the clock. The workers are well aware of this expectation and went along with it in order to keep their jobs. Sarah is shocked to learn this illegal practice had become part of the company culture, but the supervisor explains that the company’s CEO (who is Sarah’s boss) is well aware of this expectation” (Bartlett, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics 2020)


According to the research conducted on ethical issues assignment, the modern era needs Information and Communication Technologies to perform at its peak potential. However, delving into the cyberspace and the amassing ocean of global networks comes with its fair share of political, social, and ethical issues. In this discussion on ethical issues assignment, ULO mapping is used to determine the existence of ethical issues concerning ICTs with an emphasis on the extant literature concerning hacking, data breaches, viruses, access rights, and health issues. During the course of the discussion, real-time security breaches are discussed in the segments of ethical issues assignment, precisely from an ethical standpoint. A case study and the ethical angle are also succinctly.

Part 1: Newspaper Article
The Infamous ‘Cambridge Analytica’ Leak

The studies used to develop this ethical issues assignmentsignifies that Facebook has been gathering user data for quite some time now. Despite several breaches over an extended period, the company could always bypass the threats and get back stronger. However, it was the infamous Cambridge Analytica data leak that opened a can of worms and revealed several ethical inadequacies surrounding Big Data and relevant analytics [1]. The premise of the data leak was led by Aleksandr Kogan, Professor, University of Cambridge. He developed an app which legally collaborated with Facebook and plausibly acquired details of almost 27,000 individuals downloading the same and completing a survey. Initially, Kogan notified Facebook that this data will precisely be used for behavioral micro-targeting. However, what came as a rude shock to all of us on 16th March 2018 that details of almost 50 million Facebook users [2] were leaked and made available to Cambridge Analytica, which is an analytics provider dealing in political data.

However, there were two causes for concern despite this being a basic leak and not a breach or malicious hack. Firstly, as noted in the ethical issues assignment it was believed that allegedly the user data was used to sway public sentiments in favor of Donald Trump. Besides categorized as a tool for rigging for presidential elections which defeats the ethical standpoint of not institutionalizing unfair biases, the increased number of profile leaks also raised other issues.

While only 27000 individuals took the survey, the ousted details of 50 million make the situation eligible for privacy abuse [3]. Moreover, even the users weren’t informed which raises the issue of lack of transparency. The leak of user information in the first place brings the confidentiality breach into the mix. Therefore, the information noted in this section of ethical issues assignment illustrates that this infamous Facebook leak concerning Cambridge Analytica revealed a minimum of four ethical breaches. ?

Part 2- Case Study-Topic 3
1. Ethical Issue in the Case Scenario of ethical issues assignment

In the mentioned case scenario pf ethical issues assignment, Dylan seems to be in a rough spot from a professional standpoint. While the customer would not settle for anything less than the detailed manufacturing process, Dylan is forced not to reveal anything under the NDA signed as a part of the employee code of conduct. The ethical issue herein ethical issues assignment is, therefore ‘Unrealistic and Conflicting Goals’ [4]. Dylan needs to keep the customer happy as that would mean sizeable investments for the firm. However, his second goal of keeping the proprietary data safe contradicts the first one. There are unrealistic objectives as his employer did put him in a tough situation of deciding and handling the situation on his own. This is certainly a red flag.

2. Relevant Ethical Values
The two ethical values that are relevant to the case scenario are accountability and integrity. To start with, the existing case scenario tempts Dylan to seal the deal with the customer by offering all the details that he is asking for. Moreover, the customer is only looking to know everything about the chipset to check for device compliance. Therefore, Dylan’s integrity will be in question if he lets go of the NDA and seals the deal with the customer. The customer pays big and nobody ever knows that Dylan talked. However, if Dylan lets go of the deal and adhere to the NDA, he will be held accountable for the revenue losses. Not just that, if Dylan lets go of his integrity [5] first and reveals the proprietary info to the client, and the client sabotages the info and sells the same to the competitors or creates his own version, Dylan will still be held accountable for this major glitch as there will be legal repercussions.

3. Ethical Framework and the Case Scenario
Ethical theories come in handy while analyzing certain aspects concerning organizational well-being. The UDRV framework best fits the scenario with the findings as follows: Utilitarian or Consequence Centric Approach: Here is one perspective that only talks about the end result, common good, and the ‘ends justify the means’ policy. Based on this approach, Dylan should concentrate on his happiness and close the deal with the client by doing whatever it takes. This approach ignores integrity, duty, and motives [6].

Deontology or Duty Centric Approach: This approach only relies on binding rules and regulations. Based on this approach, Dylan must let the deal go but should never ignore the first obligation towards the firm i.e. to follow confidentiality via NDA. This approach makes it hard to manage conflicting roles and doesn’t concern actions but only presents a righteous approach to things. Rights or Contract Centric Approach: This is an approach that only asks the respondent to act by the books and on mutual agreement. Dylan needs to call his manager again and clear things out between him and the client to avoid taking the issue up by himself. Virtue or Character Centric Approach: This approach only concerns about doing good and is extremely generic and non-relevant to the case scenario.

4. Final Discussion
Based on the findings obtained from the overall analysis on ethical issues assignment, it is clear that the conflicting goals are the main problems for Dylan, in this scenario. Moreover, the condition he is in, it is the accountability that urges him to find an intelligent solution to the problem in hand.

There are three solutions to the issue:
Comingling the proprietary info with routine marketing basics will breach Dylan’s NDA. Therefore, he must connect with the engineer and prepare a ‘need to know basis’ scenario where he can describe the method in a compliant manner and without detailing the proprietary techniques of device fabrication. If the client is looking only for the integration compatibility, Dylan must restrict the info to that region only. The ethical values in dedication and collaboration come to the fore if this approach is followed [7].

The second approach is to look into the customer-firm association and conduct a background check on his similar set of requirements. If the information is asked for the mentioned purpose only, make him sign a CDA or Confidential Disclosure Agreement before divulging the details. This approach makes Dylan accountable and makes him even more respectable within the organization if he can finalize the deal. If both these strategies do not work out and the client is looking for additional details without a CDA it is advisable to follow the duty first and negate the offer. This is the most ethical route in case intelligence and compliance fail to reason with the client. Doing this, Dylan lives up to the employee code of conduct. However, the first approach looks more resourceful courtesy of an enlarged ethical purview. Following this takes care of customer satisfaction, compliance with company laws, security, non-disclosure, no conflicting goals, accountability, and respectable employee behavior.

5. Conclusion
This case study build on this ethical issues assignment reveals that electronic products and even ICTs have several ethical constraints lined along. While some emanate out of technology, certain ethical issues are organizational-based and require an intuitive approach from employees like Dylan to avoid.

Works Cited

  1. Elena Boldyreva, Cambridge Analytica: Ethics And Online Manipulation With Decision-Making Process., 2018.
  2. Prof. DK Batra. (2018, May) [Online].
  3. Issie Lapowsky. (2019, March) [Online].
  4. Nadica Figar, "Managing an Ethical Dilemma," Economic Themes, vol. 54, June 2016.
  5. Michael, Booth, and Chris Segon, "Values-Based Approach to Ethical Culture: A Case Study," Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, ethical issues assignmentvol. 9, pp. 93-118, January 2013.
  6. Sheila Bonde and Paul Firenze. (2013) [Online].
  7. Wee, and Maat Lucas, "A method to evaluate equitable accessibility: combining ethical theories and accessibility-based approaches," Transportation, pp. 473-490, March 2016.

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