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An Ethics Case Study On Apps And Privacy


Task: Assessment items 3 & 4 are linked. In Assessment 3 you will create a simple argument visualization using the Mind up software. In Assessrnent4, you will produce a report which details the argument you construct In your argument visualization (this assessment)1
Choose One of the following media articles or case studies:
1. Data Collection: “Harvesting personalities online - An Ethics Case Study,
2. Who decides who dies in driverless car accidents?
3.Do We Want Robot Warriors to Decide Who Lives or Dies?
4. If computers think for themselves, should they have human rights?
5.. Apps and Privacy - An Ethics Case Study


The ethics case study will help to highlight the significance of the ethical theories such as utilitarianism, deontology, contract and virtue in relation to the safety and security to be provided to the users of the apps. Mobiles are becoming the store house of the apps, but this has also increased the risk of leakage of the personal information of the users. Henceforth, this has led to augmented dissatisfaction among the users.

The advancement of Science and Technology has resulted in enormous apps. People are getting associated with those apps. However, it is crucial that Ethical norms should be taken into consideration so that no one faces any sort of problem of discrimination. In most of the apps, the initial step of registration demands personal information of the user. Henceforth, it is crucial that the information provided by the user must be kept under tight security. As per the study conducted by Continella et al. (2017), mobile apps are notoriously collecting the private information related to the users. Irrespective of the significant efforts provided by the research community in developing the tools related to privacy leak detection depending on the data flow tracking inside the app or via the network traffic analysis. However, Despite the detection tools the private information are being leaked out. Thus, it can be stated that the present analysis tools suffer from several limitations. Parallel, the data flow tracking systems are also associated with certain imprecision that leads to false positives as well as false negatives during the process of data flow from the source of private information to the network sink.

Henceforth, it is very crucial that most secured and reliable tools should be developed so that it is not leads to leakage of the data to the third party. This is imperative because leaking of the data may result in several unwanted and dangerous consequences. As argued by Mill (2016), Utilitarianism is one of the best theories that suits to the issues related to the leaking of the information from the app. As per this theory, the impact of the action should be considered either ethical on article. If the effect leads to a dangerous consequence then it could be considered as unethical action. According to the theory illustrated in this ethics case study, the requirement of morality is to make the life of human beings better (Lyons, 2015). This could be achieved by augmenting the amount of necessary and good things. On the contrary, the theory also suggests that strict measures should be taken to reduce the bad actions. In the case of the apps, the bad actions are leaking of private information of the uses. This would lead the customers to comfortable as well as happy which would enhance the relationship between the customer and the employer.

On the contrary to the utilitarianism theory, deontological theory states that the morality of an action depends on whether the action itself is perfectly right or wrong. Apart from this, it is also essential to note that whether the actions being taken place are according to the rules that have been enlisted in the contracts. Henceforth, the study conducted by Meyers (2018), have revealed that this theory is also known as obligation-based ethics for duty-based ethics or rules based ethics. Thus, the theory implies that if the action is wrong it will lead to and ethical consequences. Therefore, it is essential that the action itself should be right so that the effect of the action results in ethical consequences. Thus, it is imperative that the online platforms should avail such apps to the users that are not only user-friendly but also more reliable in nature (Rosas et al., 2019).

The ethical considerations associated with the online apps further increases as the number of users being associated with the social apps is increasing tremendously. In a conducted by Cho (2015), apps related to communication and social networking sites have a greater impact on the bonding as well as in bridging the social capital. The study discussed in this ethics case study revealed that communication apps Play vital role in increasing the social capital. In addition to this, the impact of the communication app was observed to be more in the millennial generation rather than the older ones. Apart from this, people on getting associated with the social media apps or any other apps developed by many mobile companies such as Apple and soon have significantly reduced the social isolation. The borders have become a mere physical existence. People across the globe are not only communicating with each other to chat and build an emotional attachment but have also opened new dimensions associated with business, education and so on. Thus, it is very crucial that the contracts should be very particular with respect to the security of the users. The data protection act plays a crucial role in this aspect.

Henceforth, in accordance to the deontology theory designers need to be more responsive while developing apps for users. Apart from developing intuitive and innovative app, it is very essential to write a secure code so that the app is not vulnerable to attacks from cyber terror groups. The code is the first point were the attackers attack. In addition to this, it is also very crucial that the apps need to be encrypted so that the data being exchanged by the users are highly secured. Encryption results in security as the cyber-criminal will not be able to read the messages of the users or misuse the information. Thus, the application of such techniques will lead to the achievement of the ethical issues. Henceforth, as suggested by utilitarianism such actions will help to build the world to be a better and secured place. Thus, leading the users to feel comfortable while using the app and improvising the necessary information. Henceforth, it can be well stated that with proper actions, a better result could be obtained. This would be in accordance to the deontology theory (Jackson and Smith, 2016).

Despite the theories stating the vitality of the ethical approaches, yet there are several cases registered that shows that the companies are failed to abide by the contracts that state that personal data should not be leaked. Thus, to provide justice to the victimised users, the governing bodies have formulated certain rules to punish the companies. As seen in the ethics case study, path was present in the app store but was not being used properly. Further, the path was also not following the terms as well as conditions associated with the Apple. In this regard, as per the contract theory, it is the moral responsibility of the companies to improve the security of the apps (Fried, 2016). On failure to do so, will cause them to face great loss not only in terms of reputation but also from the perspective of the customers. People tend to get associated with the organisations that would ensure them safe and security. Henceforth, the organisations who would fail to do so will have to suffer from the loss of potential as well as loyal customers. This will also lead to the loss in the sales of the organisation.

In such a situation, it is not only the organisation that will face the consequence but it is also a major drawback for the entire tech industry. Thus, it is the responsibility of the complete industry to take into consideration the formulation of strategies that would reduce the breaching of the contracts made with the consumers. In addition to this, the next crucial step that needs deliberation is related to the provision to be provided to the users to put forward their experiences and views. This is, in fact, the right of the users. On the contrary to this, when the users do not receive the opportunity to complain about the bad experiences, they are facing then it leads to an increase in discontentment and unhappiness among the users. Further, on being strict with the companies that fail to do so, would be a lesson for all others to be careful, especially regarding the security associated with the information of the users. As observed in the case study, the inefficiency of the path not only resulted in fine to the path but also had affected Apple to a certain extent.

The ethics case study revealed the significance of the security associated with the personal information provided by the users while getting associated with the apps. In this case, breaching of the contract by the company associated with the app with the users leads to dissatisfaction among the users. As per the utilitarianism theory, the effects of the actions determine the morality of the actions. On the contrary, deontology states that, at the first place, the actions are to be right and ethical so that the effects are always perfect. Henceforth, it is the responsibility of the tech-industry to take adequate measures that the events of the cybercrime could be reduced significantly from the modern society. This will help the customers to feel comfortable and happy.

Reference List
Cho, J. (2015). Roles of smartphone app use in improving social capital and reducing social isolation. Cyberpsychology, behavior, and social networking, 18(6), 350-355.

Continella, A., Fratantonio, Y., Lindorfer, M., Puccetti, A., Zand, A., Kruegel, C., & Vigna, G. (2017, February). Obfuscation-Resilient Privacy Leak Detection for Mobile Apps Through Differential Analysis. In NDSS.

Fried, C. (2015). Contract as promise: A theory of contractual obligation. Oxford University Press, USA.

Jackson, F., & Smith, M. (2016). ethics case study.The implementation problem for deontology. Weighing reasons, 279-291.

Lyons, D. (2015). Utilitarianism. Wiley Encyclopedia of Management, 1-4.

Meyers, C. (2018). 8 Deontology. Communication and Media Ethics, 26, 139.

Mill, J. S. (2016). Utilitarianism. In Seven masterpieces of philosophy (pp. 337-383). Routledge.

Rosas, A., Viciana, H., Caviedes, E., & Arciniegas, A. (2019). Hot utilitarianism and cold deontology: Insights from a response patterns approach to sacrificial and real world dilemmas. Social neuroscience, 14(2), 125-135.


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