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Informed and Discerning: Porn on the Harvard Dean’s PC Kevin W. Bowyer Computer Science and Engineering University of South Florida.

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Presentation on theme: "Informed and Discerning: Porn on the Harvard Dean’s PC Kevin W. Bowyer Computer Science and Engineering University of South Florida."— Presentation transcript:

1 Informed and Discerning: Porn on the Harvard Dean’s PC Kevin W. Bowyer Computer Science and Engineering University of South Florida

2 ISECON '992 A Good Case Study Because Real facts, conclusions, opinions Relevant issues, with general principles Illustrates the importance of being “Informed and Discerning.”

3 ISECON '993 A Quick First Take Tech discovers porn on PC in dean’s home Tech reports porn to administration. Dean resigns dean-ship, but keeps tenure.

4 ISECON '994 QUESTION: Should tech have kept discovery confidential?

5 ISECON '995 Informed - About the Dean Married, two grown daughters Ordained Evangelical Lutheran minister Dean of Divinity for 13 years Established Center for Study of Values In Public Life, strong fund-raising record.

6 ISECON '996 Informed - How It Started Dean requests larger disk, transfer of files Tech discovers porn in course of the work: Image on-screen? Or tech opened files? “Thousands of images.” Porn was not of a type considered illegal (i.e., not child pornography).

7 ISECON '997 Informed - “Harvard-ness” PC is Harvard property. PC is located in home office. Home is Harvard property. Tech is also a Harvard employee.

8 ISECON '998 Informed - Harvard Policies No “inappropriate, obscene, bigoted or abusive” material allowed on computers. Computer use “related to School’s mission of education, research and public service.”

9 ISECON '999 Informed - Legalities Employee does not have legal right to privacy on the company computer. AMA survey: 27% of US companies review employee , most on random basis. 21% of companies review stored files.

10 ISECON '9910 Informed - Legalities “In this day and age, I would say that an employee is foolish or naïve who allows information to be stored in his or her computer that he or she does not want the employer to be aware of.” Craig Cornish, co-chair of ABA privacy committee

11 ISECON '9911 Informed Second Look Harvard employee discovers, in the course of his job, Harvard equipment being used against Harvard policy.

12 ISECON '9912 QUESTION: Should tech have kept discovery confidential?

13 ISECON '9913 Discerning Dean has responsibilities to employer / the administration colleagues, students, alumni family society God / Synod of ELC

14 ISECON '9914 Discerning Tech has responsibilities to employer / the administration colleagues, students, alumni family society

15 ISECON '9915 Informed & Discerning Look Tech had some level of responsibility to keep info seen on dean’s PC confidential. Tech had a responsibility to report violation of computer use policy.

16 ISECON '9916 ? Tech correctly followed path of greater responsibility.

17 ISECON '9917 Informed - ELC Policies ELC has policy against pornography. ELC Bishop to meet with the dean; punishment could range from admonition to dismissal from roster of pastors.

18 ISECON '9918 Informed & Discerning Look Harvard President Rudenstine met with a Dean who violated Harvard policies. Violation could call dean’s professional standing into question. Publicity could embarrass dean/Harvard. Rudenstine worked out reasonable conclusion.

19 ISECON '9919 Hypothetical #1 What if Dean owned his own pc, and Dean hired his own tech? Should Tech keep discovery confidential?

20 ISECON '9920 Hypothetical #2 What if Tech discovered the dean had been keeping a large archive of non- offensive images (i.e., family photos, bird photos,...)? Should Tech keep discovery confidential?

21 ISECON '9921 Hypothetical #3 What if Tech discovered potentially embarrassing medical information (HIV+, …)? Should Tech keep discovery confidential?

22 ISECON '9922 Hypothetical #4 What if Tech discovered financial irregularities? Should Tech keep discovery confidential?

23 ISECON '9923 Hypothetical #5 What if It was the dean of a law school, Dean is nominated to Supreme Court, Tech discovers records of anonymous pro bono legal work for the KKK? Should tech keep discovery confidential?

24 ISECON '9924 Viewpoint - “No big deal” One female student quoted as saying it was “like getting caught with Playboys under the mattress.” How accurate is this analogy?

25 ISECON '9925 Viewpoint - “Porno-apologist” Randall Kennedy, “... nothing immoral about seeking sexual gratification from pornography per se.... Wholesale revulsion... is an irrational reaction nourished by all sorts of destructive superstitions.” So religion is a “destructive superstition”??

26 ISECON '9926 Viewpoint - “Feminist” T. Trent Gegax, Newsweek “... some women... said they’d be uncomfortable taking his classes when his sabbatical ends in January.” Is this a reasonable reaction?

27 ISECON '9927 Viewpoint - Uninformed? Margie Wylie, Newhouse News: “But [dean]’s computer was in his home and unlikely to be seen by other Harvard staff.” Harvard Crimson: “For more than a year, people in computer services had encountered the porn on his computer.”

28 ISECON '9928 Viewpoint - Uninformed? Alan Dershowitz, Harvard law prof: Quoted as referring to Techs as “snoops” and “peeping toms.”

29 ISECON '9929 Violation of Privacy? Dean resigns in November. Harvard keeps embarrassing details private. Reporter finds, decides to run story. Article appears in Boston Globe in May. Who exactly violated dean’s privacy?

30 ISECON '9930 Summary “Informed and Discerning” - not easy, but important.


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