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Chapter 1 The Internet and Ethical Values. Introductory Comments “…the Internet has the potential to magnify the power of the individual and fortify democratic.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 1 The Internet and Ethical Values. Introductory Comments “…the Internet has the potential to magnify the power of the individual and fortify democratic."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 1 The Internet and Ethical Values

2 Introductory Comments “…the Internet has the potential to magnify the power of the individual and fortify democratic processes.” “..the control of technology through law and regulation has often been a futile effort, ‘correcting’ technology with other technology has been more effective.” –Ex) law has had a hard time controlling dissemination of pornography on the Internet but blocking software that filter out indecent material has been more successful

3 Two Assumptions of the text The directive and architectonic (of or relating to architecture or design) role of moral ideals and principles in determining responsible behavior in cyberspace and The capacity of free and responsible human beings to exercise some control over the forces of technology (technological realism) –Technological realism is a philosophy that argues technology is a powerful agent for social change and progress.

4 Cyberethics and the “Law of the Horse” Constraints on our behavior –From Week 1, list some institutions that impact our moral behavior –Our Book lists: laws of civil society, social pressures of the communities in which we live and work Book: Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace –Larry Lessig –Describes four constraints that regulate our behavior in real space and are subject to the same four constraints in cyberspace

5 Four Constraints on Behavior Law – a prominent regulator of behavior because if you fail to follow the law their can be consequences Social Norms - understandings or expectations of how I ought to behave –These can regulate behavior in a far wider array of contexts than any law Market – regulates by price, by pricing goods, the market sets my opportunities, and through this range of opportunities it regulates Nature or what he calls architecture –The constraint of the world as it is –I can’t see through walls, a constraint on my ability to know what is happening on the other side –No wheel chair ramp can constrain access to a library for a wheel chair bound individual –In the cyber world, the equivalent of this architectural constraint is code, the programs and protocols that make up the Internet.

6 Regulation through the Four Constraints To understand a regulation we must understand the sum of the four constraints operating together Any one cannot represent the effect of the four together

7 Cyberspace Hype Cyberspace is unavoidable Cyberspace is unregulable No nation can live without it No nation will be able to control behavior in it A place where individuals are inherently free from the control of real space sovereigns

8 Lessig’s attack against the Hype He has a different view Now entering a world where freedom is not assured Cyberspace has the potential to be the most fully and extensively regulated space that we have ever known Unless we understand this we are likely to miss the transition from freedom into control

9 Connecting Cyberspace to Real Space Similar to the real world, behavior in cyberspace is regulated by four types of constraints Again, Law is one of those constraints –copyright law, defamation law, sexual harassment law –In spite of the hype that cyberspace is wide open, these laws constrain behavior similarly to how behaviors are constrained in real space There are also Norms in cyberspace as there are in real space When norms are not followed, punishments are meted out

10 Connecting 2 The market also constrains cyberspace as in real space –change the price of access and constraints on access differ Architecture, the fourth, is most significant of the four –He calls this CODE - meaning the SW and HW which constitute cyberspace –the set of protocols implemented or codified in the SW of cyberspace that determine how people interact, or exist in the space –It sets the terms upon which we enter or exist in cyberspace, just like the architecture of the real space

11 How Architecture(CODE) constrains Behavior Sometimes one must enter a password, othertimes they don’t Some transactions produce link back to individual, othertimes they don’t Sometimes encryption is an option, sometimes it isn’t These differences are created by code by programmers, they constrain some behavior while allowing others possible They are like architecture of real space regulating behavior in cyberspace

12 Real Space and CyberSpace In real space architecture, market, norms, and law regulate behavior In cyberspace code, market, norms, and law regulate behavior As with real space, in cyberspace we need to look at how the four work together to constrain behavior

13 Example - Regulation of Indecency on the Net Concern sharply grew in 1995 Kids using net more frequently mixed with availability of “porn” A paper at the time cited a controversial and flawed study in Georgetown Law Review reported that the Internet was “awash with porn.” Time and Newsweek ran cover articles about its availability Senators and Congressman bombarded with demands to do something to regulate cybersmut

14 Why the Outcry? At the time it was written that more indecent materials existed in real space than in cyberspace Most kids (at that time )didn’t have access to cyberspace, so why the outcry? Look at it differently, what regulates indecent materials in real space?

15 Why (U.S. View) 1) US laws regulate distribution of indecent materials to kids –ID checks to check age of buyers –Laws requiring these businesses to be far from kids 2) Norms - possibly more important than laws –Norms constrain adults not to sell this to kids 3) Market Norms - To buy this costs money and most kids do not have money 4) Architecture - difficult in real space to hide the fact that you are a kid So, constraints on being a kid are effective in real space

16 Cyberspace is Different Though In real space hard to hide that you are a kid, in cyberspace the default is anonymity Easy to hide who one is Practically impossible for the same laws and norms to apply in cyberspace Key difference is the regulability of cyberspace, the ability of governments to regulate behavior there Currently, cyberspace is less regulable than real space, less governments can do

17 Why? Key difference is the code that constitutes cyberspace Its current architecture is essentially unregulable (at least in 1995) The architecture of 1995 and 1996 essentially allowed anyone w/ access to roam w/o identifying who they were - Net95 One’s identity was invisible to the net then One could enter w/o credentials, w/o an internal passport Users were fundamentally equal, essentially free

18 Communications Decency Act (1996) With Net95 as the architecture of the network at the time-- this statute was declared unconstitutional Because, at the time, any regulation attempting to zone kids from indecent materials would be a regulation that was too burdensome on speakers and listeners As the net was then, regulation would be too burdensome Key problem was that the court spoke as if this architecture, net95, was the only architecture that the net could have

19 But... We know that the net has no nature, no single architecture Net 95 is a set of features or protocols that constituted the net at a particular period in time Nothing requires it to always be that way (remember malleability?) Court spoke as if it had discovered the nature of the net and was therefore deciding on the nature of any possible regulation of the net

20 Univ of Chicago - Harvard Story Author was professor at UoC, to gain access to net, just plug into a jack (located throughout Univ) Any machine could do it and you would have full, anonymous, free access to the net It was this way because of the administration This policy established the architectural design of the UoC net

21 @Harvard One cannot connect one’s machine to the net unless the machine is registered –That is, licensed, approved, verified Only members of the Univ community can register their machine Once registered all transactions over the net are potentially monitored and identified to a particular machine Anonymous speech on this net is not permitted Access can be controlled based on who someone is, interactions can be traced

22 Two Views Controlling access is the ideal at Harvard Facilitating access is the ideal at Univ of Chicago These two views are common today at Univ’s across America UoC is Net95 Harvard is not an Internet but an Intranet architecture –within an intranet, identity is sufficiently established such that access can be controlled and usage monitored

23 Philosophies They both are built from TCP/IP but at Harvard you have Internet Plus, the plus means the power to control They reflect two philosophies about access and reflect two sets of principles or values on how speech should be controlled they parallel difference between political regimes of freedom and political regimes of control

24 The Point Nothing against Harvard or Chicago Wants us to see that at the level of a nation, architecture is inherently political In cyberspace, the selection of an architecture is as important as the choice of a constitution The code of cyberspace is its constitution, it sets terms for access, sets the rules, controls their behavior, a sort of sovereignty competing with real space sovereigns in the regulation of behavior of real space citizens

25 Architecture Shift From an architecture of freedom to an architecture of control As it becomes an architecture of control it becomes more regulable US government is moving the architecture in these directions How? The government can regulate the architectures in cyberspace so that behaviors in cyberspace become more regulable

26 Spinello’s View on Lessig’s Work Describes Lessig’s work as a neat regulatory framework Feels that Lessig includes ethical standards in the broad category of norms Spinello believes cultural norms should be segregated from ethical ideals and principles –Cultural norms are variable social action guides that are relative and dependent on a given social or cultural environment –Fundamental principles of ethics are “metanorms” they have universal validity remaining the same whether we are doing business in another country or in cyberspace.

27 Spinello and Lessig Spinello believes that ethics and cultural norms must be kept distinct Explains that this defies popular notion of ethical relativism which he says often equates the two –Ethical relativism is the theory that holds that morality is relative to the norms of one's culture. That is, whether an action is right or wrong depends on the moral norms of the society in which it is practiced. –We could spend weeks on just this one term, author writes that “a full refutation of that viewpoint is beyond the scope of our discussion here.”

28 Quote from contemporary philosopher Phillippa Foot –“…All need affection, the cooperation of others, a place in community, and help in trouble.” –What does this connect to from our Introduction to Ethics (Week 1)?

29 Spinello’s Final Comments on Lessig The observed weakness does not invalidate Lessig’s framework Chief contribution the four constraints of the real world also regulate in cyber space And, the structures of software can potentially do even more than laws to curtail freedom. (Provide more constraints)

30 Extending Lessig’s Framework Spinello believes the model can be improved by adding fixed ethical values as a constraining force citing James Moor- list of core human goods includes life, happiness, and autonomy John Finnis, list of intrinsic goods: life, knowledge, play (and skillful work), aesthetic experience, sociability, religion, and practical reasonableness (which includes autonomy)

31 A Moral Ideal So, the ultimate good, the human flourishing of ourselves and of others should function as a prescriptive guidepost of enduring value, serving as a basis for crafting laws, developing social institutions, or regulating the Internet Applying this to policy making can be difficult so we have ethical principles such as the golden rule or from Kant, “act so that you treat humanity always as an end and never as a means” Author thus feels that the role of morality is the ultimate regulator of cyberspace that sets the boundaries for activities and policies in figure 1-1 on page 7, it sits above the four constraints of Lessig.

32 Iron Cage or Gateway to Utopia (p7) There is skepticism about anyone’s ability to control the evolution and effects of the technologies of networking and computing Author asks, are our attempts to regulate cyberspace merely a chimera? (a fanciful notion?) Some philosophers have regarded technology as a dark and oppressive force –Menaces our individuality and authenticity –Views of technology determinists – see technology as an independent and dehumanizing force Most interpretations of technological determinism share two general ideas: –that the development of technology itself follows a predictable, traceable path largely beyond cultural or political influence, and –that technology in turn has "effects" on societies that are inherent, rather than socially conditioned or produced because that society organizes itself to support and further develop a technology once it has been introduced.

33 Other Philosophers French philosopher, Jacques Ellul writes, technique has become a dominant and untranscendable human value. –The totality of methods rationally arrived at and having absolute efficiency in every field of human activity –Feels that modern technology has irreversibly shaped the way we live, work, and interact in this world Similarly, Max Weber, coined term iron cage, –Meaning, how technology locks us in to certain ways of being or patterns of behavior –A more fragmented, narrow-minded society dominated by a crude instrumental rationality Martin Heidegger saw technology not merely as a tool that we can manipulate but as a way of “being in the world” that deeply affects how we relate to that world.

34 A Not so Bleak View Technology neutralists argue that technology is a neutral force, completely dependent on human aims and objectives –this view holds that technologies are free of bias and do not promote one type of behavior over another –Technology is just a tool and does not compromise our human freedom or determine our destiny in any appreciable way –Up to us to whether the tool is a powerful force for good or bad

35 The Ideal View Technological utopianism regards certain technologies as making possible an ideal world with improved lifestyles and workplaces An optimistic philosophy believes humanity can eradicate many of technology’s adverse effects and manipulate this tool effectively to improve the human condition

36 Author’s Concerns Technological neutralism and utopianism seem problematic –Technology does condition with givens that are virtually impossible to overcome –Langdon Winner describes this as the adjustment of human ends to match the character of the available means –Author writes that it is an exaggeration to claim that computer and network technology locks us into a virtual but inescapable iron cage –Middle ground between these extremes is technological realism “although technology has a force of its own, it is not independent of political and social forces.” Indicates this is echoed in Lessig’s work, sometimes code is an instrument of social and political control, it is not always neutral We do have the capacity to redirect or subdue technology when it becomes necessary Author agrees with Charels Taylor, “We are not, indeed, locked in. But there is a slope, an incline in things that is all too easy to slide down.”

37 Ethical Values and the Digital frontier (p10) Several theories that embody the moral point of view Kant describes the principle that we must respect humanity in all our choices and actions Rights-based theories discuss core human goods in terms of protection of human rights like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness Utilitarian approach emphasizes happiness Modern ethical frameworks fall under 2 broad categories teleological or deontological –1 st means goal or end, these theories argue that the rightness or wrongness of an action depends on whether or not they bring about the end in questions (like happiness) –Deontological consider actions to be intrinsically right or wrong and do not depend in any way on the consequences they effect These frameworks emphasize duty and obligation

38 Utilitarianism (p11) This is a teleological theory and is most popular version of consequentialism Classic utilitarianism was developed by 2 British philosophers: –Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill –Right course of action is to promote the general good, can be described in terms of utility –Utility refers to the net benefits (or good) created by an action –Another way to think of this is, persons ought to act in a way that promotes the maximum net expectable utility, that is, the greatest net benefits or the lowest net costs, for the broadest community affected by their actions. –On one level, utilitarianism asks us to make moral decision by means of a rational, objective cost/benefit analysis

39 Example pg An organization has to make a decision about random inspection of employee It is perfectly legal but some managers wonder if it is the right thing to do as it seems to violate privacy rights of employees Rightness in the utilitarian ethical model is determined by consequences that become clear in a cost/benefit analysis 3 possible choices: 1) not inspected; 2) inspected but policy clearly displayed; 3) inspected, not policy displayed Look at pg. 13 for a table summarizing costs and benefits (first write one for the class on the board with their own ideas of benefits and costs

40 Summary of Utilitarianism Theory has strengths but some serious flaws too In certain contexts, could be used to justify the infliction of pain on a small number of individuals for the sake of the happiness or benefits of the majority. No intrinsically unjust or immoral acts for the utilitarian which poses a problem What happens when human rights conflict with utility? This theory lacks sensitivity to the ideals of justice and human rights

41 Contract Rights (Contractarianism) p 12 uses rights based analysis a deontologic theory looks at moral issues from viewpoint of the human rights that may be at stake A right is an entitlement or a claim to something Contractarianism differs from utilitarianism in that the consequences of an action are morally irrelevant for those who support contractarianism –rights are enjoyed by all citizens, and the rights of the minority cannot be suspended or abolished even if that abolition will maximize social welfare –A problem with most rights-based theories is that they do not provide adequate criteria for resolving practical disputes when rights are in conflict eg those who send spam claim they are exercising their right to free speech but those receiving it say that it is intrusive How do we resolve this? Rights based theories are not always helpful in making this determination

42 Moral Duty (Pluralism) P14 This framework is based not on rights but on duty Immanuel Kant is one of the foremost philosophers of this approach The moral point of view is best expressed by discerning and carrying out one’s moral duty. A duty-based, deontological ethical framework Sometimes referred to as pluralism

43 Immanuel Kant Consequences of an action are morally irrelevant Actions only have moral worth when they are done for the sake of duty According to Kant’s systematic philosophy, our moral duty is simple: to follow the moral law which, like the laws of science or physics, must be rational And, like all rational laws, the moral law must be universal Kant, is one of the more difficult to read philosophers but quite interesting. A good example (for readability and understandability) can be found on pg. 16 (you read).

44 Understanding Kant Kant’s universal law is expressed as what is called the categorical imperative: “I should never act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become a universal law.” The imperative is “categorical” because it does not allow for any exceptions A maxim (as used here) is an implied general principle or rule understanding a particular action

45 Clarifying Read middle of pg 16 steve

46 Difficulties with Kant’s Framework Kant’s moral philosophy is very rigid No exceptions to the moral laws derived from the absolute categorical imperative Lying is always wrong even though we can think of times where it might seem reasonable (to save a life) –In examples like this, there is a conflict of moral laws –The law to tell the truth and the law to save a life in jeopardy

47 Another duty-based philosopher (William D. Ross) Believes we must follow several basic duties that we know through simple reflection The duties are conditional and not absolute –Under normal circumstances we would follow a particular duty –But, in those unusual situations where duties conflict with one another, one duty may be overridden by another duty that is judged to be superior (at least in this environment). –Ross, unlike Kant, allows exceptions –One criticism of Ross’ work is that his list of 7 moral duties is incomplete –But, like other frameworks we have discussed, it does have some merit

48 New Natural Law (p18) Often neglected in business and computer ethics books Claim is its too “impractical” and too closely associated with the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas The new natural law (John Finnis and Germain Grisez) is faithful to the theories of Aquinas but modified to address contemporary moral problems They claim the first practical principle is: “Good should be done and evil avoided, “ where good means what is intelligibly worthwhile

49 More on the New Natural Law What is the good? Finnis considers 7 human goods key to human flourishing: life and health, knowledge of the truth, play (and some forms of work), aesthetic experience, sociability (includes friendship and marriage), religion, and practical reasonableness This framework provides another way to look at ethical dilemmas in cyberworld It asks us to consider whether certain policies or actions are consistent with human flourishing Does Spamming pass the test? Pg. 21 has a table with a summary of the theoretical frameworks that we have discussed and the general questions that one asks in determining if an action is moral or not.

50 Normative Principles (p21) When ethical theory is too abstract, an approach called principilism can be used. Often used in biomedical ethics These moral principles are derived from an compatible with all of the moral theories previously mentioned in the text They describe prima facie duties that are always in force but may conflict on occasion –This term was introduced back on page 17 (re-read) – –noun 1.at first appearance; at first view, before investigation.2.plain or clear; self-evident; obvious. –adv. At first sight; before closer inspection: They had, prima facie, a legitimate complaint. adj. –True, authentic, or adequate at first sight; ostensible: prima facie credibility. –Evident without proof or reasoning; obvious: a prima facie violation of the treaty.

51 Principilism Principlism is a system of ethics based on the four moral principles of: 1. Autonomy--free-will, one’s capacity to be autonomous or self-determining –When someone is deprived of their autonomy, their plans are interfered with and they are not treated with the respect they deserve 2. Beneficence—a positive duty, to do good, we should act in such a a way that we advance the welfare of other people when we are able to do so –When do we have such a duty to act? 1. the need is serious or urgent 2. we have knowledge or awareness of the situation, and 3. we have the capability to provide assistance (“ought assumes can” is the operative principle –Author comments, that this principle has some relevance when we evaluate society’s questionable duty of beneficience to provide universal Internet service.

52 Prinicpilism Continued 3. Nonmaleficence--not to harm, and or, “above all, do no harm” 4. Justice– follows a basic formal principle: “Similar cases ought to be treated in similar ways.” –Justice requires fair treatment and impartiality –Determining “similar” cases leads to an underlying principle for how we should distribute the benefits and burdens of social life –Leading to theories of distributive justice “all goods should be distributed equally”; although John Rawls has argued that an unequal distribution of goods is acceptable when it works for the advantage of everyone especially the least advantaged (called the difference principle). Or, benefits or resources should be distributed according to the contribution each individual makes to the furtherance of society’s goals Another, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Not choosing one over another, moral judgments should be based in part on the formal principle of justice.

53 Concluding Principilism Advocates for principilism argue that from the beginning of recorded history most moral decision-makers descriptively and prescriptively have used these four moral principles; that they are part of or compatible with most intellectual, religious, and cultural beliefs.

54 End of Chapter Hand out homework assignment


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