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Online Freedom and the Government
Transcript of Online Freedom and the Government
the Government Group Members:
Frederick Ka-Fung Wong 10308575
Dinh Duc Nguyen 11459575
Khalid Altarawneh 11259494
Quek Peiling Rachel 11362530
Chaosong Nie 11458849 Team: Globalisation Subject Name: IT Professional and Society 32563 Tutor: Dr. Roman Danylak 'Online Freedom and Government' Background Governments are increasingly asking online services such as Google for users' private information
Main article: “U.S. Government Requests for Google Users’ Private Data Jump 37% In One Year”
Google received 6,321 requests that it hand over its users’ private data to U.S. government agencies. Google complied with 94% of these requests.
Google has a lower rate of complying with requests for user information from other governments.
Turkey ---------0% Private Information Other requests from other governments around the world to remove or modify specific things posted through Google services.
For example, there have been requests from countries such as Bolivia, Czech Republic, Jordan, Ukraine to take down online content that might be critical of the government.
These requests to take down content have largely been denied Censorship What is this topic about? This topic is about attempts made by governments all over the world in viewing, obtaining, controlling, editing and monitoring online user activity and the associated responses from the online services. Therefore, this report will discuss and analyse the
1) ethical issues,
2) social issues
3) legal issues
related to the news article by Greenberg (2012) called “U.S. Government Requests For Google Users’ Private Data Jump 37% In One Year” in order to come to a well reasoned ethical position and solution. What will this report do? Discussion and Analysis Three main issues/dilemmas:
1) Government requests for private information
2) Government monitoring and collection of private information
3) Government censorship of online activity Each analysed by the custom made,
"3-step Method" Step 1: Analyse the Facts of the Situation What are the relevant facts? The U.S. government has requested information from various popular online services such Google, Twitter and Facebook.
Google complied with 93% of requests, Twitter complied with 75%, Facebook has not released figures
Google and Twitter generally do not release private user information to foreign governments Who are the Stakeholders? U.S. Government
Online Services such as Google, Facebook and Twitter
Private Users Examine the effects Positive effects Aiding Criminal Cases
- For example, Google supplied the IP address of a kidnapper
Protecting the safety of the public Negative effects Public Skeptical of government.
User mistrust of online service
Harming online service profitability
Users' Privacy Violated What is the Ethical dilemma? How should online services respond to governments wishing to procure information related to private user accounts.? Ethical Why is privacy important? Utilitarian approach Lack of Transparency Step 2: Ethical, Social and Legal Analysis “protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we're doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.”
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely”
"Without Privacy we would feel naked and exposed"
"nothing wrong when we make love or go to the toilet" “Greatest Happiness for the greatest number.”
1) Governments are ethically right in seeking information to prosecute criminals
Google giving over IP address of Kidnapper.
2) Government "Overfishing" for information
Invasion of Privacy?
3) What is a "criminal case"?
Criminals could be people who criticise the government in some countries. What constitutes as a "Criminal Act"?
Exacerbating public anxiety and suspicion of government and online service.
Causing public worry and mistrust goes against Utilitarian principles Social ACS Code of Ethics The Death of Privacy Why has privacy died? “endeavour to preserve the confidentiality and privacy of the information of others.”
“identify those potentially impacted by your work and explicitly consider their interests”
“I must consider and respect people’s privacy which might be affected by my work.” Technologies that are able to monitor, record and store your information
Facebook, Twitter, Google determines whether or no to release your information to government
Society has come to accept that their privacy has become public knowledge
In 2009, 59% happy to give private information to marketers
In 1998, 80% reluctant to use online shopping due to privacy fears “I think privacy is greatly overrated because privacy basically means concealment. People conceal things in order to fool other people about them." --- U.S. Federal Judge Richard Posner
“If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place"
--- Google CEO Eric Schmidt
Future Prediction: ACS Code of Ethics will not mention privacy. Legal Giving over Total Control Lack of Transparency is Legal Total Loss of Control Twitter, Google, and Facebook is legally allowed to release any information that you had submitted to them to whomever they choose.
“a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).”
--- Twitter Terms of Service 2012 “By law, neither online service nor the government is obliged to inform a user when an account is subject to a search by law enforcement"
Twitter and several other social-media sites have formally adopted a policy to notify users when law enforcement asks to search their profile.
Facebook spokesperson would not say whether the company had a similar policy to notify users. “This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps).”
--- Google Terms of Service 2012
Governments have a large repository of information to request from.
Discretion of IT company determines whether private information is released.
Either way, the online service will be acting legally Also... Alternatively... One
idea... Step 3: Ethical Options and Decision Consequentialist Principle:
“The more good consequences an act produces, the better or more right that act.” "Online services should release information about which criminal cases and circumstances justify the release of private information to the government and thus violate the privacy of the user." "Google and Twitter could release even more information and list out detailed information about the the criminal cases they have complied with. I.e. "Extreme Transparency"
Can have severe negative consequences such as jeopardising ongoing criminal cases
Considered wrong according to the consequentialist approach due to the overwhelming number of bad consequences. "Online services should tell users when their information is being requested by the government" Twitter tells users so they have a chance to quash the subpeona from the government
Twitter could be considered as ethical according to the ACS Code of Ethics (2012) which state that IT professionals should, “endeavour to preserve the confidentiality and privacy of the information of others.” References 1. ACS 2012, ACS Code of Professional Conduct, ACS, viewed 6/10/2012, <https://www.acs.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/4901/Code-of-Professional-Conduct_Final.pdf>.
2. BBC 2012, Consequentialism, BBC, viewed 6/10/2012, <http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/introduction/consequentialism_1.shtml>.
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