Ethics and the Internet Term Paper

Pages: 9 (3424 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  Level: College Freshman  ·  Topic: Education - Computers

Ethics and the Internet

Use of the internet has improved immensely in the recent past. However, this improvement has brought an increase in the ethical issues. In this research paper, there is the determination of some of the ethical issues that arise from the internet. These include the issue of privacy to individuals who use social media such as Face book. Another issue is the indecency that arises out of the use of the internet. There is also a discussion on defamation in the internet and the limitations that occur from the freedom of speech within the internet. Finally, there is a discussion on the intellectual property and how it is affected by the internet.

Ethics and the Internet

Introduction

There are many ethical issues that arise on the mention of the internet. These are matters that the internet does not consider in the lives of the online world, like they are of consideration in the real world. There are instances where the rights of the users of the internet are under violation. Ethical issues are still not taken seriously in the internet world. A clear indication of this is the constant issues of people complaining that there had been an infringement of their privacy (McKee & Porter, 2009, p3). It is imperative that there is maintenance of each individual's privacy, even when it is on the internet. However, this has either been partially ignored, or it has just never been in existence. This aside, there are reports of indecency in the internet that has adverse effects in the social life of individuals (Soifer, 2009, p538). In this same perspective, there has been a gradual increase in the crimes that occur within the internet and also the levels of fraud seem to be on the rise. However, there are measures that can be taken by some of the leading companies that have the most visitors in the internet. Through Google and Face book, there are measures that can be put in place if these issues were to be resolved.

Privacy Issues

It has been a challenge to maintain the privacy of an individual in the internet. An example of this is in Face book. This social site provides a venue where people can meet and interact. This is the key reason that has influenced many people to join the bandwagon and get on the website. However, this does not mean that individuals in this website do not want to maintain their privacy. There is a dire need for maintenance of each individual's privacy. However, this is not the case when it comes to Face book. If anything, this is the venue where people can steal information about others secretly. The company had a terrific start in 2004. This was the year of creation of the company. During this period, there were measures that enabled the privacy of all the people who joined the website (O'Bien & Torres, 2012, pg 64). All the new users of the website were subject to some restrictive default settings. These settings ensured that there was adequate security for all users. There were restrictions on the amount of information that others could see in the profiles of an individual. This was the case also with photos and updates of the users.

However, there have been changes recently that have triggered for the calls of the privacy policies. Currently, when new users register for the service, they receive default privacy settings. These settings can be later changes, although remarkably few do this due to the complexity of the process. As a result, most people ignore it and leave the settings at default. This leaves the accounts of such people at risk. With these settings, there is exposure of the privacy of individuals. Anyone can now view the information of the user in full. Also, the photos that an individual posts on the site are also available for the viewing of all the other individuals who are users of the website (Butler, 2011, p44). This means that even people who are not available as friends. This practically means that the information on the individual is accessible in the whole website. This provides the ethical issue of privacy. The people who are on the website do not have the basic privacy that is adequate enough. This is just a fair representation of the whole internet. The argument that Face book has for the current situation is that the system offers more interactivity. This means that people who are not friends can see information of other people in the website which is likely to lead to an interest in the person. Resultantly, they start interacting and become friends.

There are several theories that are attributable to the actions of Face book. The main reason as to why the company may be avoiding this privacy issue is the profits. In this current version, a user has the ability to see all the updates of all the other members in the news feed. This creates a situation where the company is able to reach many people using this method. Psychologically, this creates a situation where the user feels that they are in a big network. Therefore, the user spends extra time on the site on the lookout for some information (O'Bien & Torres, 2012, pg 66). This represents an increase in profits for the company. It also gives a chance for the Face book ads to reach more people. It is, therefore, safe to assume that the main reason why the company avoids the issue on privacy is the profits that they are likely to garner from these actions.

The other actions that involve outside companies targeting specific people with ads is also a breach to privacy. Whenever an individual purchases an item from another website, this reflects on the news feed of the other users. This creates an awkward situation especially of people did not want others to know the sort of items that they buy. This is the same case with reading of articles. On an individual reading an article from another source, all the others are notified of the same. Again, this is an intrusion to the privacy of these people who do not want interference in their lives. The issue on privacy also affects the other friends. Through the current state of the site, it is easy for people to be tagged as to having gone to places with friends. However, the company views this as a chance of interaction. It also views this as extra entertainment other than just the normal system of comments and statuses. The problem arises when people are said to have attended events or gone to places that might be uncomfortable for them. Also, with the default settings, it is possible for anyone to add others to groups and create events without the consent of the users. Therefore, for all these privacy issues, the company should do away with the default settings. The privacy settings should also be clear enough for all users. This will prompt all users to have a close look at the settings and to choose the best ones for them.

Another leading interaction site, Google, is in dire need of changes in the privacy settings. In the recent past, Google has changes the privacy setting of the individuals' accounts. The worst part about this is that there is nothing that the user can do about that. Recently, the company oversaw the introduction of a new policy. This policy entails that the company will integrate all the activities that an individual does in all websites that have an affiliation with Google (Waward, 2012, p1). This includes the collection of information from all the services from this company. This includes Gmail and the searches that an individual makes. These also include the services of Picasa and YouTube. Through this information, the company has the ability to collect all the information that they require about the user. They claim that they lay on this action is that they will offer better services to these users. However, considering that the company also collects information from third parties without the consent of the user, this is a breach of privacy (PR, 2012, p3). The company should make the privacy settings of the website to the choice of the user. This way, the user will control the information that is shareable with the others.

Indecency and the internet

There is no protection for individuals on the information that they receive from the internet. Face book is a venue where there are all sorts of people. These people are from different cultures and resultantly have variations in their mannerisms. This diversity brings some negative effects on the site. Some users readily post some information that is not suitable to all users. This includes updates and photos. Some of the photos that the users post are not suitable to all the other users because of sexual overtones. Some of them are even too vulgar to be given… [END OF PREVIEW]

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