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This dilemma involves a problematic condition where either solution taken involves two undesirable results. This case study is about ethic dilemma where; Mandy who is a security administrator is faced with a tough dilemma of providing weekly reports on the types of websites the other employees of the company access, while it is against the code of conduct of the organisation for employees to access questionable websites such as pornographic sites. However, Mandy knows that the employees have never signed any covenant binding them to the types of websites they should access using the work computers.
On the other hand, Mandy is aware that some employees use company computers to access the questionable websites and they would be penalised if found guilty. Mandy is required, in this case, to come up with a solution that involves two ethical theories and are both demanded but only one will be acceptable. Whatever Mandy will ethnically do will lead to an ethically wrong action that is inevitable.
The dilemma Mandy is facing is information ethics which is concerned with reflection on values, beliefs, and rules in information technology environments concerning exchanging, producing, sharing, and utilising the information and knowledge. However, according to Thomas White (2013), ethics cannot be derivative of natural law or metaphysics yet grounded it is. In this paper, we will examine Mandy’s information ethical dilemma using White’s three steps in tackling the problem: Step 1; examining the consequences of the action. In this step, Mandy will be forced first to consider both the positive and negative impacts of the action she will choose to take.
On Mandy’s case, she will first have to answer specific questions: Firstly, who will be the beneficiary of the action she will undertake? Secondly, who will be hurt between the management and the employees? Thirdly, what kind of harms and benefits will be experienced? Lastly, what are the short run and long-run impacts of her actions?
Consequently, after analysing the questions and coming up with the answers to that will produce the best mix of benefits; she will proceed to the second step. Step 2, analysing the action she takes. In this step, she will only consider her actions and how they measure up against ethic principles such as fairness, honesty, respect for the dignity of others, respecting other people’s rights, equality, as well as appreciating the vulnerability of other people. In her decision, Mandy will have to find a solution which is least problematic with regards to her actions. Step 3, making a decision. In this step, Mandy will analyse both step 1 and two before coming up with a strategic decision which does not violate her morals.
The decision Mandy will take will be based on “the nine ‘P’s of Globethics” (Thiroux, 2017). As a result, her action and decision should be value-based. According to .the nine ‘P’s are based on seven core values including; freedom, sharing, equity, sustainability, care and compassion, responsibility, and participation. Of the seven values, Mandy would first have to consider the most fundamental one; freedom from censorship, equal treatment, access to information, freedom of expression, as well as others. Consequently, freedom of speech and access to information is fundamental human rights as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (n.d):
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers” In her decision, Mandy should not produce the report because she would have violated the rights of the employees.
Additionally, she should consider the nine values provided for in the Ethics In Information Society (2013). For instance, information ethics number five which states that;
“Privacy: Dignity, Data mining, and Security: Privacy is a human right, not a commercial concession. Views on privacy rights differ between the US, UK, Continental Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and political structures. Threats to privacy are constantly arising -especially from the commercial and security sectors and social networks. A thoughtful insight needs to be considered between privacy and security needs. The WSIS process should support the safeguarding of privacy, in coherence with open access to information” (Kuhlen, 2010).
If Mandy produces the report, several employees who access the questionable websites would be penalised although they were not informed before the consequences of accessing such sites. Additionally, Mandy would be facilitating the violation of the rights of the employees by the company. Mandy should communicate the effects of producing the report to the management. She should instead recommend to the administration: The Company should instead notify the employees of the consequences of visiting such sites and the company should also block and filter such sites from the company internet.
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