A new software engineering ethics teaching module from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics has the blogosphere talking about the need for ethics education for engineers. An article in Pacific Standard, later reposted in Slate, picked up on the work of Center Internet Ethics Director Irina Raicu to develop ethics curricula that can be slipped into courses in engineering. As she told Pacific Standard, software engineers used to work in big companies where they had checks on the choices they made. 'Now, we’re talking about two guys in hoodies in a garage,' Raicu said. They deploy the code now and fix it later. 'That’s why we need to get them thinking about this early.'"
The module for software engineers was created by SCU Associate Professor of Philosophy Shannon Vallor with special contributions from Arvind Narayanan, assistant professor of computer science,Princeton University. Narayanan also raised the issue on the blog Freedom to Tinker, where he asked engineers to submit ethical issues they had confronted in their work.
In an article for USA Today, Internet Ethics Program Director Irina Raicu reflects on NSA surveillance from the point of view of someone who grew up in Communist Romania, where everyone assumed that the government was spying on individuals. She writes:
It goes without saying that our government is nothing like the Romanian or Cuban governments that set their secret services on their own citizens. And many of us are perfectly willing to countenance data mining by the NSA, on the theory that its purported benefits for national security provide the greatest good for the greatest number. In this context, though, we might remember the words of Supreme Court Justice Brandeis, who famously wrote, "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born of freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."
Executive Director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics Kirk Hanson was interviewed yesterday on ABC7 regarding social media and privacy. The issue has been in the headlines recently as a result of the disclosures by Edward Snowden, former intelligence contractor turned whisteblower. Hanson told reporter David Louie that there needs to be a national debate on government surveillance and how it will affect society.
The divide between those who have high-speed wired broadband access to the Internet in their homes and those who don't concerns Sillicon Valley entrepreneur Kim Polese, chairman of ClearStreet. Polese, who led the launch of Java at Sun Microsystems and co-founded Marimba Inc., was the tenth subject in the Center's series, Internet Ethics: Views From Silicon Valley.
Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, discusses some of the data security and personal privacy implications of employees bringing their own devices into the workplace, in the most recent entry in the Center's video series Internet Ethics: Views from Silicon Valley.
Consumer and business data is increasingly moving to the "cloud," and people are clamoring for protection of that data. However, as Symantec's President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board Steve Bennett points out in this cliip, "maximum privacy" is really anonymity, and some people use anonymity as a shield for illegal and unethical behavior. How should cloud service providers deal with this dilemma?
A.C. "Mike" Markkula Jr., for whom the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is named, considers ways to minimize some of the harms associated with the Internet, while fully appreciating its benefits, in the latest installment of the Center's video series "Internet Ethics: Views from Silicon Valley."
Charles Geschke, co-founder of Adobe, asks who is responsible for accuracy in the online world in this video, part of the series, Internet Ethics: Views From Silicon Valley. Is it the user's responsibility to judge which sources to access on the Web, and how much to rely on them? Is it the publishers of information who have a duty to strive to be accurate?
Responding is Sally Lehrman,Knight Ridder/San Jose Mercury News Endowed Chair in Journalism and the Public Interest at Santa Clara University, and a Markkula Center for Applied Ethics Scholar. Join the conversation.
"Total interconnectedness," very cheap data storage, and powerful search technologies come together to create a new set of ethical questions. Do we have a right to access and correct the data in our profiles? Do we have a right to be "forgotten" by the Internet? In this brief video, part of the Center's series, "Internet Ethics: Views From Silicon Valley," Reputation.com co-founder Owen Tripp asks us to consider the impact of the Internet's long memory on those among us who are most vulnerable.
Evan Selinger--Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology--responds to Tripp's comments. Visit the vlog to join the conversation.
New technologies often bring both benefits and unintended consequences. The same is true of laws aimed at new technologies. In this brief clip from the Ethics Center's new video series, Internet Ethics: Views From Silicon Valley, NetApp's Executive Chairman Dan Warmenhoven discusses the development of GPS-tracking technology and the ethical issues associated with the aggregation of GPS data into large databases. He then argues that data protection efforts can go too far, leaving us with inefficient outcomes. How do we strike the right balance between benefits and harms?
Patrick Lin, associate professor of philosophy at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo responds. Visit the vlog to join the conversation