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Gift of Fire, A: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing Technology, CourseSmart eTextbook, 4th Edition

By Sara Baase

Published by Prentice Hall

Published Date: Jul 11, 2012

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A Gift of Fire: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing and the Internet, 4e is ideal for courses in Computer Ethics and Computers and Society.

Sara Baase explores the social, legal, philosophical, ethical, political, constitutional, and economic implications of computing and the controversies they raise. With a computer scientist's perspective, and with historical context for many issues, she covers the issues students will face both as members of a technological society and as professionals in computer-related fields. A primary goal is to develop computer professionals who understand the implications of what they create and how it fits into society at large. 

Table of Contents

1 Unwrapping the Gift 1
1.1 The Pace of Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1.2 Changes and Unexpected Developments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.2.1 Connections: Cellphones, Social Networking, and More . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.2.2 E-commerce and Free Stuff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
1.2.3 Amateur Creative Works: Blogs and Video . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.2.4 Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
1.2.5 Tools for Disabled People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
1.2.6 What Next? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
1.3 Issues and Themes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
1.4 Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
1.4.1 What Is Ethics, Anyway? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
1.4.2 A Variety of Ethical Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
1.4.3 Some Important Distinctions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

2 Privacy 35
2.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
2.1.1 What Is Privacy? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
2.1.2 New Technology, New Risks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
2.1.3 Terminology and Principles for Managing Personal Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
2.1.4 Stolen and Lost Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
2.2 The Fourth Amendment, Expectation of Privacy, and Surveillance Technologies . . . . . . 48
2.2.1 The Fourth Amendment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
2.2.2 New Technologies, Supreme Court Decisions, and Expectation of Privacy . . . . . 50
2.2.3 Search and Seizure of Computers and Phones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
2.2.4 Video Surveillance and Face Recognition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
2.3 The Business and Social Sectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
2.3.1 Marketing and Personalization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
2.3.2 Our Social and Personal Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
2.3.3 Location Tracking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
2.3.4 A Right to Be Forgotten . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
2.4 Government Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
2.4.1 Databases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
2.4.2 Public Records: Access versus Privacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
2.4.3 National ID Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
2.5 Protecting Privacy: Technology, Markets, Rights, and Laws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
2.5.1 Technology and Markets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
2.5.2 Rights and Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
2.5.3 Privacy Regulations in the European Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
2.6 Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
2.6.1 Wiretapping and Email Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
2.6.2 Designing Communications Systems for Interception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
2.6.3 Secret Intelligence Gathering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93

3 Freedom of Speech 107
3.1 Communications Paradigms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
3.1.1 Regulating Communications Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
3.1.2 Free-Speech Principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
3.2 Controlling Speech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
3.2.1 Offensive Speech: What Is It? What Is Illegal? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
3.2.2 Censorship Laws and Alternatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
3.2.3 Child Pornography and Sexting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
3.2.4 Spam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
3.2.5 Challenging Old Regulatory Structures and Special Interests . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
3.3 Posting, Selling, and Leaking Sensitive Material . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
3.4 Anonymity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
3.5 The Global Net: Censorship and Political Freedom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
3.5.1 Tools for Communication, Tools for Oppression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
3.5.2 Aiding Foreign Censors and Repressive Regimes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
3.5.3 Shutting Down Communications in Free Countries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
3.6 Net Neutrality Regulations or the Market? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136

4 Intellectual Property 145
4.1 Principles, Laws, and Cases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
4.1.1 What Is Intellectual Property? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
4.1.2 Challenges of New Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
4.1.3 A Bit of History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
4.1.4 The Fair-Use Doctrine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
4.1.5 Ethical Arguments About Copying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
4.1.6 Significant Legal Cases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
4.2 Responses to Copyright Infringement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
4.2.1 Defensive and Aggressive Responses From the Content Industries . . . . . . . . . 159
4.2.2 The Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Anticircumvention . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
4.2.3 The Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Safe Harbor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
4.2.4 Evolving Business Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
4.3 Search Engines and Online Libraries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
4.4 Free Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
4.4.1 What Is Free Software? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
4.4.2 Should All Software Be Free? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
4.5 Patents for Inventions in Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
4.5.1 Patent Decisions, Confusion, and Consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
4.5.2 To Patent or Not? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176

5 Crime 187
5.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
5.2 Hacking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
5.2.1 What is “Hacking”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
5.2.2 Hacktivism, or Political Hacking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192
5.2.3 Hackers as Security Researchers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193
5.2.4 Hacking as Foreign Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194
5.2.5 Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
5.2.6 The Law: Catching and Punishing Hackers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
5.3 Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
5.3.1 Stealing Identities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
5.3.2 Responses to Identity Theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206
5.3.3 Biometrics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
5.4 Whose Laws Rule the Web? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
5.4.1 When Digital Actions Cross Borders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
5.4.2 Libel, Speech, and Commercial Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
5.4.3 Culture, Law, and Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215
5.4.4 Potential Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216

6 Work 225
6.1 Changes, Fears, and Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225
6.2 The Impact on Employment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226
6.2.1 Job Destruction and Creation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226
6.2.2 Changing Skills and Skill Levels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230
6.2.3 Telecommuting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232
6.2.4 A Global Workforce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234
6.3 Employee Communication and Monitoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
6.3.1 Learning About Job Applicants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
6.3.2 Risks and Rules for Work and Personal Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
7 Evaluating and Controlling Technology 255
7.1 Evaluating Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
7.1.1 The Need for Responsible Judgment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
7.1.2 Computer Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262
7.2 The “Digital Divide” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
7.2.1 Trends in Computer Access . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
7.2.2 The Global Divide and the Next Billion Users . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271
7.3 Neo-Luddite Views of Computers, Technology, and Quality of Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . 272
7.3.1 Criticisms of Computing Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 272
7.3.2 Views of Economics, Nature, and Human Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275
7.4 Making Decisions About Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
7.4.1 Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
7.4.2 The Difficulty of Prediction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282
7.4.3 Intelligent Machines and Superintelligent Humans–Or the End of the Human Race?285
7.4.4 A Few Observations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287

8 Errors, Failures, and Risks 299
8.1 Failures and Errors in Computer Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299
8.1.1 An Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299
8.1.2 Problems for Individuals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301
8.1.3 System Failures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305
8.1.4 What Goes Wrong? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
8.2 Case Study: The Therac-25 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 313
8.2.1 Therac-25 Radiation Overdoses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 313
8.2.2 Software and Design Problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314
8.2.3 Why So Many Incidents? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
8.2.4 Observations and Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 316
8.3 Increasing Reliability and Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317
8.3.1 Professional Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317
8.3.2 Trust the Human or the Computer System? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
8.3.3 Law, Regulation, and Markets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322
8.4 Dependence, Risk, and Progress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325
8.4.1 Are We Too Dependent On Computers? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325
8.4.2 Risk and Progress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326

9 Professional Ethics and Responsibilities 335
9.1 What Is “Professional Ethics”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 335
9.2 Ethical Guidelines for Computer Professionals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 336
9.2.1 Special Aspects of Professional Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 336
9.2.2 Professional Codes of Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337
9.2.3 Guidelines and Professional Responsibilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338
9.3 Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
9.3.1 Introduction and Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
9.3.2 Protecting Personal Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 342
9.3.3 Designing an Email System With Targeted Ads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343
9.3.4 Webcams in School Laptops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344
9.3.5 Publishing Security Vulnerabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 345
9.3.6 Specifications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 346
9.3.7 Schedule Pressures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
9.3.8 Software License Violation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349
9.3.9 Going Public . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350
9.3.10 Release of Personal Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 351
9.3.11 Conflict of Interest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352
9.3.12 Kickbacks and Disclosure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 353
9.3.13 A Test Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
9.3.14 Artificial Intelligence and Sentencing Criminals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
9.3.15 A Gracious Host . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 356

Epilogue 363

A The Software Engineering Code and the ACM Code 365
A.1 The Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
A.2 The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370

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Gift of Fire, A: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing Technology, CourseSmart eTextbook, 4th Edition
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