- Consumer surveys have suggested that many Internet users are concerned about losing bits of their privacy when they are engaged in online activities. In fact, many Internet users identify privacy as their number one concern, ahead of concerns about ease of use, security, cost, spam, and so forth. (a) Do only individuals who elect to use the Internet have reason to be concerned about losing their privacy? (b) Should those who have never even used a computer also worry? (c) Lastly, are issues of privacy a major concern in Canada (you must provide an appropriate reference that supports your answer to this question, i.e., url, news article, etc.)? Please elaborate (beyond a yes or no answer) and provide your “theoretical” rationale in support of your responses. (knowledge)
- In the days and weeks immediately following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, some political leaders claimed that “extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures”; in times of war, basic civil liberties and freedoms, such as privacy, need to be severely restricted for the sake of national security and safety. Perhaps, as a nation, the value that we have traditionally attached to privacy has diminished significantly since then. Consider that the majority of American citizens strongly supported the USA (United and Strengthening America) PATRIOT (Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act, which passed by an overwhelming margin in both houses of Congress and was enacted into law on October 21, 2001. Privacy advocates have since expressed their concerns about this act, noting that it might have gone too far in eroding basic civil liberties. Some critics also fear that certain provisions included in the act could easily be abused; for example, those in power could use those provisions to achieve controversial political ends under the convenient guise of national defense. Examine some of the details of USA PATRIOT Act (go to http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/hr3162.html). (a) Determine whether its measures are as extreme as its critics suggest. (b) Are those measures consistent with the value of privacy, which Americans claim to embrace? (c) Do privacy interests need to be reassessed, and possibly recalibrated, in light of recent attacks by and ongoing threats from terrorists? (d) What similar acts or laws exist in the United Kingdom? Please elaborate (beyond a yes or no answer) and provide your “theoretical” rationale in support of your responses.
- Strong arguments can be given as to why encryption tools are needed to safeguard communications in cyberspace, yet these tools can be used by terrorists and criminals to protect their communications in cyberspace. (a) In the wake of September 11, can a case be made for not allowing ordinary users to employ strong encryption tools in Internet communications? (b) Can we still claim to live in a free society if plans for government interception of email communications, as provided for in the Homeland Security Act (http://fl1.findlaw.com/news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/terrorism/hsa2002.pdf), are being implemented? Please elaborate (beyond a yes or no answer) and provide your “theoretical” rationale in support of your responses. (comprehension)
- In the discussion of Internet anonymity, some forms of anonymous behavior in cyberspace can have profound ethical implications. Imagine that there is a very close political election involving two candidates who are running for a seat in a state legislature. The weekend before citizens will cast their votes, one candidate decides to defame his opponent by using an anonymous remailer service (which strips away the original address of the sender of the email) to send a message of questionable truth to an electronic distribution list of his opponent’s supporters. The information included in this email is so defamatory that it may threaten the outcome of the election by influencing many undecided voters, as well as the libeled candidate’s regular supports, to vote against her. (a) Does the “injured” candidate in this instance have the right to demand that the identity of the person using the anonymous remailer (who she suspects for good reasons to be her opponent in this election) be revealed? (b) Why or why not? Please elaborate (beyond a yes or no answer) and provide your “theoretical” rationale in support of your responses. (comprehension).