"We, who have a private life and hold it infinitely the dearest of our possessions...." (1)
An important part of the ethics of business is computer ethics (CE) or information ethics. According to Luciano Floridi (2) the urgency of computer ethics has not yet been raised to the status of a philosophically respectable topic. Most philosophers view computer ethics as a "professional ethic" rather than a true ethics issue.
The purpose of this paper will be to examine some of the legal issues of the Internet and the privacy of those who use the Internet and frame those legal issues in the context of an ethical issue. Kant's categorical imperatives of morality will be used to model the selected legal issues into an ethical framework.
Section 1 of the paper provides background information on Internet privacy and the vulnerability of the user on the Internet, Section 2 explains some of the causes of invasion of privacy over the internet, Section 3 outlines some of the practices of business and government using the Internet and the legal implications, Section 4 contains a discussion of the ethical issues of the practices described in Section 3, and Section 5 summarizes the discussion.
The Internet is the global Web of linked networks and computers, so its nature is such that it is very difficult if not impossible, to determine its size at a given moment. It is indisputable, however, that the Internet recently has experienced a tremendous growth, with the ranks of new users swelling at ever-increasing rates. This expansion has catapulted it from the realm of academic research towards newfound mainstream acceptance and increased social relevance for the average individual. Yet, this suddenly increased reliance on the Internet has the potential to erode the personal privacy that an individual once took...