Many lists and credos for ethical computing exist, but can there be one “Golden Rule” for ethical computing?
Firstly, I’d like to define what I consider to be very much in the realm of Un-Ethical Computing:
In my opinion, a perfect picture and an embodiment of unethical computing is a recent leak about PRISM and US. National Security Agency (NSA) secretly collecting and archiving Internet communication. With a huge surprise, we’ve all learned, that for over 6 years, PRISM had a full (secret, but legal) access to servers of Microsoft, Google, YouTube, Facebook, Skype, Apple, etc. Washington post unveiled, that PRISM had access to pretty much all communication passing through Internet, that included audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs. To put this into perspective,… if I spoke to my friend in California, by using Skype or Google Talk, my discussion would have been archived and ran through various sophisticated filters monitoring for specific keywords. PRISM was designed to raise flags to authorities whenever alert conditions were met (including live surveillance of Google search terms). It’s existence was leaked by Edward Snowden (former CIA/NSA employee) who is now considered a traitor and had to apply for a political asylum in Russia to escape a bleak future in America (his home country).
What is wrong with that picture?
Well, based on an assumption that none of us would enjoy seeing a mailman reading our mail prior to delivery, or someone spying on a discussion with our friend, or watching and logging everything we do in our free and private time… we also don’t want government and regulators to do an exact opposite of what we believe in.
On that note, we would probably all agree that “Golden Rule” of ethical computing needs to first and foremost include privacy, protection of intellectual property and have a strong rooting in security.
Golden Rule of ethical computing should be a regulation of computing (and Internet) by concepts, frameworks and theories based on a moral and judicial system. Essentially we need an evolving, secure and standardized system, which is objectively updated but openly disclosed.
Such system should be regularly improved by authorities and elected by community of its users; and define terms/methods & tools of computer security and privacy. It should also describe and implement physical and technical safeguards to protect hardware, software, and data security against computer crime.
If there is any kind of monitoring, it should only be deployed to ensure adherence to relevant legislation and regulations regarding privacy and intellectual property.
That ‘in my opinion’ would be a golden standard of ethical computing and prevent PRISM like systems to ever become a reality.
How do you believe the marketing of computer-related products has changed over the years?
Looking back, computer marketing used to be executed through newspapers and computer/gaming magazines. Today we see campaigns which are LIVE, broadcasted over YouTube and generaly medialized in a completely new and a very different way. Everything is made in order to create an online hype and to go viral as soon as the campaign is launched. I believe it was Apple who started the practice of announcing their products in a bombastic manner. And as we can see, the strategy paid off, because using this strategy, they’ve triumphed over all of their competitors and also over devices which are otherwise similar in functionality and pricing.
Why might this be the case?
Viral delivery seems to be the best, as people tend to believe more in a product, which is liked, tweeted or emailed to them by one of their friends. Printed newspaper ads are simply too old and slow, can’t really beat the viral strategy.
What has your own experience been?
My experience is very direct. In my current workplace, marketing department is tweeting, using facebook, sending campaigns by email, creating youtube videos, all in order to engage the client and spark the discussion about our products.