Tag Archives: Technology

Media Ethics in a Digital Age

Clifford Christians, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

What ethical issues are central now as the new technologies dominate the media professions and global information systems take shape? There are new moral problems such as digital manipulation. Privacy, surveillance, gender discrimination, distributive justice and cultural diversity are more complicated than ever. But the centerpiece ought to be an ethics of truth. A sophisticated principle of truth should at the leading edge of the cyberspace revolution.

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Privacy & Security in the Age of The Net

isecurityPanel discussion
February 20th, 2001, 8:00 to 10:00 pm
Morton Hall 235

Three leading experts examine the difficulties in keeping up with the bad guys’ abuse of new technologies. FBI Special Counsel for Electronic Surveillance Matters Alan McDonald argues why law enforcement agencies need the ability to use electronic surveillance equipment to monitor traffic on the Internet. Ohio State University Law School faculty member Peter Swire, an Internet privacy advocate, stresses the need for restraint and oversight of agencies employing such technology. Bernard Debatin discusses the ethical and moral dimensions of Internet law enforcement and of electronic surveillance in general Debatin, a professor at the University of Leipzig (Germany), is a visiting lecturer in the Ohio University Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics.

Alan McDonald is Special Counsel for Electronic Surveillance Matters, Laboratory Division, at FBI Headquarters. For the last ten years, he has worked on the legal and policy aspects of issues related to advanced communications networks as they relate to U.S. Electronic surveillance. Prior to that time, he was assigned for five years to the FBI’s Legal Counsel Division at FBI Headquarters, where he specialized in electronic surveillance law, as well as law and policy regarding other sensitive investigative techniques.

During 1993/94, Mr. McDonald was the FBI/Government attorney member of a four-member FBI team dedicated to preserving governmental electronic surveillance capabilities in the United States in light of advanced telecommunications technologies. The resulting landmark Federal legislation that was enacted in October, 1994 — the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) — is considered of critical importance by law-enforcement and prosecutorial authorities. In 1995, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno presented Mr. McDonald with the John Marshall Award for Legislation for his role in the enactment of CALEA.

Mr. McDonald has spoken at numerous U.S. Telecommunications carrier meetings and privacy-related seminars, and he has provided numerous briefings for Congressional staff regarding electronic surveillance, encryption, and CALEA matters.

Mr. McDonald received his law degree from the University of Louisville, and he has been a Special Agent of the FBI for 26 years.

From March 1999 until January 2001, Peter Swire served as the Clinton Administration’s Chief Counselor for Privacy, in the United States Office of Management and Budget. In early January, Peter returned to his position as Professor of Law at the Ohio State University College of Law. Peter is now teaching two courses on privacy and the law of cyberspace. Peter was featured in a January 17 Washington Post article about the transition to life after working in the Administration, at washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A3204-2001Jan16.html. USA Today gave a profile of Peter’s work at www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/cti036.htm.

With a background in both banking regulation and cyberspace, much of Peter’s work addresses issues of cyberbanking and financial privacy. In June, 1997, Peter was selected as an Ameritech Faculty Fellow to conduct research on “The Role of Law in Assuring Financial Privacy.”

From December 1998 until late January 1999, Peter acted as a consultant to the Department of Commerce. He led a U.S. government team in visits to France, England, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands, meeting with public- and private-sector leaders on privacy issues.

In early 1998, Peter became editor of Cyberspace Law Abstracts (CLA), a monthly publication that provides synopses of new scholarship concerning cyberspace, as well as related conference and professional announcements.

From 1992-94 Peter worked on the idea of “Public Feedback Regulation” as an organizing theme for how the Internet could enhance political participation and address some important market failures. This research was never published, but is discussed in some detail in David Brin’s fascinating 1998 book “The Transparent Society,” where the author essentially argues that technology has made privacy impossible and our best hope is to open up access to the databases to a broader array of citizens.

Bernhard Debatin, Professor of public communication and media ethics at the University of Leipzig, Germany, is spending 2000/01 as a visiting professor at Ohio University’s Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics. Dr. Debatin specializes in internet-communication and media ethics. He received his doctorate from the Technical University of Berlin in 1994.

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Cheating in cyberspace: how to do it (and why not to)

Jon Dorbolo, Oregon State University
May 6th, 2002, 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Irvine 194

dorbolo_wagAs information technology changes the character of education, new challenges to academic integrity arise. In some ways, cheating and plagiarism are easier than ever. In other ways, the uses of information are radically transformed such that traditional conceptions of academic dishonesty need to be rethought. The key objective of this address is to identify the impacts of information technology on cheating methods, cheating detection and prevention, and the ethics of academic integrity. As a result of this session the participant will gain resources that can be used immediately to reduce risks of academic dishonesty and to check their work for questionable practices. Students will gain resources that help protect their work against charges of academic dishonesty; faculty and administrators will gain resources valuable in attenuating academic dishonesty and upgrading institutional policy.

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Ethics, technology, and distributed learning

Jon Dorbolo, Oregon State University
May 7th, 2002, 12:00 to 1:00 pm
OU without boundaries classroom
42 West Union St.

dorbolo_wagThe objective of this session is to provide a context in which ethical and social issues involving distance education and educational technology will be considered. The uses of technology to achieve teaching and learning at a distance comprise fundamental transformations in higher education globally. These changes create new challenges and opportunities for rethinking the ends and means of education. This session will be an open discussion about the purpose of education, current worries about distant education, and the potentials to create improved learning via technology.


The Effect of Technological Advancement: Just Because Something Can Be Done, Should It Be Done?

Charles Fleddermann, Associate Dean, Electrical/Computer Engineering, University of New Mexico
May 14th, 2002, 7:30 to 9:00 pm
Morton 235
Public lecture & Miniseminar
Cosponsored with OU ACM and the Athens Area Linux Users’ Group


One of the perks of being an engineer is the opportunity to work on cutting-edge technologies. Indeed, this is what keeps many engineering professionals excited about their work. This sense of excitement is conveyed by the media, where the emphasis is often on the novelty of new technologies, and rarely (at first), on the values associated with the technology. New and advancing technologies are presented as being of great value to society, or at worst, value neutral. It is only much later, after problems have arisen, that the value of a new technology is examined. Of course, most new technologies bring both benefits and unforeseen problems. For example, cell phones have brought people the ability to communicate from nearly any location on earth, but have also been implicated in increased rates of automobile accidents and increased levels of stress as it becomes possible (and therefore necessary!) to work everywhere and all the time.

In this talk I will look at some of the technologies that have changed the world both for better and for worse. Examples will include the development of the internet and some of the technologies the internet has spawned, such as free sharing of music and video files. I will then develop ideas regarding the responsibility of engineers for ensuring that new technologies are used wisely, and ultimately will try to answer the question of whether some new technologies should be developed at all.


Computer Assisted

Jon Dorbolo
Oregon State University
May 3rd, 2004, 3:00 to 5:00 pm
Stocker 192

Free, public seminar

dorbolo_wagInformation technology and the internet create new methods and opportunities for academic cheating. This seminar will investigate modes of computer assisted cheating, methods of detection, and methods of prevention.

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Conversation on New Age Information Ethics

John Jay Black & Ralph Barney
May 23rd, 1994

Public lecture and discussion by:

  • John Jay Black (University of South Florida),
  • Ralph Barney (Brigham Young University)
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