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Short Essay Questions

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Question 1

With the recent development of internet communication, cybercrimes are constantly increasing. For instance, cyberstalking is on the rise. It involves abusing, harassing and presenting false accusations to other people online. With all the stakeholders pointing figures at each other, the underlying puzzle is to understand each one’s responsibility in relation to this vice.

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In the article “Ethical Reflections on Cyber-stalking”, Grodzinsky and Tavani point their accusations to different stakeholders. Firstly, they point their accusing fingers on the internet service providers for allowing cyberstalking to take place online. According to Grodzinsky and Tavani, the internet service providers bear a huge responsibility of not protecting the personal privacy of their clients. They argue that the cause of cyberstalking in the access of personal information are hackers, they use to harass, abuse and also present false accusations to their victims. Similarly, Spinello and Vedder question the moral responsibility of the internet service providers as they argue that IPS’s should be accountable to their networks and they should not allow hackers to conduct illegal business over their ‘space’.

A case in point, the internet service providers are accused in relation to the murder of Amy Boyer, originating from Youens’ cyberstalking. Accrding to Grodzinsky and Tavani, the internet search facilities were not protected enough.

On the other hand, individual internet users bare a responsibility as well. According to Grodzinsky and Tavani, the by-standers ought to report cybercrimes committed in their presence. It would be against their moral fundamental duty if they do not report such crimes to the relevant authorities.

In conclusion, the concept of responsibility, brought forward by Grodzinsky and Tavani, is valid and is based on the premise that the by-standers and the internet service providers are the main stakeholders in internet communication. Therefore, it is their moral duty to protect the integrity of internet communication.

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Question 2

The debate surrounding the difference between hacking and hacktivism is endless. While some people will argue that both are the same, others will argue that hacktivism is not founded on ill motive, as hacking would be. Hacktivism involves the use of internet to express political and human rights views held by other people. Hacktivism brings in to the light of public issues related to human rights held by websites and organizations reluctant to release to the public. Hacktivists illegally access the websites of these various organizations or governments and open all the data to the public.

On the other hand, hacking involves the illlegal access of data for personal economic use. In most cases, hackers target banks, whereby they access the systems and transfer figures to different accounts. Similarly, the access to military information that is held in their websites is used to fight them back if their tactics are monitored. The list of cybercrimes is endless and not all can be discussed. The underlying argument is that hacking involves the access of data without the authority of the owner.

Therefore, it emerges clearly that hacktivism and hacking involve the illegal access of data without the consent of the owner. However, a small difference exists in relation to the motives. In Hacktivism the information is released to the public, but in hacking - information is used for personal use, especially for economic gain.

A utilitarian ethicist, such as J. S. Mill would argue in favor of hacktivism in the sense that it builds on the premise of protest and civil disobedience, and the right of expression. However, the act is morally wrong since it involves the illegal access of personal information. On the other hand, a deontological ethicist, such as Kant does not see any difference between hacking and Hacktivism and treats them as illegal and morally wrong.

In conclusion, the different motives held between the two are not substantial enough to say one is morally correct. This is because they both involve illegal access to unauthorized information. 

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