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Analysis of the Business ethics case study on Publius

Number of Words : 3127

Number of References : 15


 This assignment is based on the following case study –
 Although many people believe that the World Wide Web is anonymous and secure from
 censorship, the reality is very different. Governments, law courts and other officials who
 want to censor, examine, or trace a file of materials on the Web need merely go to the
 server (the online computer) where they think the file is stored. Using their subpoena
 power, they can comb through the server’s drivers to find the files they are looking for
 and the identity of the person who created the files.
 On Friday June 30, 2000, however, researchers at AT&T Labs announced the creation of
 Publius, a software program that enables Web users to encrypt (translate into a secret
 code) their files – Text , pictures , or music – break them up like the pieces of a jigsaw
 puzzle , and store the encrypted pieces on many different servers scattered all over the
 World Wide Web. As a result, anyone wanting to examine or censor the files or wanting
 to trace the original transaction that produced the file would find it impossible because
 they would have to examine the contents of dozens of different servers all over the world,
 and the files in the servers would be encrypted and fragmented without the help of the
 person who created the file. A person authorized to retrieve the file, however, would look
 through a directory of his files posted on a Publius – affiliated website, and the Publius
 network would reassemble the file upon request.
 Although many people welcomed the way that the new software would enhance freedom
 of speech on the Web, many others were dismayed. Bruce Taylor, an activist for the
 National Law center for Children and Families, stated: “Its nice to be anonymous, but
 who wants to be more anonymous that criminals, hackers and email virus punks?” Aviel
 Rubin and Lorries Cranor, the creators of Publius hoped, however, that their program
 would help people in countries where freedom of speech was repressed and individuals
 were punished for speaking out. The ideal user of Publius, they stated was “a person in
 China observing abuses of Human rights on a day-to-day basis.”


This assignment answers the following questions on the case study –<br />1. Using ethical theories such as utilitarianism, rights, justice and caring, analyze the ethics of marketing used by Publius.<br />2. Are the creators of Publius in any way morally responsible for any criminal acts that criminals may be able to carry out or keep secrets by relying on Publius? Is AT&T in any way morally responsible for these? Discuss.<br />3. In your judgment, should the U.S government allow the implementation of Publius?<br />4. “Ethics is a myth “– Analyze this statement using the above case.<br />

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