Digital privacy and the future



Part 1:

Divide into discussion groups

I’ll present a few comments on digital privacy

Group discussion

Groups will report on their conclusions


Part 2:

“The Lab” interactive video


Let’s divide into discussion groups


Privacy in a digital world

Crimes increasingly solved using:

. . . . .security cam records

. . . . . . . often multiple cams

. . . . . . . story of a student in my ethics class

. . . . . . . . . . ended up catching his own friend

. . . . . any anecdotes from this group?


Lexis-Nexis is a database

. . . . It tells all the

. . . . . . . .places you have lived

. . . . . . . .people who ever lived at an address

. . . . Think about what that can reveal abou

. . . . . . . .a person

. . . . . . . .their network


Nanny cams

. . . . spy on your nanny

. . . . . .  …kids, pets, etc.


NSA surveillance

. . . . Edward Snowden

. . . . . . .what did he reveal about the NSA?


China hacks, downloads Gb if not Tb

. . . . . US gov’t recently indicted

. . . . . . . . . specific mid-level individuals in the Chinese military

. . . . . Everyone is tracking everyone else


Body cameras

. . . . . Google Glass

. . . . . Police shooting in Little Rock

. . . . . . . .key evidence is the police body cam


Ever read Orwell’s book 1984?


Discussion questions

. . .Is this generally good or bad? (ethical dimension)

. . .Where will it lead?



Have a good summer everyone!



Have a good summer everyone!



Ethics in Ancient China

Remember how ancient Chinese philosophy was one of the most popular courses at Harvard?

So let’s discuss ethics in ancient China


Lots and lots to be said

We can only get a start


To start:

Let’s list some Chinese philosophers








Here are a few:

Confucius (today’s focus)

Mencius (learned from Confucius)

Zhuang Zi (butterfly dream)

(Let’s review it for background)

Lao Tsu (founder of Taoism)


Let’s focus on Confucius

What was his name?

“Confucius” is the Latinized version

Family name was Kong (Con)

Given name was Qiu (“chi-u”)

Title was Zi (“Dze”)

Mr., sir, the honorable,…

usually translated as master

So in his time he was Kong Zi

(Master Kong)

Let’s add more respect:

Instead of Zi, use Fu Zi

(like Zi, but a bit more!)

We get his modern name in Chinese:

Kong Fu Zi

Hence, “Confucius”!

From “The honorable master Kong”

He has had more names, but that’s good for now




Who was Confucius?

Born probably 551 BCE

(Socrates born 470/469 BCE)

Father died when he was 3

Married at 19

Had first child at 20

Mother died when he was 23

His philosophy was forged in a politically turbulent environment

He died aged 71 or 72 (maybe)

Many descendants are still officially listed

2 million of them

How many descendants could someone have after N generations?

What, if anything, have you heard about Confucius?





What do you know of Socrates?






I surveyed a sample of one (1) Chinese person about Confucius:

He taught regular people

Not just royalty

Birthday is a holiday for teachers in Taiwan

People are born with virtue

Unlike Zuang Zi who believed people were born without virtue and needed learn it

What do you think?

What does Western tradition say?

Stated the broader Golden Rule

Avoid doing to others what you would not want them to do to you

Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself”

- as translated in wikipedia

What is the narrower Golden Rule?

What is the difference?

Robert Kane, in “Through the Moral Maze,” lists many statements of both versions

Check it out



“Virtue ethics 

is person rather than action based:

It looks at the moral character

of the person carrying out an action…”


Confucius’s ethical teachings were a form of virtue ethics

What do you think of virtue ethics?





How does virtue ethics compare to

deontological ethics?


utilitarian ethics?




Thomas Hume’s teachings?



if you had to state principles of virtue ethics…

What would some be?

Let’s list on board…



What did Confucius teach?

Personal character is key

Specific rules of behavior are less key

What is the meaning of his statement:

When the stables were burnt down,

           on returning from court Confucius said,

           “Was anyone hurt?”

           He did not ask about the horses.

- as translated in wikipedia







Confucius’s principles of personal character

Several principles

The most important:


仁 “benevolence,” “humanity,” human connectedness, comprehensive virtue.

Did Hume know about this? Not unlikely…


Confucius stating it in common terms:

ren is to love others


Which is more important, yi or li?


 義, Righteousness


The desire to do good

Refers to actions that are the right thing to do


“ritual” is a poor translation

Refers to the actions that society considers correct

Which is more important, yi or li?






HW6, due F, Apr. 23 25, 2014

1. For your term project: prepare a 5-minute presentation to the class. Let me know if you are not sure how to proceed. If you haven’t already, send me an email (, picking a day between now and the end of the semester for your presentation. The presentation will be 5 minutes long. I can schedule up to about 8 people per class day for presentations, so get your request for a day in soon, so you get the day you requested.

2. Email me (, or bring to class on paper, smart phone, etc., and show me by class time (so you can get full credit) your discussion preparation notes for the case you are discussing with your group for the Societal and International Issues unit. This should include

  • a link or other indication of the case you are using. If it is from personal experience, point that out.
  • summary in your own words (you can include quoted material from the source as long as you use quotation marks or some other method to show it is quoted), so that your group will understand what the case is about, and
  • questions to ask them in order to get an interesting and enlightening discussion going. See the “Questions to ask during discussion” tab on the course web page for some suggestions in developing your discussion questions.
3. Present the case you have prepared in the previous question to your group on the day assigned to you. Lead the group discussing the case. Maybe you will get some new ideas from the discussion.

  • When another member of your discussion group is leading, help them out by participating in the discussion
4. Write up your case on your blog with the following headings:

    • “The facts of the case.” Here is where you will  describe the case in your own words. 
    • “My conclusions.” Your conclusions and opinions about the case. Be sure to explain and justify what you write. Also, do you remember the interactive video in which you could pretend to be one of the players? Well, in this section of your wiki page, pick one of the people in your case and explain how, if you were that person, you would have done things differently, and why.
    • “Future environment.” Describe your vision of a future in which technology is more advanced than today, or society has changed in some significant way, such that the ethical issues of the case would be even more important than it is in today’s world.
    • “Future scenario.” Describe how this ethical case (or a similar one) would play out in the environment of the future, and give your opinions about it.

Legal, policy, and compliance codes

Let’s discuss some laws and such

  • For each:
    • I will remark
    • Your groups will discuss
    • I will ask for comments from various groups

These laws & rules are relevant to

  • a university having a “National NSA/DHS Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense”
  • understanding how the US does things



  • Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act
  • Suppose your mother sends email:
    • “How is Herbie doing in your class?”
    • I am legally required not to say!
    • If you were younger I could say
    • If you signed a waiver I could say
  • Is this rule a deontological or consequentialist?
  • What is the ethical motivation for it?
  • Is that a good idea?
  • Would a Humean-inspired approach imply anything?
  • “Everyone would agrees it is good for a parent to guide their child”
  • How does that play with FERPA?
  • Can you think of another question?


Other FERPA rules:

I cannot congratulate you in front of the class for getting a 100% on a test

I cannot post the grades on my office door with your names

(A secret code is ok)

What do you think?



Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

a. If you have health insurance from an employer and get laid off, you can remain insured

b. Some data about you is “Protected Health Information” (PHI)

It is restricted from being disclosed

PHI includes

Health status

Medical care

Payment history

Hospitals cannot disclose identities of emergency admissions


airline crash in S. F. -

airline could not find out

where victims were or

how they were doing


  • Are these aspects of HIPAA deontological or consequentialist?
  • What is the ethical motivation?
  • Is it a good idea?
  • Would a Humean-inspired approach imply anything?
  • “Everyone would agrees it is good for a parent to guide their child”
  • How does that play with FERPA?
  • Can you think of another question?


3. USA Patriot Act

Let’s quickly review the titles,

then groups can discuss the questions


  • Title I: Enhancing domestic security against terrorism

Can there be too much enhancement?

If so, what could go wrong with too much?

How can we know the right amount?

  • Title II: Surveillance procedures

Is surveillance justified at all?

Can there be too much?

What could go wrong with too much?

How can we know the right amount?

  • Title III: Anti-money-laundering to prevent terrorism

What is money laundering?

Banks have rules to follow

Can this be over done?

  • Title IV: Border security

Is this justified at all?

Can there be too much?

If so, how can we know the right amount?

  • Title V: Removing obstacles to investigating terrorism

Provides for “demand letters”

It is a secret subpoena for information about someone’s activities

No probable cause is required

No judicial oversight of the demand

Illegal to inform the individual it was done

Are demand letters justified at all?

Do they go too far?

What could go wrong?

What should be done?

  • Title VI: Victims and families of victims of terrorism

Provides for compensation to victims

Is this justified?

What can you say about victims of other crimes not covered?

Is there a “best” way to do compensation?

  • Title VII: Increased information sharing for critical infrastructure protection

 Among other things, defines terrorism as a crime

But what is terrorism, exactly?

UN defines it as something a national government cannot be guilty of


Is that a good idea?

  • Title VIII: Terrorism criminal law

Defines various crimes related to terrorism

Can terrorism be overpunished? Underpunished?

How can we determine the right penalties?

  • Title IX: Improved Intelligence

Improved information sharing within the government

Is it possible for information sharing within the government be overdone?

  • Title X: Miscellaneous

Increased prison from 1 to 5 years for committing fraud while impersonating a Red Cross member

And various other things

What would you add to Title X?

National NSA/DHS Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense

One of the knowledge units is called:

Policy, Legal, Ethics and Compliance

The purpose is to ensure that students understand “information assurance in context and the rules and guidelines that control them.”

The topics are:


 Computer Security Act

 Sarbanes – Oxley

 Gramm – Leach – Bliley

 Privacy (COPPA)

 Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

 State, US and international standards / jurisdictions

 Laws and Authorities

 US Patriot Act

 BYOD issues

 Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 508

The intended outcomes are:

 Students shall be able to list the applicable laws and policies related to cyber defense and describe the major components of each pertaining to the storage and transmission of data.

 Students shall be able to describe their responsibilities related to
the handling of information about vulnerabilities.

 Students will be able to describe how the type of legal dispute
(civil, criminal, private) affects the evidence used to resolve it.

Immediately after class on Tu 3/11! Ok to be a few minutes late.

TED Talk Tuesday
March 11, 2014 | 12-1 pm (noon to one)
DSC Meeting Room G
Bring your lunch or snacks!
Our hope is to help students narrow down their choice of majors to one or more paths that will hopefully get them where they ultimately want to go (work-wise).
We also want to help motivate and encourage those already in a career path to realize (i.e. ‘capture and use’ versus just ‘knowing and understanding’) your ability to widen your reach and encompass your multiple intelligences, training, skills sets, and streams of knowledge into a fuller, richer work experience.
So, take time for a short break from your routine on Tuesday and join us for some informative – and very fun – talks by ones who have combined path-choices and made their unique way in the world of work.



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