Legal scholar Lessig argues that today coders have as much power as legislators to decide the “rules of surveillance.”
“The net could be designed to reveal who someone is, where they are, and what they’re doing. And if it were so designed, then the net could become the most regulable space man has ever known. (2008, p. 38)
Write a 250-word response. Agree or disagree with the statement: “All coders should aim to develop an internet which is as secure as it can possibly be. If this means sacrificing some of our anonymity and freedom, it is worth it to have a secure internet.”
As you write your response, consider the following question: To whom should the coder be ethically and morally accountable -- citizens who desire freedom, the state which desires security, or his employer who likely desires profitability.
Together with your class view one of these two films:
- The Lives of Others (2006, IMDB)
- 1984 (1984, IMDB)
Both of these movies deal with the topic of surveillance.
The Lives of Others is a German film which examines the ways in which intelligence agents spied on citizens in the former East Germany, and the ethical dilemmas which an intelligence agent faced.
1984 is a dystopian novel which imagines a future in which surveillance is ever-present.
Can you find any parallels with political and ethical concerns related to surveillance presently being discussed in your own country?
Click HERE to visit a British Privacy Rights website. Read the article “UK government creates a database of citizen’s porn-viewing habits. What could possibly go wrong?”
Write a letter to your elected representative. Tell why your nation should or should not have a similar bill.
Think about the chart in this chapter on Ethical vs. Unethical Surveillance. Would such a form of surveillance be considered ethical? Why or why not?