16 April 2013

Joined at the Hipster

Ethical & Legal Issues

·  Read the Case study 3-Cyberbullying on page 378 of "Ethics In Information Technology" 4e.  Answer the three questions on pages 380-381. Each question shouldn't be longer than a page and please keep it professional looking, no MLA or APA required. (Same case study starts on pg. 321 in Third Edition)
·  Due Date: April 16, 2013 11:59:00 PM EDT

1) Do you believe that knowingly violating the terms of a Web site’s service agreement should be punishable as a serious crime, with potential penalties of substantial fines and jail time? Why or why not?

If the terms of the Web site’s service agreement protect itself and its users from crimes, than there is a moral and ethical precedent to enforce the laws subject when violating the service agreement. Informing users of terms and conditions is a fair usage of warning measures to the community that uses the website, enforcing those laws despite any service agreement is the responsibility of regional laws, which are partaken by users and law enforcement entities. The site may have a legal obligation to the country in which is resides and/or is accessed by, to display the service agreement, and equally may be a requirement to protect its commercial interests, as in, certain legal actions cannot be taken without prior warning of a Web site’s service agreement.

2) Imagine that you are the defense council for Lori Drew. Present your strongest argument for why your defendant should not be convicted for violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Now imagine that you are the prosecutor. Present your strongest argument for why Drew should be convicted. Which argument do you believe is stronger? 

Defense: Lori felt adamant about her opinions, enough to share them, yes they were shared anonymously, but the false profile that she created is no different than the average user, which she herself is one, making her fully qualified to voice those opinions in that manner, free speech does not require a lack of anonymity. 

Prosecution: Ms. Drew knowing of her intentions had no right to provide false information to the website in this case, providing a perfect example of identity theft, misleading the public, as well as misleading the victim with harassment, slander, intimidation, and forethought malice, which resulted in the death of an innocent girl. 

The stronger argument I believe belongs to the defense, not merely because I wrote it, but for the legitimacy of free speech principles, and that the CFAA was not broken in this case. The prosecution has a far stretch to make in order to reach either, equivocation for false identities being fatal, and or, to make the cyber bullying actions of Lori Drew sway the emotional sentiment of the jury to sway the verdict in differentiated CFAA parameters. 

3) Do you think that Lori Drew was responsible for Megan’s death? Do you think that justice was served in this case? Should new laws be created to address similar future cases? 

I don’t have the maternal instinct that I believe is a qualifier to this case. I guessing, I think that suicide is a crime because of the killer, which in this case is the victim and not quite the harassers. The timeline puts Lori’s actions near the death and could be the outlier that pushed Megan ‘over the line’, but I like to believe that Megan’s excuse for suicide could have been personal. 

I think that justice was served in this case, a particular amount of attention was shed to this case amongst the fanfare, the harassers did not gain immunity by means of mistrial or double jeopardy laws (in regards to harassment, stalking, intimidation, slander charges). I reckon to remember that after this actual case that new cyber bullying laws were enacted, which expanded current laws of the civil justice code to amend new penalties for existing offenses to include Internet communications, around the globe.