Is Obfuscation a Form of Lying Is It Morally Allowed

PROMPT #1: VALUE OF PRIVACY. In your opinion, what is privacy and what is the most important value of privacy?

PROMPT #2: CYBER RELATIONS. Cocking & Matthews claim that “within a purely virtual context the establishment of close friendships is simply psychologically impossible” (“Unreal Friends,” Ethics and information Technology 2 (2000): 223-231). Do you agree this this view. Using the course material for this week explain your answer.

PROMPT #3: OBFUSCATION. Is obfuscation a form of lying? Is it morally allowed. Explain your answer in detail by referring to one of the three moral theories discussed in week6.

PROMPT #4: KNOWING MORE BY KNOWING LESS. Explain the slogan “knowing more by knowing less” the way it is used in the lecture on the epistemology of ignorance.

Student 1: Prompt 3: ObfuscationI don’t think obfuscation is a form of lying. I do agree it is a form of deception. For example, let’s say that you are being followed by K-9 units. Well one thing you can do to throw the dogs off your trail is to walk in figure eight patterns. This will throw the dogs off your trail and cause them to circle back. Now did you lie to the dogs? No, of course not. All you did was use a tactic to throw them off your scent. Obfuscation can be considered in the same context, where you are misleading but not necessarily lying. I think that obfuscations should be morally allowed, especially in the context of computer privacy. Websites and social media do not have good intentions when they want to track you online or mine your data. So, you should be able to defend yourself. A tactic that I like to use online is using nicknames instead of my real name, so technically I’m still not lying. Obfuscation is compatible with virtue ethics, because it allows you to assess the situation and respond accordingly. It could also be compatible with utilitarianism because it can produce the best results for a majority population. According to Kant though, he would want to look at it from the perspective of if everyone where to use obfuscation, what kind of society would that be.

Student 2: PROMPT #1: VALUE OF PRIVACY. In your opinion, what is privacy and what is the most important value of privacy? I think the concept of privacy includes the desire to be alone, the freedom to be yourself, unfettered and unconstrained by the prying eyes of others. Specifically, privacy includes space, such as home. My personal information, such as health or financial records and home address. What I think about my past and what I do in private and non-public places is also my private life. The conversations I have with my friends and family, whether in public or on my phone, via email, are private. My personal images are also private. Privacy can be understood as maintaining a degree of control over the internal domain of personal information and access to an individual’s body, abilities, and powers. This is a right to restrict public access to themselves and information about themselves. I think the most important value of privacy lies in the variety of negative consequences that its violation can lead to, whether it is personal (e.g., pain, flat relationships) or social (e.g., unfairness). That’s what consequentialism says. According to James Rachels, the importance of privacy in relation to ordinary information and situations stems from its necessity for the development of meaningful relationships of all kinds. In either case, we regulate our behavior according to our relationships with those around us. If we have no control over who can access us, sometimes including and sometimes excluding various people, then we have no control over the patterns of behavior we need to adopt or the types of relationships we will form with others. Parents read their children’s diaries without their permission and tell their friends and relatives. Or confide to outsiders what children confide to their parents. Parents who casually expose children’s privacy, or even publicly publicize children’s privacy behavior will not only hurt children’s self-esteem but also hit children’s self-confidence. More importantly, it can also impair the child’s ability to introspect. Writing a diary is a way of self-reflection, parents peep children’s diary, and the diary content publicizes, children will no longer pay attention to these ways of introspection, and will greatly weaken the desire and ability of introspection, hinder the healthy growth of children. Most importantly, it will also weaken the child’s close relationship with their loved ones. From these results, we can know that privacy value is very important.

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