Posts Tagged ‘Ethical Decision Making

Building Personal Ethical Decision Making Abilities

Analyzing case studies provides an excellent mechanism for building practical ethical decision making abilities. Bynum and Rogerson suggest a multistaged approach to case study analysis:

Clearly, a person’s key ethical principles will vary based on such factors as fundamental ethical approach(for example, consequentialism or virtue ethics) and can change depending on the normative values of one’s culture. Although the specific ethical issues raised by a case will depend on the combination of these ethical principles and the case in question, we have found the following generic questions to be useful in building ethical decision-making expertise across a wide range of cases and philosophies:

  1. Does the research aim to protect a specific population,and if so, which population (for example, the owners of infected hosts, the victims of secondary attacks, or the general Internet user)?
  2. Can studying malicious behavior achieve multiple simultaneous benefits to society (for example, developing new defenses while aiding investigation of criminal acts and assisting victimized network sites)?
  3. Who benefits more from publication of research findings, and in what order (for example, victims of criminal acts, the researchers themselves, or the criminals perpetrating computer crimes)?
  4. Is there another way to accomplish the desired research results?
  5. What is the safest way to disseminate research results without risking improper use by individuals who might not share the researchers’ ethical standards?

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