Unit 9 Future of information ethics

Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should:

  • have considered possible ethics issues in the short-term and long-term future
  • know your assigned topics for the annotated essay and slideshow presentation

Activity 1: Starter quiz

Draw a mindmap, spidergram or similar visual representation of your plan for your case study.

Activity 2: Introduction to the future of information ethics

Work in pairs and discuss the content of this slideshow.

Activity 3: Data Trail Mapping

In groups, map out an average person's digital data trail in a day, considering social media, online shopping, search engines, and more. Discuss the potential privacy implications of this data trail.

Activity 4: Bias in AI

Examine the following AI scenarios. Discuss how biases might be introduced and propose strategies to mitigate these biases.

  1. hiring staff
  2. loan approvals
  3. criminal sentencing
  4. grading of assignments in this course
  5. [your idea]

Activity 5: Digital Divide

Role-play as representatives from high-income and low-income countries or regions, discussing the challenges and advantages in accessing information. Share insights and propose solutions to bridge the digital divide.

Activity 6: Future Scenario Analysis

Consider future scenarios where human-machine interaction is commonplace. Analyze and present the potential ethical issues and societal impacts of these scenarios. Be ready to share your views.

Activity 7: Topics for annotated essay

Select one topic from this list. Each student must have a different topic.

  1. The Ethical Implications of Data Mining: Should companies be allowed to mine customer data without explicit consent?
  2. Right to Be Forgotten vs Public Right to Know: Striking a balance between personal privacy and the public's right to information.
  3. Open Source Software: Ethical considerations in making software freely available for modification and distribution.
  4. Artificial Intelligence and Bias: The ethical implications of machine learning algorithms that reinforce societal biases.
  5. Deepfakes and Information Integrity: How deepfakes pose ethical challenges to journalism, politics, and personal identity.
  6. Ethical Hacking: Is ethical hacking genuinely "ethical" or does it create more problems than it solves?
  7. Net Neutrality: Why it is ethically necessary to ensure equal access to internet services.
  8. Ethics of Facial Recognition: An argument in favor of or against the increasing use of facial recognition technology in public spaces.
  9. Technology in the Classroom: Is it ethical to implement surveillance technologies in educational settings?
  10. Cryptocurrencies and Ethical Concerns: How the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies affects ethical considerations like money laundering or tax evasion.
  11. Surveillance Capitalism: How companies like Google and Facebook monetize user data and the ethical implications thereof.
  12. Cyberbullying: What ethical responsibilities do social media platforms have to prevent cyberbullying?
  13. Digital Divide: Ethical implications of the widening gap between those with and without access to digital technology.
  14. E-Waste and Global Inequality: How e-waste disposal in developing countries raises ethical concerns.
  15. Sustainable Computing: The need for energy-efficient algorithms and eco-friendly hardware.
  16. Autonomous Vehicles: Who is ethically responsible in the event of a self-driving car accident?
  17. Biometric Data: The ethics of collecting and storing biometric data for identification and security purposes.
  18. IoT and Privacy: How Internet of Things devices could be a potential invasion of privacy.
  19. Whistleblowing in Tech: The ethics of exposing malpractices in technology companies.
  20. Accessibility in Software Design: Ethical considerations for creating technology that is accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  21. Tech in Healthcare: Ethical considerations of using AI and big data in medical diagnosis and treatment.
  22. User-Generated Content: What ethical responsibilities do platforms have to moderate or remove harmful content?
  23. Algorithmic Fairness in Job Recruitment: Should algorithms be used in the recruitment process, given their potential biases?
  24. Blockchain for Social Good: Ethical implications of using blockchain for humanitarian aid or social welfare.
  25. Social Scoring Systems: The ethical risks and rewards of implementing a social credit system like the one in China.

Activity 8: Case studies for slideshow presentation

Select one case studies from this list. Each student must have a different study.

  1. Cambridge Analytica and Facebook: How Cambridge Analytica harvested data from millions of Facebook users for political advertising.
  2. Equifax Data Breach: The 2017 breach that exposed the personal information of nearly 143 million Americans.
  3. NSA Surveillance Program: Edward Snowden's revelations about mass data collection by the U.S. National Security Agency.
  4. Uber's "God View" Scandal: Uber employees had access to a "God View" feature that allowed them to track users in real-time without consent.
  5. Google's Project Maven: Google's involvement in a Pentagon project for analyzing drone footage raised ethical concerns among its employees.
  6. Apple's Conflict Minerals: Apple's ethical dilemma surrounding the sourcing of conflict minerals for its products.
  7. Stuxnet Worm: The cyberweapon targeted at Iran's nuclear facilities, affecting infrastructure and ethical boundaries in cyberwarfare.
  8. Tesla's Autopilot Incidents: Ethical considerations around self-driving technology after fatal accidents involving Tesla's Autopilot.
  9. Amazon's Facial Recognition Software: Amazon's Rekognition technology was offered to law enforcement agencies, raising civil liberties concerns.
  10. Zoom's Privacy Concerns: Zoom's rapid rise during the COVID-19 pandemic led to scrutiny over its privacy and security measures.
  11. The WannaCry Ransomware Attack: The 2017 global cyberattack that crippled organizations by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments.
  12. Theranos Fraud Case: How the blood-testing startup misled investors and endangered patient health through false claims.
  13. Twitter's Algorithmic Bias: Accusations that Twitter's image-cropping algorithm favored white faces over black faces.
  14. Chinese Social Credit System: How China's social credit system can impact citizens' access to services and freedom.
  15. Reddit and Hate Speech: Reddit's struggle with moderating hate speech and misinformation on its platform.
  16. DeepMind's Healthcare Data Sharing: The sharing of healthcare data between the UK's NHS and Google's DeepMind raised concerns about patient privacy.
  17. Clearview AI's Facial Recognition: The company scraped billions of photos from social media for a database sold to law enforcement agencies.
  18. WhatsApp Data Sharing with Facebook: WhatsApp's 2021 policy update caused concern over user data being shared with its parent company, Facebook.
  19. SolarWinds Cyberattack: The cyber-espionage attack targeted U.S. government agencies and numerous corporations, leading to national security concerns.
  20. Palantir's Government Contracts: Palantir's data analytics services for immigration enforcement and predictive policing raised ethical and civil liberties questions.
  21. Roblox and Child Safety: Concerns regarding child safety and inappropriate content on the online gaming platform.
  22. Ashley Madison Data Leak: The data breach exposed the personal information of individuals using the infidelity website.
  23. Google in China (Project Dragonfly): Google's plan to launch a censored search engine in China brought up ethical considerations about freedom and human rights.
  24. TikTok and Data Privacy: Concerns over how the app collects and shares data on U.S. citizens, sparking a national security debate.
  25. IBM and NYPD Surveillance: IBM secretly used NYPD surveillance footage to develop facial recognition technology that could sort people by ethnicity.


Do you have any questions about:

  1. the annotated essay?
  2. the slideshow presentation?

If so, ask your tutor.

Running count: 80 of 80 concepts covered so far.