Electronic Medical Records & Patient Confidentiality


A patient’s medical information is one of the most sensitive and private forms of data. And in the wrong hands, these records can have detrimental effects. Digital technology facilitates the dissemination of information at lightning-fast speeds which, in many instances, is a praiseworthy feat. However, the unauthorized access and distribution of electronic health records is a major ethical—and sometimes, legal—issue confronting medical professionals.

The End of Privacy in the Digital Age


The birth of the digital age has given rise to unprecedented levels of information and communication at unparalleled speeds of access. According to Lee Odden, author of Optimize, Google processes over 11 billion queries a month, Twitter handles over 350 billion tweets a day and almost a billion people are on Facebook. With communication and information flowing like water from a fire hydrant, the rights and privacy of digital consumers may be swept out to sea by ethically challenged individuals and companies.

Best Practices for Bloggers: Dimensions for Consideration


Best Practices for Bloggers: Dimensions for Consideration presents a set of questions to consider as you construct, update, or maintain your blog. We outline some best practices and offer suggestions for ethical blogging behavior. These are not proscriptive guidelines meant to restrict creativity or freedom of expression online; they are instead created to give current and would-be bloggers some idea of the kinds of ethical challenges they will need to address at some point during their tenure.

The Ethical Implications of Online Credit Applications


It happened without warning. As she was going through her divorce, Jane (whose name has been changed for anonymity) found out that her husband had applied for an American Express Card as her. Not for her. As her.

The Ethics of Planned Obsolescence


For gadget lovers, there is nothing as tempting as the newest version of the high-tech do-dad of the moment. For the rest of us, there is nothing as annoying as the latest update to a product we probably never fully understood or utilized to its true potential.

The Trend Toward Falsifying Online Reviews


I love to shop online. And I am savvy, too. I always research the product in question, although admittedly, some of my “research” includes checking out the product reviews. I don’t even consider products that get below four stars, and I generally stop to sift through the reviews for even four-star products to see why they didn’t receive a perfect score. I even look at the distribution of stars -- how many one-, two- and three-star reviews any four-star product averaged. I thought I was being discerning, but I was actually getting scammed—at least some of the time.

The Ethics of Anonymous Comments


Anyone who has spent time online has run across comments sections on websites that make you feel like taking a bath and then shutting down the Internet forever. People have always behaved like asses, of course, but there's something special about the Web that turns otherwise reasonable folks into mindlessly gibbering obscenity delivery systems.

Faking Photos: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation


In the wild days of yellow journalism, manipulated photos were common. Hearst newspapers and the New York Evening Graphic were among the more notorious for the altered images they printed in the early decades of the 20th century while claiming that the pictures were genuine and un-retouched.

Homeland Security, the FBI and Social Media


“Terrorism.” “Drug War.” “Bomb.” “Social Media.”

If we were playing a game where you had to choose which word doesn’t belong, the answer would be “social media.” But in fact, all of the above words are related…at least according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Stoney Burke, Hawaii Five-0, and Copyrights


When we create websites, we need two things: text and pictures. The text informs, while the pictures draw in the reader and illustrate points made in the text. There is a proper way to acquire and use photographs, ways that often are called into question as society decides how to apply the rules of ethics and copyright to Internet applications.

Trolls in the Comment Sections


Some things really get under my skin – drivers that honk when they don’t have the right of way, passive aggressive behavior and, more than anything, angry trolling on Internet comment sections.

The Ethics of Getting it Wrong


Newspapers run corrections as a matter of course; while everyone endeavors to offer the most correct information, slip ups do happen. Most publications that have come from a print background before publishing online maintain some vestige of that system. The Guardian, for instance, maintains a list of corrections in its news section which seems to be updated every day.

Sexism Online...and Offline


In Pakistan, Internet cyber-bullying and harassment of women is both endemic and largely unreported. In an article for IPS from 2010, reporter Zofeen Ebrahim recounts one horrific incident in which a 10th grader was drugged and gang raped. When her family reported the incident, the perpetrators posted a video of the assault on the Internet. Ebrahim also described a case in which a woman's co-workers Photoshopped her face onto a naked body, and posted the altered photo on the company's website. Humiliated, she resigned her job and her fiancée broke up with her. Her life was effectively destroyed.

Is Reddit Ethical?


Back when the Internet required modems and AOL user names – around the same time Vanilla Ice was un-ironically cool and Bill was the most powerful Clinton -- message forums reigned as hubs for online communities, and sites like 4Chan drew active, enthusiastic memberships.

Fair Use Online


The phrase sounds so rational; however, it has caused a lot of irrational stress and complications regarding the online re-use of third-party content.

Death & Sports Writing in the Digital Age


A girl died in southeastern Pennsylvania. A mere 16 years of age, she was driving a 2004 Honda Civic on Bethel Church Road. She lost control of the vehicle, skittering across the median into the southbound lane before striking a tree, slamming metal and plastic and bark and bone. Rescued from the crash, she was driven to the hospital, where she would pass away shortly after the accident.

Plagiarism Made Easy In The Digital World


Plagiarism is larceny, a writer's theft of someone else's words and claiming them as his or her own, along with the facts, thoughts and ideas they convey. In this digital age, stealing words is simply a matter of clicking a mouse, and presto! Huge blocks of verbiage may be copied and pasted into anything a larcenous writer may be writing.

Policing Cyberbullies One Law at a Time


This October marked the sixth annual National Bullying Prevention month. Facebook, CNN, Yahoo! Kids and hundreds of schools and organizations joined forces to raise awareness and inspire new bullying prevention measures. Ten years ago, a bullying prevention campaign would have focused almost exclusively on teasing, physical abuse and social isolation inside the classroom. But now, no such campaign would be complete without discussing an increasingly widespread from of harassment – cyberbullying.

Wired Shut by Tarleton Gillespie


Wired Shut paints a picture on how the role of copyright law has drastically changed in regards to technology and therefore how it has started to greatly affect online culture. After an introduction to the topic, the book briefly summarizes copyright law and the changes it has undertook through the last few centuries, up to the development and implementation of DRM. Gillespie articulates where previous attempts at regulating digital media was discussed by the industry and failed, how the DCMA and DRM has changed access privileges for the online community, and future implications of continued encryption practices within digital culture. The question of how all of these changes affect fair use is a reoccurring theme within the book.

Headline hype hurts in keyword crazed digital age


During the 1990s, I was a frequent contributor at the Village Voice. It was a great paper to write for, not only because they accepted really offbeat pitches, but also because editors encouraged you to write with style, wit and an edge, especially when it came to suggesting headlines for pieces.

What's Not In A Name: The Ethics of Cybersquatting


True story.

A good friend of mine was planning a baby shower and sent out a very nice Evite for the occasion. In the invitation, she included a note that the mom-to-be was registered at Giggles.com and encouraged the guests to visit the site and choose gifts from her registry.

The Ethics of Crowdsourcing


The word "crowdsourcing" was first used in 2006 by writer Jeff Howe in an article he contributed to Wired. As Wikipedia haughtily explains, the term "is a portmanteau of 'crowd' and 'outsourcing.'"

How do you know who is blogging?


Hello, open-minded readers. My name is Karen Dybis. I am a freelance journalist in the Metro Detroit area who writes newspaper articles, magazine stories and blogs at night as my two children sleep one floor above me.

Seeing isn’t Believing: Photo Manipulation in the Digital Age


When Rich Lam went to bed early on the morning of June 16 last year, he had no reason to suspect he’d wake up to a media frenzy.

Friends, Followers and Retweets : Journalistic Objectivity in the Digital Age


In a fit of professional panic late one night, I surveyed the political leanings of my Facebook friends. How many supported Democrats? How many favored Republicans? Who had plastered their profiles with images promoting Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club or the National Rifle Association?

Robot Ethics


“If not yet the world, robots are starting to dominate the news headlines,” writes Patrick Lin in his introduction to Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics.  For years, robots and other forms of artificial intelligence have been performing tasks in factories and making mass production easier than ever. The automation process has slowly transitioned into other areas as well. Robots now are used by militaries to attack enemies and serve as caregivers for infants and the elderly. There are robots used as sex toys, and robots that facilitate surgeons in performing difficult operations.

Purchasing Twitter and Facebook Followers


When conducting marketing for sites such as holidayapartments.net, I hand-select websites and blogs to place advertisements. In this manual selection process, several factors are taken into account, including the site’s Google page rank, the number of backlinks, meaning the number of incoming links from other websites, as well as its number of Facebook and Twitter followers. To advertise on a site, for example, it has to have a Page Rank of 3/10 or more, or at least 500 Facebook and/or Twitter followers.

The Ethics of Online Scoring Systems for Art


Is there such a thing as a perfect work of art? You could argue that Michelangelo's “Pieta,” Orson Welles' “Citizen Kane,” Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Bilbao and Picasso's “Guernica” come close, but perfection is an abstract concept and not really something that is ever attainable.

Link me up for $$: The ethics behind online advertising



There has always been a fine line in being ethical when advertising. In the quest to sell and beat the competition, it is easy for advertisers to pass from telling the truth to making exaggerated, or even entirely false claims. Further unethical behaviors, such as bait-and-switch offers, have existed since the advent of advertising. Even in the traditional (by that I mean “paper”) media, the difference between advertising and actual, non-endorsed content has become obscured.

Corrections and Online News


I recently was on the receiving end of a rather humorous correction to one of my articles when it appeared online. An Op/Ed feature I wrote for the Chicago Tribune went through copy edit, and the word "their" was changed to "tits" when they actually meant to change it to "its." I laughed when I saw the silly mistake, sent an email to my editor about it and the change was quickly made. No muss, no fuss.

Twitter, Twossip, and the Library of Congress


"Have you ever sent out a ‘tweet’ on the popular Twitter social media service? Congratulations: Your 140 characters or less will now be housed in the Library of Congress,” reported the official blog of the Library of Congress back in April 2010. Each and every public tweet since Twitter’s inception in March 2006 has been digitally archived in the Library of Congress. “That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions,” said Matt Raymond of the Library of Congress blog.

Digital Bodies


Have you ever wished you could instantly change your body shape, height, skin color or even gender? On the popular virtual world Second Life, wishful thinking becomes virtual reality. The Second Life Marketplace features a massive assortment of shapes, skins, eyes and other body components, from the “Luscious Lanae” shape to “Irresistible Looking Eyelashes” to “Afro Male Ethnic Skin,” all for purchase to create your avatar.