Does Google Have an Ethical Obligation Not to Spy?

Many Americans are outraged at the government for mining user data from Apple, Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants. What about the actions of the companies themselves -- have they met their ethical obligations to their customers and society as a whole? Do they even have any?

Full article


Opinion piece in the NYT

Much of the outrage over the gathering of telephone and Internet records is misplaced, even paranoid.

This particular portion of the Obama administration's scandal-plagued spring is nothing more than hyperbole by his opponents. I don't want the feds listening to/reading my private communications. However, I don't have too much of a problem if they are looking for pattern-based anomalies in the vast stream of metadata. Particularly if it can save lives and prevent innocent bloodshed.

Of course, were a Republican now in the White House we'd be hearing similar howls of outrage from the other end of the political spectrum and still have a lot of politicians trying to stay on the "correct" side of the issue from a PR standpoint. Slightly different talking heads, same behaviour.

Agree with this. It all depends upon if it's "your" guy in charge.

This sort of wiretapping/surveillance/etc. has been going on for years and years and years. MLK, the Kennedys were all wiretapped. Private citizens have been spied upon since the McCarthy days.

Why are people just now getting upset?

I'm not at all thrilled with the feds reading my e-mails, texts, etc, bbut some people are acting like this just started happening under Obama. Remember the Patriot Act, anyone? That document signed into law in 2001 which basically allows all sorts of warrantless wiretapping, surveillance, etc. all in the name of 'The War on Terror." There was little opposition to it then because anyone who came out against it was accused of being "un-American" and coddling terrorists. The Patriot Act had near-universal support across party lines when it was first signed into law. Only a few brave souls dared speak out against it.

If someone didn't oppose the Patriot Act then, I give very little concern to their pearl-clutching now about privacy issues.

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