“Human beings are made in the image of God” (Gen 1:27), so they should be treated as unique and special creations, and any organization should exercise compassion, dignity, fairness, and respect for all. This assignment asks students to consider the ethics behind data and its collection. It asks the fundamental question of whether or not it is acceptable for information to be gathered on private citizens for use for a greater purpose.
Information is collected on private citizens, as well as large and small companies. How this information is used has been, and still is, controversial. In 500 words or more, discuss ethics in the use of information with the Edward Snowden leak. Was it ethical for the CIA and other organizations to collect data on these citizens? Was it justified? What might this surveillance have prevented? From the Christian worldview, we are to support and encourage each other (Ohn 13:35; 15:17; Ephesians 4:32). When necessary, we are to admonish and confront each other. If you were the judge for this case, how would you interpret this case, done in love, and with caution about our shortcomings (Proverbs 27:5; Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1)?
Week 7 Discussion
A low-level private contractor of the US National Security Agency, Edward Snowden, had breached its organization’s legal and moral confidential information by getting engaged in unauthorized access and prevention and leaked a large volume of the confidential data of the organization to the press and media and too many other rival countries of the US such as China ad Russia. The breached activities carried out by him had caused a major breach of the institutional data and enabled modern information and communication technology to leak the vast amount of communicable, analyzable, searchable, and stored data linked to outsider computer networks. That’s why Snowden’s activities were not only unlawful but instead had given undermined institutional processes which makes the organizational purpose of the operation corrupt (Pozen, 2020). Furthermore, when talking about the data breach from a moral point of view, then it is completely justified because the public, press, and media had the right to know that the organization is engaged in the large-scale data collection process of the US as a whole.
On the other hand, when relating this data breach by Snowden to ethical theories, then according to ethics the act done by Snowden is whistleblowing, confidentiality, and security. Whistleblowing is defined as when the organizational member deliberately places information about the non-trivial into public, then the member is required to suffer from various unwarranted interference and threatened reprisal (Pozen, 2020). On the other hand, the right to know is a fundamental human freedom and is also necessary for the free citizens of the democratic polity to govern themselves (Ethics unwrapped, 2022). Many legal experts and US governments consider his act of data breachUnwrappmade a violation activity that violated the Act of Espionage of 1917. According to this act, the leak of state secrets by anyone is considered an act of treason. However, still Edward broke the law and committed the crime of data breach which is ethically not acceptable.
When asked by the law professionals, about the data breach, Snowden had a moral obligation to the activity and justified that when he is on duty, he is a whistleblower and has the right to inform the people and other organizations about it. Moreover, according to him, the government privacy violation needs to be exposed regardless of its legality. There are many organizations and individuals who agreed with Snowden and said that his actions are ethical. Just like Jesselyn Radack of the Government accountability project defended his actions and said that he had a sense of doing something good for the public (Ethics unwrapped, 2022). On the other hand, other organizations including the CIA argued that he might be legally culpable, but not ethically culpable. Meanwhile, the Attorney General of the US, Eric HolderUnwrappedAccountability Project says that he broke the law and caused harm to National security, therefore he has been accountable for his actions.
It can be said that if Snowden had not done this kind of activity with his organization, it woul never come out to the eyes of the public that the NSA had tapped many organizations’ servers which including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo in an order to track thor online communication for a surveillance program called as Prism. After this scandal, it had also revealed that another firm named GCHQ (BBC News, 2014), British electronic eavesdropping had also been accused of collecting the information unlawfully via Prism. Soon after that, it had also come to know that Edward iswas behind many data leaks for the US and UK surveillance programs.
According to the Christian viewpoint, the verses, John 13:35 and Ephesians 4:32 deliver the message that we should be kind to each other and should forgive each other mistakes, just like Lord Jesus had forgiven ours. Therefore, if I were the judge of this case and need to take the decision from the Christian point of view, then I would have forgivecommitteddecideforgiveneededthe was Snowden for what crime he had done because in the eyes of God, every mistake should be forgiven and we should not punish each other.
Pozen, D. (2020). Edward Snowden, National Security Whistleblowing, and Civil Disobedience. Whistleblowing Nation: The History of National Security Disclosures and the Cult of State Secrecy (Kaeten Mistry & Hannah Gurman eds.). Retrieved on 8th October 2022, from: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3487552
Ethics Unwrapped (2022). Edward Snowden: Traitor or Hero? Retrieved on 8th October 2022, from: https://ethicsunwrapped.utexas.edu/case-study/edward-snowden-traitor-hero
BBC News (2014). Edward Snowden: Leaks that exposed US spy program. Retrieved on 8th October 2022, from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-23123964