Internet Security and Ethcis
Revised: February, 2014 (Mark Holliday)
This course satisfies the P4 humanities perspectives of the Liberal Science Studies
program. Several landmark texts in Western ethics and morals will be read and discussed,
including Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Ethics by Immanuel Kant and
Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill. The key concepts of moral theory will be covered
followed by a study of applied ethics in the area of Internet-related topics.
3 credit hours.
Liberal Studies Objectives (for the entire Liberal Studies program)
This course is a Liberal Studies course. The learning goals of the Liberal Studies
Program are for students to:
- Demonstrate the ability to locate, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information;
- Demonstrate the ability to interpret and use numerical, written, oral and visual data;
- Demonstrate the ability to read with comprehension, and to write and speak clearly,
coherently, and effectively as well as to adapt modes of communication appropriate
to an audience;
- Demonstrate the ability to critically analyze arguments;
- Demonstrate the ability to recognize behaviors and define choices that affect lifelong
- Demonstrate an understanding of
- Past human experiences and ability to relate them to the present;
- Different contemporary cultures and their interrelationships;
- Issues involving social institutions, interpersonal and group dynamics, human development
and behavior, and cultural diversity;
- Scientific concepts and methods as well as contemporary issues in science and technology;
- Cultural heritage through its expressions of wisdom, literature and art and their
roles in the process of self and social understanding.
This course satisfies the P4 Perspective requirement of the Liberal Studies Program.
In it, you will be exposed to landmark texts that embody the traditional Western heritage
of humanity¿s attempt to understand the human condition and that engage you in the
exploration of the significance of human modes of being, thought, and values in your
life. As in all Liberal Studies Perspective offerings, this course will emphasize
reading, writing, and the use of information, as well as one or more of the following:
critical analysis, oral communication, service learning, moral reflection, and cultural
- Diligent Reading: Proficiency at reading texts for their core arguments, learning
to separate central from peripheral details.
- Critical Reasoning: Recognition of the validity or invalidity of premises and conclusions
of arguments and theories about morality.
- Logical Argument Construction: Proficiency at constructing a well-reasoned and logical
argument in defense of a position involving a moral issue.
- Articulate Presentation: Proficiency at expressing and discussing an argument on a
moral problem in oral and written form.
- Thoughtful Application: Proficiency at applying the above-mentioned skills in reading,
reasoning, argument construction, and presentation to the applied ethics issues that
involve internet security.
- Book Rental Text
- Michael J. Quinn, Ethics for the Information Age, Third Edition, Addison-Wesley, 2009.
- Primary Sources
- Immanuel Kant, Groundwork for the Metaphysic of Morals, (John Bennett translation).
- John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism (1863 edition)
- Other primary sources may be identified as required readings.
Grading procedures and factors influencing course grade are left to the discretion
of individual instructors, subject to general university policy.
Attendance policy is left to the discretion of individual instructors, subject to
general university policy.
- Week One: Ethical Theory
- Importance of ethical theories and ethical reasoning to guide the discussion of real-life
moral issues. Two main types of ethical theories: 1) relativism and 2) objectivist.
- Types of ethical relativism: subjective relativism and cultural relativism.
- Overview of objectivist ethical theories covered in Quinn: divine command theory,
Kantianism, utilitarianism, and social contract theory.
- Kantianism (deontology): the ethics of duty, Immanuel Kant and the two formulations
of the Categorical Imperative.
- Reading: Chapter 2 of Quinn.
- Week Two: Utilitarianism and Deontology
- Utilitarianism: act utilitarianism (Bentham) and rule utilitarianism John Stuart Mill).
- Social Contract Theory: Hobbes, Rousseaun, John Rawl's Theory of Justice.
- Overview of objectivist ethical theories not covered in Quinn: natural law theory
(Aquinas), rights-based ethics (Locke, Declaration of Indepedence, Ayn Rand and rational/ethical
egoism), virtue ethics (Plato, Aristotle, MacIntyre).
- Reading: Chapter 2 of Quinn and lecture notes.
- Week Three: Chapter One, History of Computing
- Broad overview on the history of computing. Including computer hardware, networking,
and data storage and retrieval.
- Week Four: Applied Ethics: Assorted Internet Ethics Issues
- Selection of topics from Chapter 3 of Quinn possibly including: email and spam, government
control of the web, internet pornography, internet censorship, freedom of expression
on the internet, children and the web, identity theft, and internet addiction.
- Reading: Chapter 3 of Quinn.
- Week Five: Applied Ethics: Assorted Internet Ethics Issues
- Continue topics from Chapter 3 of Quinn.
- Week Six: Flexible
- Either spend more time on Chapter 3 of Quinn or start Chapter 4 of Quinn
- Week Seven: Applied Ethics: Intellectual Property and the Internet
- Selection of topics from Chapter 4 of Quinn possibly including: intellectual property
rights and their protection (trade secrets, trademarks, patents, and copyrights),
fair use, new restrictions on use, peer-to-peer networks, protection for software,
- Reading: Chapter 4 of Quinn.
- Week Eight: Applied Ethics: Intellectual Property and the Internet
- Continue topics from Chapter 4 of Quinn.
- Week Nine: Ethical Theory
- Primary source reading and discussion of selections from Immanual Kant's Groundwork
for the Metaphysic of Morals.
- Primary source reading and discussion of selections from John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism.
- Week Ten: Applied Ethics: Internet Privacy
- Selection of topics from Chapter 5 of Quinn possibly including: public information
(RFIDs, cookies, biometrics, spyware, body scanners), U.S. Legislation, public records,
covert government surveillance, wiretapping, data mining, identity theft, encryption.
- Reading: Chapter 5 of Quinn.
- Week Eleven: Applied Ethics: Internet Privacy
- Continue topics from Chapter 5 of Quinn.
- Week Twelve: Applied Ethics: Internet Security
- Selection of topics from Chapter 6 of Quinn possibly including: viruses, worms, and
trojan horses, hackers, denial-of-service attacks, online voting.
- Reading: Chapter 6 of Quinn.
- Week Thirteen: Applied Ethics: Internet Security
- Continue topics from Chapter 6 of Quinn.
- Week Fourteen: Flexible
- Continue topics from Chapter 6 of Quinn, return to topics from previous chapters,
or go into the ethical theories in more depth.