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Assignment 1 Utilitarian ethical analysis
You must follow the 'Assignment Planning' activities in the SOC10236 Study Guide and all relevant online discussions concerning this assessment to perform well in this assignment.
You are required to select one of the five topics listed below and clearly define one focused and specific ethical question which you will analyse in parts a to f.
The five topics are
- Information technology and/or social media;
- Employment practices of multinational corporations;
- The taking of life: human or animal;
Select one of the five topics. Clearly and concisely define a specific ethical question in no more than one short sentence (1 mark).
Note: This is the most important stage of your assignment and it is not as easy as it seems. If you don't clearly define the ethical problem/question then you cannot perform a focused ethical analysis. It is strongly recommended that you follow the guidelines for forming ethical questions posted on the online discussion forum 1and engage in the online and class discussions setup for this purpose.
- Explain why this specific ethical problem is important and in need of analysis?(2 marks)
- Identify and fully reference facts relevant to the analysis of your ethical question. (2 marks)
- Identify gaps in current understanding of this problem. What assumptions are required to fill these knowledge gaps? (1 mark)
- Analyse the ethical act central to your ethical question using act utilitarianism by forecasting three important positive and three important negative consequences. (3 marks)
- Provide an ethical conclusion which compares expected positive with negative consequences including an estimate as to whether net utility will rise or fall. (1 mark)
To assist your understanding, interpretation and planning for this assignment a hypothetical example is provided on the online discussion forum.
- The (non) response of business to climate change;
- Ethical issues relevant to friends and/or family.
Assignment 2 Ethical analysis of news issue
You are required to select an ethical issue which has been reported in the news media in the past 12 months. Collect one recent (2016 or 2017) news article which identifies the issue, and perform further research to collect relevant background information and facts, to enable you to answer each question listed below.
This ethical issue must be different from the issue which you analysed in Assignment 1.
You must provide a full reference for all sources of information you have used to inform your research. Provide separate answers to each of parts 'a to e' of this assessment under separate sections:
- Clearly define the ethical question/problem and provide a brief explanation as to why it is important. (3 marks)
- Identify facts and key assumptions which are relevant to your analysis of the ethical problem. (6 marks)
- Analyse the ethical problem using act utilitarianism, identifying all relevant consequences. Compare negative versus positive consequences and assess whether net utility will rise or fall as a result of the ethical act being examined. (8 marks)
- Apply Kant's categorical imperative by defining the rule that authorises the act central to the ethical problem you have chosen. Discuss whether this rule can be applied universally. (8 marks)
- Provide a conclusion comparing results in parts c & d above identifying whether your ethical conclusion equates with your conscience with regards this problem. (5 marks)
You do not need to provide a copy of the news article but you must provide full references of all articles and other sources you have used to inform your ethical analysis.
Assignment 3 Ethics and sustainability analysis
- Select one important sustainability issue of global significance and express this issue in no more than one short sentence (2 marks).
Note: you cannot select a 'climate change' related sustainability issue as this is the issue chosen for the demonstration example provided in the online discussion.
- Describe the main environmental elements of your chosen global sustainability issue (5 marks).
- Describe the critical social elements of this global sustainability issue
- Describe the key economic elements of this global sustainability issue
- Identify two major ethical problems which are strongly connected with your chosen global sustainability issue (2 marks).
- Discuss the two ethical problems identified in part 5 drawing on relevant ethical theory (8 marks).
- Your chosen global sustainability issue presents both significant threats and opportunities for business. Discuss these major threats and opportunities.(5 marks).
Your chosen global sustainability issue will contain multiple causes of unsustainability and will cause actions which are considered unethical. You are required to propose an ethical and sustainable solution to the problems which underpin this global sustainability issue. This proposed solution should address causes of unsustainability, as well as financial, technological and behavioural barriers to removing these causes of unsustainability (8 marks).
a. Ethical question
Should ethical hackers be allowed to test the online services of the Australian Government for its vulnerability to cyber-crime?
b. Explain why this specific ethical problem is important and in need of analysis?
Though technology has made greater strides in improving the lives of people and business operations, it had made them vulnerable to cyber-crime. According to the survey of the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), one in five Australians are victims of cyber-crime such as thefts reaching over $300,000 and identity crimes (Koubaridis 2014). In 2012, the hacker group Anonymous took down the Australian government website along with nine other countries over a discussion on internet filters. There were reports that the Chinese Government hacked and accessed the emails of federal MPs. Identity threats and fraud are reported in Medicare claims, the MyGov portal and the Australian Tax Office (McDonald 2015). The increase in cyber-crime denotes that there is a lack of proper information and system security.
The Australian Communications Ministry has set up Digital Transformation Office (DTO) whose key mandate is to integrate the scattered online services of the Government to simplify and enhance the ease of use. As a part of this initiative, the DTO has hired ethical hackers whose main role is to hack the updated online services to identify vulnerabilities in the system to be fixed. According to Paul Shelter, the head of DTO, the Government wants to ensure that its services are secured, and it is the obligation of the Federal Government to ensure the same.
However, would hiring ethical hackers resolve cyber threats?
DTO’s critical part is to develop sustained online security. Ethical hackers are employed to test the system being developed. They are individuals who are certified and experienced, and they have the ability to understand potential potholes in the system, capable of socially engineering their way into the system both technologically as well as physically and act pretentious.