Machado case
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Machado Case. Foreseeable but Unforeseen Consequences. Source of Machado Case. www.computingcases.org Three cases Therac-25 Case Hughes Aircraft Case Machado Case. Cases Compiled by Students. National Science Foundation Project DUE-9972280 DUE-9980768

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Machado Case

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Machado case

Machado Case

Foreseeable but Unforeseen Consequences


Source of machado case

Source of Machado Case

  • www.computingcases.org

  • Three cases

    • Therac-25 Case

    • Hughes Aircraft Case

    • Machado Case


Cases compiled by students

Cases Compiled by Students

  • National Science Foundation Project

    • DUE-9972280

    • DUE-9980768

  • Eventually there will be ten cases reflecting areas of concern of ABET

  • Cases are being compiled into textbook, Good Computing: A Virtue Approach to Computer Ethics

  • Charles Huff, Bill Frey, & Jose Cruz


Richard machado

Richard Machado

  • Student at the University of California at Irvine

  • Convicted of federal email hate crime February 13, 1998

  • Sent email to 59 UCI Oriental students on Sept 20, 1996

  • Threatened to kill them if they didn’t leave the university

  • Used the finger command of UCI’s UNIX system to identify his victims (i.e., email recipients)

  • OAC (Office of Academic Computing) traced email to Machado using SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)


Machado case continued

Machado Case (Continued)

  • OAC caught Machado in the act of sending a second message

  • Sent him home

    • Had not read the message but responded to student complaints

  • Referred case to police who referred it to FBI

  • FBI prosecuted Machado to develop a legal argument against electronic hate mail


A matter of definition

A Matter of Definition?

  • Flaming protected by freedom of expression?

    • Machado claimed his email was merely flaming, a fairly widespread practice among students

    • He also claimed he was exercising his right of freedom of expression

  • Death threat by mail prohibited by law?

    • FBI claimed that email was hate mail which has been prohibited by law

    • Legislation emerged in 1960’s to protect black students who were attending racially segregated universities and received death threats designed to get them to withdraw from university


Machado s email censored

Machado’s Email (Censored)

  • From: “@#!! (Hates Asians)

  • To: List Omitted

  • Subject: @#!! You Asian @#!!

  • Hey @#!!

    • As you can see in the name, I hate Asians, including you. If it weren’t for asias at UCI, it would be a much more popular campus. You are responsible for ALL the crimes that occur on campus. YOU are why I want you and your stupid @#!! comrades to get the @#!! out ofUCI. If you don’t I will hunt you down and kill your stupid @#!!. Do you hear me? I personally will make it my life career to find and kill everyone one of you personally. Ok?????? That’s how determined I am.

    • Get the @#!! out,

    • @#!! (Asian Hater)


Your task set up the case analysis

Your Task: Set up the case analysis

  • Review the timeline

  • Divide tasks:

    • Assign a specialist to each stage of the Software Development Cycle. (Suggestion: assign two, one leader and a devil’s advocate)

    • Divide the readings among stage specialists

  • Readings:

    • case narrative,

    • case history,

    • teaching introduction

    • ethical analysis (click on safety, privacy, power, equity & access, quality of life)

    • Socio-Technical Analysis: hardware, software, physical surroundings, people/groups/roles, procedures, laws, and data/data structures.

    • supporting documents (RFCs on finger command, UCI student profile, interview with Allen Schiano from UCI OAC


Decision points

Decision Points

  • Scenario #1:

  • You are a systems administrator at the Office of Academic Computing at the University of California at Irvine and have been asked to modify the Unix system to prevent the reoccurrence of the Machado incident

  • Scenario #2:

  • You are a systems administrator at the Office of Academic Computing at the University of California at Irvine and have been asked to develop an orientation program for students who will use university computing laboratories and facilities. Special emphasis is put on preventing a reoccurrence of the Machado incident.


Analogy between design and ethics

Analogy between design and ethics


There is an analogy between design problems and ethical problems

There is an analogy between design problems and ethical problems


Problem solving in computing can be modeled on software design

Problem-solving in computing can be modeled on software design

  • The software development cycle can be presented in terms of four stages:

    • Problem Specification

    • Solution Generation

    • Solution Testing

    • Solution Implementation


Step one problem specification

Step One:Problem Specification


1 identify key components of the sts

1. Identify key components of the STS


2 specify the problem

2. Specify the problem:

2a. Is the problem a disagreement on facts? What are the facts? What are cost and time constraints on uncovering and communicating these facts?

2b. Is the problem a disagreement on a critical concept? What is the concept? Can agreement be reached by consulting legal or regulatory information on the concept? (For example, if the concept in question is safety, can disputants consult engineering codes, legal precedents, or ethical literature that helps provide consensus? Can disputants agree on positive and negative paradigm cases so the concept disagreement can be resolved through line-drawing methods?

2c. Use the table to identify and locate value conflicts within the STS. Can the problem be specified as a mismatch between a technology and the existing STS, a mismatch within the STS exacerbated by the introduction of the technology, or by overlooked results?


2 specify the problem1

2. Specify the Problem


Solution generation

Solution Generation

Brainstorm Ten Solutions

Avoid Dilemma Framing

Reduce and Refine List


3 develop a general solution strategy and then brainstorm specific solutions

3. Develop a general solution strategy and then brainstorm specific solutions

  • 3a. Is problem one of integrating values, resolving disagreements, or responding to situational constraints?

  • 3b. If the conflict comes from a value mismatch, then can it be solved by modifying one or more of the components of the STS? Which one?


3 develop a general solution strategy and then brainstorm specific solutions1

3. Develop a general solution strategy and then brainstorm specific solutions


Solution testing

Solution Testing

Test for Ethics and Global Feasibility


4 test solutions

4. Test Solutions

  • Develop a solution evaluation matrix

  • Test the ethical implications of each solution

  • See if the solution violates the code

  • Carry out a global feasibility assessment of the solution.

    • What are the situational constraints?

    • Will these constraints block implementation?


Solution evaluation matrix

Solution Evaluation Matrix


Solution implementation

Solution Implementation

Implement your solution over feasibility constraints


5 implement solution over feasibility constraints

5. Implement solution over feasibility constraints

  • Restate your global feasibility analysis

  • Are there resource constraints?

  • Are there technical or manufacturing constraints?

  • Are there interest constraints?


5 feasibility matrix

5. Feasibility Matrix


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