Ethics and Society. CS-1094 Freshman Seminar: Computers and Society Instructor: Jim Allert. Introduction. Technology impacts society for good and for ill. Examples?. Problem. The real issue is in how we manage technology.
Ethics and Society
CS-1094 Freshman Seminar: Computers and Society
Instructor: Jim Allert
Dr. Pierre Leveque, a French computer scientist visiting an American
computer science department for one year, discovered a bug in the
mainframe computer operating system which allowed him to borrow
the identity of other users, by-passing their passwords. If a user who
was logged on left her terminal unattended briefly while Dr. Laveque
was in the room, he could enter a few keystrokes and forever gain access
to her files or have her billed for the time he used th computer. Having
discovered this bug, Dr. Leveque proceeded to collect as many identities
as he could. He never abused the power he had; he neither read others’ files
nor billed his computing time to them.
When Dr. Leveque’s colleagues discovered what he had been doing and
discussed the case among themselves they disagreed about how to
characterize his behavior. Some believed it was morally wrong; others,
although they felt uneasy about the behavior, could not justify condemning
Dr. Leveque when it seemed he had not hurt anyone. All agreed however
that he should be forced to destroy his access to those identities.
John Stewart Mill