Write a 3-5 page (approximately 900-1500 word) paper responding to ONE of the following prompts. Your paper should be typed, double-spaced, 12 pt. font, with one inch margins. Make sure to include your name, class name and section, and date. The document can be either PDF or Word doc (NOT Google docs!) Oct 17, 2019 04:55 AM
Metro cards can be a pain. You can lose them, they can stop working, and tourists can never figure out how they work. Furthermore, the machines are hard to maintain and easy for people to jump over. It’s also easy for those without cards to get swipes from anyone with an unlimited card, which prevents the city from gaining important revenue.
To get around such issues, the City of New York decides to install retinal scanners in all subway stations. This system, which the New York Post dubs MT-eye, works similar to an easy pass. You put a certain amount of money into your account, and a small amount gets deducted each time you pass through an entrance gate. The way the system knows when you pass through is by scanning your eyes. For the system to work, you need to create an account with an eye scan on your first use, but after that your account can be entirely managed from a smart phone. This means no lines to buy a new card. In fact, the new scanner-based entrance machines are built to keep out anyone without an account. Passing through the machines is also much faster than it was with the old cards because the eye scanners are less prone to failures than the card scanners were. While the installation costs are high, the system costs less to maintain than the old card based machines and also reduces the number of people who sneak onto the subway. This means that the amount of money MTA will make will increase on the whole.
Shortly after release, MT-eye is deemed a huge success. Shortly after that MTA gets sued by Hugo Weaving.
Weaving argues that tying his subway use to his retina violates his right to privacy. He claims that since MTA can now know his movements throughout the day, he no longer has any freedom as he moves throughout the city. He also claims it puts him at unnecessary risk because anyone with that data could accurately predict his movements. Furthermore, since there are no laws preventing the sale of that data, he fears it could be sold to advertisers, stalkers, or anyone who wishes him harm. He also feels that the data gathered could be mined for information and used to manipulate him in ways he cannot predict. Because this technology is so new, no one is sure how the case will be decided or even what laws the MTA might be violating. Indeed, one of the main questions arising from the case is whether new laws need to be put in place to determine whether systems like MT-eye should be legal.
What do think should be done about Weaving and MT-Eye? Is Weaving correct that MT-Eye is immoral and should be made illegal? Or does MTA have a right to continue with the program?
These are the questions I want you to answer in this paper. Begin by laying out the case and saying which side you will be arguing for. Your position can be a very straightforward one (ex: Weaving is correct, nothing like MT-Eye should be allowed) or a more nuanced one (ex: MT-Eye is perfectly acceptable provided that conditions X, Y, and Z are met). When laying out your argument some of thing things you might want to consider include the notion of privacy, concerns about hacking and security, the nature of data mining, how to properly assess risk in cyber technology, etc. Make sure that you present your considerations clearly and with a nice structure. Include signposts and remember to make it clear why you are saying each of the things you say. Conclude with a short summary of your argument.
In a world where terrorist attacks have become the biggest fear of many and modern technologies have made explosive devices (and even missiles) smaller and less expensive the U.S. government has decided it needs to install new ground to air defense missiles in cities and military bases around the world. They offer Wayne Enterprises (W.E.) an 800 million dollar contract to design and build the defense system and provide W.E. with distinct specifications for the new products.
Nothing about the contract seems out of the ordinary. The contract, while large, is in line with what might be expected. The timetable also seems reasonable. And when the missiles are first released, they cause a lot of good PR for the D.O.D., and W.E. turns a huge profit. All in all, it seems like a huge success.
Or at least, it looked like that until several months later when several of the missile systems malfunction. Within the first 8 months after installation, two missiles blow up in an army base in South Carolina (killing 8 and injuring 44) and an unintended launch from a base in Israel shoots down a passenger plane flying from London to Dubai (killing 257). A thorough investigation into the matter discovers that there were a handful of bugs in the software tied to the automated launch systems and these were to blame. None of the bugs were themselves catastrophic, but when all of them were combined with certain environmental conditions, the result was a devastating malfunction. Needless to say, the international community is outraged and demands that someone is held accountable for the disasters.
Within the United States, certain elected officials, including Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, say that Wayne Enterprises should to be liquidated and it’s assets divided between the victims’ families and efforts to fund a new regulatory body to oversee the construction of military technology. They claim that if something like this has occurred, we clearly need a new way of deciding whether powerful companies really are doing what is needed to keep problems from occurring.
Needless to say, the president and CEO of W.E., Bruce Wayne, disagrees. He argues that while unfortunate, his company has done nothing wrong. He recognizes that something has to be done and says he is happy for his company to pay a $50 million dollar fine, but feels anything more than that would be out of proportion to what has actually occurred. He points out that no one within the company neglected their duties during the engineering and manufacturing process. Coding is very difficult and bugs inevitably occur and it just so happened that, on this occasion, something unfortunate happened. He argues that if there was any additional pressure on the employees working on the project, it did not come from W.E. itself but was instead the result of ordinary everyday occurrences, such as the fact that several engineers chose to leave the company and several others went on maternity leave during the development process. He also points out that if W.E. gets liquidated over this incident, other firms will be far less likely to accept government contracts in the future and our development of defense technologies will greatly slow, something which will make all of us less safe.
Who is right? Is it people like Warren and AOC who demand harsh punishment for W.E.? Or is it Bruce Wayne, who argues that W.E. should be fined because no one actually did anything wrong?
This is the question I want you to answer in this essay. Begin by laying out the case and telling me who you think is right (or tell me that you think that neither of them is correct.) Next tell me your reasons for drawing your conclusion. In this section you are probably going to want to mention things like the multiple hands problem, accountability vs responsibility vs liability, how to assess risk and our models of risk, codes of conduct etc, legal vacuums, or really anything else that you think might be useful. (To be clear you do not have to mention all of these things. I’m simply giving you suggestions of things you might want to discuss) You will also probably want to say why you think the other positions from yours are incorrect. Make sure that you present your considerations clearly and with a nice structure. Include signposts and remember to make it clear why you are saying each of the things you say. Conclude with a short summary of your argument.
In today’s world of international communications and big data, the relationship between stealing corporate secrets, espionage, covert operations, diplomacy, and war have fundamentally changed. Things like shutting down power, stealing information about citizens, sabotaging communication and infrastructure that used to require having boots on the ground, or at least spies on the premises, can now be carried out from halfway around the world.
Imagine the following case. By some very complex and roundabout series of events, Donald Trump gets sent to prison and you become the President of the United States. Shortly after taking office, some news breaks that has consequences for everyone the world over: North Korean Hackers have broken into the computer systems at Google and Facebook and have wreaked havoc on the two companies.
The details of the case are this. About a year ago, someone began attempting to gain access to the central servers of both Google and Facebook. Over the course of six months, they worked their way through the computer systems of both and began to syphon off huge amounts of data. For instance, they took the Google maps movement data of 100 million Americans and took emails from the Gmail inboxes of even more. These include the data of many politicians, businesspeople, and celebrities that use Gmail for their everyday communications. They also stole information about Google’s own algorithms, information that they plan to sell to the highest bidder. The hackers also installed malware on the servers themselves that delete and change large amounts of data stored on them. On top of everything else, they installed programs that attacked the backup generators of the servers themselves. When these generators turned in the event of a power outage, they began to malfunction and some of them even exploded. These explosions cost the companies millions of dollars and even resulted in injuries to some of the technicians (one technician in Google’s North Carolina office was so badly burned that he ultimately died).
As the president of the United States, you are being called upon to develop a response. The Hawks (politicians who are more prone to military response) are calling for a swift aggressive action. They are demanding that American hackers enter the few North Korean systems that do exist and shutting them down entirely (even though accessing such systems requires gaining entering through Chinese servers, something that China will not be happy about.) They also want to begin preparing to invade North Korea, and even make ready to use nuclear weapons in the event that Kim Jong-Un begins to prepare his own nuclear missiles. They claim that this attack on American companies and American citizens threatens both America’s people and it’s economy and should therefore be treated as an act of war. Thus, the United States needs to respond in kind.
The political doves (less aggressive politicians who believe war should be avoided at all costs) believe you should take a different approach. While there are some doves who believe you should impose new economic sanctions on North Korea, most of them argue that you shouldn’t do anything at all. Yes, Americans have been injured and yes American citizens and companies have had their personal information stolen, but these “attacks” were on private companies that should be responsible for their own security. They point out that if someone were enter the Google headquarters because the door wasn’t locked and steal documents, no one would call on the government to respond. Therefore the government shouldn’t respond in this case either. They also point out that while people were injured (and one American died), far more would die if we attempted to invade North Korea. After all, there’s good reason to believe that Kim Jong-Un has nuclear missiles that can reach the west coast.
What should you do? Should you side with the Hawks and push for a military response on North Korea? Or should you side with the Doves and do nothing? Or should you try to take a middle course that upsets both sides, but will perhaps find a happy middle ground?
This is the question I want you to answer in this essay. Begin by laying out the case and telling me what you think the correct course of action would be in this case. You can take a straightforward position (e.g. the hawks are right, prepare for war) or a more complex and nuanced position (e.g. both sides have some good points but I ultimately think the correct move is to take a middle position like…) Next tell me what your reasons for drawing your conclusion. Some of the things you might want to talk about in this section include the importance of privacy, the difficulties with cyber-security, the degree to which the government needs to be responsible for the private sector, utilitarian considerations about the greater good, or really anything else that we’ve talked about over the past month or so. (To be clear you do not have to mention all of these things. I’m just pointing out that you have many many many options for how to approach this paper.) You will also probably want to say why you think the other positions from yours are incorrect. Make sure that you present your considerations clearly and with a nice structure. Include signposts and remember to make it clear why you are saying each of the things you say. Conclude with a short summary of your argument.
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