Does the author describe their chosen technology in sufficient detail to make it clear how ethical issues have arisen from the technology?

 During the course, you will write an “ethical policy” paper regarding a particular computer-related technology that you believe raises important ethical questions. The goal of the paper is to propose a public policy for your chosen technology that you believe is ethically justified, i.e. identify a bad policy or lack of policy and describe a replacement. You are encouraged to follow the MLA format while writing this paper but not mandatory.

The paper will be developed as follows

  • Identify a particular technology that you believe raises an important ethical question (which could be good or bad). Indicate why you care about this topic – why it matters to you personally. You should also indicate why the rest of us should care. The technology can range from the specific (e.g. radio frequency ID tags) to the general (computers and the Internet). Choose a topic that fascinates you and that you think is important, but make sure that it relates computerization to society. Avoid selecting a “consumer’s guide” topic, e.g. “how to protect your computer from viruses.”
  • Avoid bulleted and numbered lists. You may wish to start finding sources for the factual material you intend to use in subsequent versions of your paper. To this end, subsequent versions of your paper, all citations, and the bibliography should be in the inconsistent format. You are free to use sources from the class readings, but these will not count toward the required number of sources in later versions.
  • In your policy paper, you should make and defend an ethical position and a policy derived from that position. Discuss the technology whose impact you are investigating, the current public policy (or lack thereof), your proposed public policy, and an argument for why this policy should lead to better social outcomes.
  • Your paper should be not less be than 1000 words in length. In your bibliography, you should make reference to at least 7 peer-reviewed, scholarly journal articles that are at least 5 pages total in length.
  • Substantiate each factual claim in your paper through a specific reference to one of your bibliographic sources or don’t make the claim.
  • Plagiarism must be less than 20%.

Review & Feedback

After your submission of your ethical policy paper, your paper will be reviewed by me.

Here are some aspects of each paper I will be considering:

  1. Does the author describe their chosen technology in sufficient detail to make it clear how ethical issues have arisen from the technology?
  2. Does the author take an ethical position? If you can identify normative statements, e.g. who should be responsible, what should be avoided, what should be legislated, etc., that is a good clue. However, the author should be proposing more than just best practices, e.g. we should use the longest encryption key available, or we should thoroughly test the software before release (those are policies, not ethical positions).
  3. Does the author support his/her position with factual evidence? Are all factual statements drawn from cited sources?
  4. Does the author fairly depict opposing viewpoints? Does the author consider all important opposing viewpoints?
  5. Does the author propose a policy to encourage or enforce ethical usage of the technology? Is the author’s policy a rational conclusion drawn from his/her evidence? Does the author document his/her chain of logic and is that chain reasonable? Does the author describe the underlying ethical principles that support the specific chain of logic he/she has chosen?

Optional Component:

If any of you interested in getting a certification in policy technology, you may count the certification as a substitute for your final paper.

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