Spyware collecting user information for marketing purposes

Summarize the scenarios in the case (two to three paragraphs)

The first scenario in the case is related to spyware collecting user information for marketing purposes. Therefore, information is used in the development of marketing messages and ads targeted specifically to the consumer. The second scenario relates to the use of cookies by websites to collect user information on how or he or she conducts online searches. The information collected is used in targeting ads to the consumers.

The third scenario relates to the hacking of user devices by consumers with the aim of having control over them. This hacking can enable access to user data by unauthorized people. The other scenario involves the spyware accessing user data such as financial information, passwords, and other sensitive data. This can be damaging to the user if it is used in the wrong way (Suki, et al. 21).

  • Identify and classify the ethical issue(s) in each scenario summarized above.

The ethical issue found in the scenarios above is that a third party can have access to one’s private information and use the same in targeting him or her without his or her permission. Some of the spyware access the computers without prior permission from the user. The other ethical issue is that spyware invades user privacy when they attack individual users. This is because of the fact that the spyware access user information without an invitation (Suki, et al. 21).

  •  Identify the stakeholders and the impact of the issue on each stakeholder.

The stakeholders in the ethical issues above include the millions of users across the globe, the software companies, and the legislators of each country. The legislators have a role to play in passing laws that protect their citizens against the spyware software. On the other hand, the software companies lose reputation especially those that are genuine. Every user will think that all the software companies are targeting him or her. The users will also demand some level of honesty and accountability as well as respect for one’s privacy from the software companies.

  • Explain at least two options and their impact on each stakeholder identified earlier.

The only way to deal with the impact of spyware is to increase awareness of the harm that they cause computer users. The users need to make sure that they make the legislators aware of the problem. In contrast, the legislators should enact laws that protect the users from any potential harm. The companies also need to ensure that the users are aware of the things that they are getting into when they download the software.

  • Construct the ethical debate between the issue and the options.

The ethical debate involving the use of spyware revolves around what can be done to ensure that user privacy is respected without putting any laws. In my view, companies need to start respecting the autonomy of others when they release the spyware. Therefore, when a user decides that he or she does not want to have the spyware, the companies producing them should ensure that the autonomy of the users is respected.

  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the options (alternatives) you identified in #4 above.

The options available to the stakeholders include the putting up of legislation by the legislators or the companies making sure that they conduct themselves ethically without putting laws into consideration. The latter is the most desirable as it ensures that users are aware of the data they are surrendering by signing up or using certain services. This option is ideal in that it makes it possible for companies to remain innovative and not limited in terms of what they can produce.

  • What is the ethical decision for each issue identified earlier?  

The main ethical decision is that companies need to be honest with their users and respect the decisions made by the users in regards to the use of spyware. This decision will ensure that the privacy of the users is not compromised by the activities of companies such as collecting data for marketing reasons.

Work cited

Suki, Norazah Mohd, et al. “Consumer intention to use anti-spyware software: An application of structural equation modeling.” International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction (IJTHI) 10.3 (2014): 19-31.

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