read the essay by Carl Sagan entitled A New Way To Think About Rules To Live By
Afterward, please write an essay addressing the following questions.
1.Which rule(s) do you live by personally? Give specific examples of how you apply the rules you identified in your life. Why do you choose these rules over others? Defend your personal position with sound reasoning.
2. Red Corp hires you to consult on an ethical issue they are facing. Red Corp recently discovered that its customer database has been hacked and published online, along with the customer database of its biggest competitor, Blue Corp. Red Corp had no prior knowledge of or involvement with the hacking until a Red Corp employee stumbled upon the files published on the internet and brought it to the attention of Red Corp management.
Red Corp has no idea how the files were hacked and published, or by whom. Obviously, since Blue Corp’s customer database is also published online, Red Corp doesn’t believe that Blue Corp had anything to do with the hacking (i.e. it appears Blue Corp was a victim to the same hacking as Red Corp).
Red Corp doesn’t know if Blue Corp knows about the databases online yet. Red Corp believes that if Blue Corp knew about it, Blue Corp would almost certainly use Red Corp’s customer information against Red Corp (i.e. try to steal Red Corp’s customers). Red Corp checked its account activity over the last quarter, and there doesn’t appear to be any unusual changes in business, so it is unlikely that Blue Corp knows about the databases (yet). Red Corp has begun the legal process of petitioning for its database to be removed from the internet, but the process is expected to take at least a few weeks because of the information rights issues involved.
What do you advise Red Corp to do? Tell Blue Corp about the databases online, and hope they will agree to a mutual good faith non-use of competitor information? Use Blue Corp’s database and go after Blue Corp’s customers, in anticipation that Blue Corp will likely do the same eventually? Ignore it and hope that Blue Corp doesn’t find it? Something else? On which of the rule(s) discussed in the Sagan essay do you base your recommendations, and why?
3. Suppose that Red Corp decides to use the database, and begins under-bidding Blue Corp and taking its customers. Witnessing this, Blue Corp investigates and discovers the customer databases (both Blue Corp’s and Red Corp’s) online. If Blue Corp does nothing, it believes that Red Corp will continue to steal customers. Blue Corp hires you to consult on a response. What do you advise Blue Corp to do? Retaliate? Ignore the information and the attack by Red Corp? Something else? On which of the rule(s) discussed in the Sagan essay do you base your recommendations, and why?
4. Did you rely on the same rules in your advice to question #1 and #2?
If you did, can you think of a different set of circumstances in which you would have given different advice (and relied on different rules)?
If you did not, why not? How were these situations different such that the difference caused you to change your basis of morality?