I would love some feed back on an ethical question I have just spent the last 5 hours discussing and would like to get the ideas of those in the industry and particularly those from and other countries as I’m from Oz and I know our standards are different here.
I have a friend in the US who I chat to by IM and who I discussed on a number of occasions a confidential relationship problem I was having with a third party friend known to both of us. My friend goes online at home through a server (which I was unaware of) and system set up her partner who is an IT professional.
Unbeknown to both if us, her partner recovered or recorded these conversations off the server and forwarded onto our third party friend creating problems that were not needed and making situations worse.
Note there was threat or risk to any other party or involvement of violence, drugs children or any other significant issues.
The partner’s position was that as he owned the server and it was in his basement, he was entitled to do what he wanted with it and what ever was on it belonged to him and that because the equipment existed for him to hack it, no one had the right to expect privacy and lastly that ethics do not matter with respect to issues like this.
I believed this was ethically wrong and that the same arguments or situations could be set up with bugging the local land line, reading other persons mobile phone text messages, scanning mobile phone calls, opening their mail etc and that just because you can do something doesn’t make it ethically right to do so and that for a professional ethics do matter.
I would like your comments on the ethics of this situation and how you feel about the place of ethics in your industry in general.