Choicepoint and Sony , an Ethical Analysis

Topics: Ethics, PlayStation 3, Identity theft Pages: 7 (2180 words) Published: April 3, 2012
Ethics refers to what comes off as right or wrong to an individual’s conscience .The internet age has brought about new ethical issues, not only for an individual but for the society as well as it has eased anonymous manipulation and distribution of information, creating new and easier paths for committing crimes like piracy, identity theft, infringement of an individual’s privacy etc. In this paper we will be analyzing the Choice-point case and the ‘Sony data breach ‘case from an ethical point of view. (Laudon &Laudon, 2010, p.128) Background:

The ChoicePoint Data breach:
On September 27 of 2004, ChoicePoint,a company that aggregates and stores personal information, suspected that some of its small business customers were involved in suspicious activities and informed the police. (Paine, Phillips, 2008)On February of 2005, ChoicePoint only notified those residents of California whose data had been leaked to the illegal customers, since a certain law in California requires it. A protest from the public, however, forced the company to notify the details of the breach to the other involved parties residing in the other states. The swindlers who scammed ChoicePoint had created over 50 accounts with previously stolen identities over the course of a year or even longer. (Pantesco, 2006) Changes in business practices (Otto, Anton & Baumer, 2007): ChoicePoint made numerous changes after the 2004-2005 data breach. The company closed the 50 fake accounts and made a policy to refuse any faxed business licenses in the future .The Company formed a new policy, that all nongovernmental organizations need to be re-credentialed in order to do business with it, and increased its procedures in verifying the identity of the company. More stringent and better business policies in ensuring the safety of their customer’s data, for e.g. partial masking of social security numbers were employed. The company continued its investigations of its databases for further indications of foul play and brought in outsiders to assess and rectify their practices. The Sony Data Breach:

The Sony data breach was a result of an intrusion from an outsider party, causing an outage in the PlayStation Network and Qriocity’s services between 17th April 2011 and 19th April, 2011.A confirmation from Sony revealed that pieces of personal information had been stolen from each and every 77 million accounts. This breach resulted in Sony shutting off the PlayStation Network for 23 days. (Hirai, 2011)

Sony stated that the chairman of the company had submitted explanations wanted by United States House subcommittee regarding the attack and that they were taking some measures to prevent further breaches. When questioned about the delay in making the breach public, Sony explained that they’d sought help from outside officials to conduct an investigation in order to comprehend the nature and magnitude of the incident; and hence forensic analysis and investigation had caused the delay since they wanted to have all the necessary details before making the breach public. On May 14, 2011, Sony released a security patch called PlayStation 3 firmware version 3.61 requiring users to change their password upon signing into their account in the PlayStation Network. (Seybold, 2011)

Compensation: In compensation for this outage, Sony announced hosting of special events for their users. Sony wanted to appreciate the loyalty of the customers who stuck to using Play Station network and didn’t look for other alternatives. Hence Sony announced an extension of free 30 days of its various services for its existing users. Also, few of their games in the PlayStation network were made free, though these games are available only in some regions or countries. In addition to that Sony also offered one year’s worth of “free identity theft protection’ to all of its customers. (Wesley, 2011)

Ethical Analysis
According to Culnan and Williams (2009, p.679),the two aspects...
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