Eth Module 1 Case

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Trident University
Module 1 Case Assignment
ETH301: Business Ethics
Dr. Robert Wright
23 May 2012

On November 13, 2004 Justin Ellsworth gave his life while serving his country as a marine. While in the service, his job was to locate and destroy bombs. The day of his death, he came across a bomb with his metal detector and realized there were no wires attached. With further investigation he realized the detonator was a cell phone, but by then it was too late. Justin saved 10 lives that day by warning them of the device, but couldn’t save his own. After Justin’s death, his family wanted to get access to his personal information to include his Yahoo! email account. They wanted to be able to see his last words and thoughts that Justin may have sent out through emails, maybe to a friend or significant other. However, Yahoo! refused to grant them access. In this paper I will discuss why I think Yahoo! did the right thing by granting Justin’s parents access, and will go over the utilitarian and deontological views of the case.

After Justin Ellsworth’s death, his parents wished to have access to his email account. However, Yahoo!’s privacy policy states that they “do not rent, sell, or share personal information about you with other people or non-affiliated companies except to provide products or services you've requested, when we have your permission, or under certain circumstances.” One of those circumstances is when there is a subpoena, court order, or legal process stating they must grant that access. This is exactly what was done in Justin Ellsworth’s case. His parents had to go through a process with the court to get access to Justin’s personal information on his email account. I agree with this, because according to Roger Clark, “Privacy is the interest that individuals have in sustaining a 'personal space', free from interference by other people and organizations.” When Roger Clark says “other people”, this includes parents. Justin Ellsworth had his...
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