Morality and Law in Cyberspace

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Journal of Business Ethics Education 8: 431-434. © 2011 NeilsonJournals Publishing.

Book Review - Cyberethics: Morality and Law in Cyberspace, 4th Edition by Richard Spinello, Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2003 Jeffrey A. Roberts
Duquesne University, USA

In the fourth edition of CyberEthics: Morality and Law in Cyberspace David Spinello continues a long and rich tradition of contribution to the field of ethics education and research. In this most recent edition, Spinello, a management scholar of impressive erudition, manages a clear and thoughtful presentation of ethical, legal, and social issues that arise with the use of the internet. As with previous editions, this fourth edition provides a necessary and welcome update as the material must reflect the constantly changing landscape of a complex brew of technology, commerce, law, and philosophy. As with previous versions of this text, Spinello contends that while the development of the Internet and the WEB has and continues to change the social and economic order, this “change” is accompanied by social costs. It is the exploration of these costs and related moral issues that constitutes the primary focus of Spinello’s text. Early chapters of the text build a solid theoretical foundation drawing of writings of philosophers and legal scholars as the basis to explore four broad areas related to cyberethics—free speech and content control, intellectual property, Internet privacy, and Internet security. Throughout, Spinello does an admirable job explicating concepts, positions, and presenting relevant arguments in approachable terms frequently drawing on relevant contemporary examples. The result—a book that offers a clear presentation of ethical, legal, and social issues comprising cyberethics. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to traditional ethical frameworks used throughout the remainder of the text to explore and analyze moral dilemmas and social problems arising in cyberspace. The discussion of ethical theories begins by distinguishing teleological and deontological theories. Addressed in detail are utilitarianism, pluralism and new natural law. An additional and important piece to Spinello’s subsequent analyses is Lessig’s framework describing constraints that regulate behavior. These constraints are law, norms, the market and code. Together, Lessig’s constraints and the ethical frameworks provide the student Subscribers are granted a licence to make 1 copy of the paper for personal use only. Apart from this licenced copy, none of the material protected by the copyright notice can be reproduced or used in any form either electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any other information recording or retrieval system, without prior written permission from the owner(s) of the copyright. For multiple copy orders and reprint permissions contact the JBEE Publishing Editor, pneilson@neilsonjournals.com. All rights reserved. © 2011 NeilsonJournals Publishing.

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Book Review - Cyberethics: Morality and Law in Cyberspace, 4th Edition

with different epistemological vantage points “from which to judge ethical conundrums in cyberspace” (p. 20). Faculty should be aware that, although indispensible, the material in this chapter is challenging and will require ample instructor involvement to enliven the material making it more accessible to students. Chapter 2 takes aim at the challenges of regulating and governing the Internet. Here, the purpose is to “discuss the appropriate regulatory response to the social problems that have emerged” in cyberspace (p. 29). This chapter begins with the premise that the free-wheeling spirit of cyberspace, in part, flows from early design objectives of its underlying network technology. Thus, Spinello fittingly recounts a brief history of the culture and technology that would ultimately form the Internet and cyber culture of today. In the telling, significant Internet technology categories...
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