Email Privacy

Topics: E-mail, Ethics, Privacy Pages: 3 (898 words) Published: April 21, 2013
Email Privacy, page 1

Running Head: Business Ethics – Email Privacy

Email Privacy

XXX University

Email Privacy, page 2

Today I will talk to you about the ethical decisions to keep email private from other’s viewing. Within this discussion I will be explaining the utilitarian and deontological ethics aspects of the decision to keep your emails private. My hope for this discussion is to give you a better understanding of the issues at hand when dealing with the ethical decisions related to keeping emails private.

In May of 2005, a young US Marine was killed in action during the fight for democracy in Southwest Asia. He was fighting for the democratic rights of another country so that they can also have the same inferred right to privacy as the United States. Upon this Marine’s death, his family wanted to gain access to his private email account hosted by Yahoo, Inc. Yahoo balked at the request from the family stating that their privacy rules prohibited them from reading the Marine’s email messages. The family then went to court and got a judge to issue an order for Yahoo to hand over the email. Was it right or wrong for Yahoo to do so? [1,2]

Many folks were very upset at Yahoo for succumbing to the court order and releasing the emails to the parents. Many stated that if the Marine wanted his family to read his emails, he would have included them on the To: lines. These emails were the personal property of the Marine and he had sole copyrights to the messages. Just as a writer of a book or paper retains rights to what he/she writes on paper, the Marine should have retained rights to his electronic papers. As I write this paper on my computer, do I retain the rights to the paper as the same if I wrote it on paper? My answer is yes. Just as I retain the rights to all the pictures that I take with my camera. Yahoo lost a lot of faith with its clients when they released the...

References: 1. Introduction to Dataveillance and Information Privacy, and Definitions of Terms (2007). Retrieved August 2009 from
2. Susan Llewelyn Leach Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor. Christian Science Monitor. Boston, Mass.: May 2, 2005. pg. 12
3. Ryan Singel, 7 May 2010. Facebook’s Gone Rogue; It’s Time for an Open Alternative. Retrieved 5 Aug 10 from
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