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What is it, why is it relevant to
  HCI, why is it important?
         What is ethics?
• Right and wrong
• Behaviour
• „absolute‟ not conditional

• Professional issues
                 Why us?
• Technology changes society
  – Need to understand that change, put it to
    effective use, understand the consequences of
    our actions
• We are often asked to do things that
  create ethical dilemmas
• We have powerful tools at our command
  that we can do significant things with
        Why HCI people?
• At the intersection of technology,
  individuals and society
• Understand the capabilities of
  technologies, the needs of individuals,
  the needs of societies
• Sometimes in conflict
• Boss asks us to monitor employees‟ email
  – Legal or illegal
  – Ethical or unethical
• Specialist knowledge puts you into major
  role in consultancy company
  – Company asked to develop missile offence
    system for government
  – Many employees are pacifists
  – Take the contract, or not?
 Philosophical approaches to
• Utilitarianism
  – “greatest happiness of the greatest
  – Happiness = sum of pleasure – sum of
  – Simple, democratic, forward looking and
Problems with utilitarianism
• Copying software could be argued as
  good as it spreads more happiness to
  more people
  – Yet most would regard it as unethical
• Punishing an innocent person for a
  crime may be sanctioned
  – the deterrent effects may be more
    beneficial than the problems suffered
    by the single person
             And more
• Hard to measure happiness and
  compare different happy events
• No notion of duty or friendship
            Kantian ethics
• Deontic (to do with acts)
• Do your duty
• The right motive is “to do the right thing”,
  “to do one’s duty”, “to respect the moral
• A rational being who consistently has the
  right motive has Good Will.
• Nothing is more important for morality
  than having a good will. According to Kant,
  a rational being with a Good Will
  automatically does its duty.
                Kant II
• Not consequentialist
• Do duty regardless
• E.g. Do not lie
  – Woman comes into your house seeking
    shelter from a violent partner. Partner
    comes in and asks if woman is there.
  Ethical issues to consider
• Data protection/freedom of
• (Ethical) hacking
• Consequences of software errors –
  who is responsible?
   Biometric identity cards
• Government want to bring in
  biometric identity cards to cut down
  crime, stop identity theft, reduce the
  chances of terrorist attack, reduce
  illegal immigration and asylum seeking,
  cut benefit fraud, …
• So a good thing
• £1.3 billion: cost of identity theft in UK
  per year
• £1.6 million: credit card fraud in UK per
• £2 billion: benefit fraud
• Biometrics uses human physical
  characteristic to identify the person
  – Retinal scans
  – Fingerprint recognition
  – Face recognition
• German magazine tested almost every
  biometric security device available to
  – Bypassed them all with sellotape, talcum
    powder, and a photograph
• 2.3%: falsely identified as terrorist on
  every flight using facial recognition
• 10%: failure rate of biometric passports in
  UK and EU trials
• Identity theft a big business, with
  competent computing people in it
• Will get identities from dead people,
  emigrated ones, etc.
• Privacy International: 25 countries
  suffering from terrorism since 1986,
  80% have national i.d. cards, 33% of
  which have biometric data
• Only £50m of the £2b is identity-
• Presence of centralised biometric
  identity system will give more power
  to those with expertly forged cards
• If we trust biometric system then a
  faked i.d. becomes very powerful
• Privacy issues as well
  – Notion is that information can be shared
    by government departments
     • Will the govt always be trustable?
  – And by private organisations
     • Ads whilst you walk
• £5.5 billion to set up
  – And of course that won‟t get larger, given it‟s a
    government project
• £85 for biometric passport, £40 for i.d.
• Every 10 years or so
• Savings to each of us: 83p/year
  – If works perfectly, doesn‟t take any more
    police time, eliminates all identity crime, doesn‟t
    delay us, doesn‟t go over budget
• Should we have biometric identity
• Should you work on them?

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