There is only 1 Learning Activity this week!
Is a free
phone really free?
You have recently changed cell phone providers, opting to go with a new provider that is substantially cheaper than your old provider. And, you got a free smart phone when you signed up. Because you are one of those people who never reads the terms and conditions of any contract you sign, you found out after you began using the new service, that your phone location is constantly tracked and that you cannot opt out of that tracking. (These terms are clearly visible in the terms and conditions that you didn't read.) The only way to avoid tracking is to turn off your phone. You also learned that your provider shares all of your location information with several online mapping services and with the federal government, specifically with the FBI and the Center for Disease Control. Supposedly, only your location is shared, no other personal information is sent to any third parties. You questioned your provider and were told that location services were shared with the mapping services in order to improve traffic flow, with the CDC in case there was an epidemic and the CDC needed to know if you had been exposed, and with the FBI because you could be a criminal and the FBI might need to find you in a hurry someday.
Within a month of beginning to use your new phone, when you used your phone for internet browsing, you began receiving targeted pop up ads for local restaurants and bars near where you live and work.
1. What ethical issues pertaining to privacy do you see in this scenario?
2. Evaluate the issue of sharing information with each group (mapping service, CDC, FBI) from a Utilitarian or Common Good perspective.
3. Do you have any responsibility to protect your own privacy? How could you do it in this situation?