The use of the data or technology gathered by unethical means

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23 May 2018 21:08 #321926 by Locksley
Locksley replied the topic: The use of the data or technology gathered by unethical means
It seems to me that part of this question relies upon a specific understanding of the nature of the individual, perhaps. Perhaps another thread for that, since the original point of this thread is, in itself, interesting.
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23 May 2018 21:25 #321927 by MadHatter
MadHatter replied the topic: The use of the data or technology gathered by unethical means
Senan one interesting thing I am thinking here is that this seems similar to our stances on gun control and why we might not ever see eye to eye on the subject. Now please forgive me taking our nuanced discussions on that topic and oversimplifying the matter to a gross degree but tell me if I am wrong in seeing the following correlation between our views on that matter and this one:

You: Something is causing harm, that is unethical so we must divorce ourself from it as much as we are practically able.

Me: This caused harm but it can also save lives and to toss it out only furthers suffering of innocent third parties. We must not toss it.



To finalize my thoughts that I left out in other posts. The data itself is not good or bad. it's information that can be used to hurt or harm. Any harm being done by gaining it at the point we are discussing has been done. We cannot change that, the only thing we can do is punish those that hurt people getting it and prevent them from profiting from the information. However, after that has been done we have two choices. Toss the data out that could save lives. Or use the data to save lives. I do not see how causing further suffering or death that we have the power in our hands to stop is more ethical then tossing out data that is on its own morally neutral.

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23 May 2018 23:13 #321931 by Senan
Senan replied the topic: The use of the data or technology gathered by unethical means
Let me clear one thing up first before responding further. I'm not saying here that I wouldn't give or receive life saving treatment or use life saving data/tech to help people even if it was obtained illegally. What I am saying is that it would still be unethical and I would have to live with that choice knowing it was wrong. There is no philosophical justification that will make it ethical, only conditions that might make one feel that it is still morally acceptable to act unethically in this case.

The ethical implication of being complicit in a crime is not only that you helped to commit it. It can also mean that you benefit from it later, whether planned or not. Here's an example. A bank robber steals money from a bank and runs out the front door with it. He drops a thousand of it on the ground as he runs. You come across it. I ask you, is it ethical to keep that money just because you weren't involved in the robbery? You are still complicit if you keep it because the money did not belong to you in the first place and it ended up on that sidewalk as a result of illegal activity. It doesn't matter that the money would be used to feed a hundred hungry children. It is still stolen.

The greater good philosophy, or Utilitarianism, suggests that all people's interests should be considered equally, and therefore the usefulness of any action is judged by the sum of all pleasures that result from an action minus the suffering of anyone involved in the action. Based on this, it would appear that using data/technology acquired illegally would be ethical so long as it benefited more people than the original crime harmed. The problem with this argument is that it only works if the interests of all involved are treated equally. When someone is harmed in the acquisition of data, their interests are not being considered equally. In fact, their interests are not being considered at all.

Instead, this is more similar to the legal concept of "fruit of a poisonous tree". While the data/tech may be useful, it is the fruit of illegal and unethical acts. It is therefore tainted. You can't ever justify the original crime by saying the end result helped more people because nobody knew that as the crime was being committed. It will always be unethical.

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23 May 2018 23:21 #321933 by Senan
Senan replied the topic: The use of the data or technology gathered by unethical means

MadHatter wrote: Senan one interesting thing I am thinking here is that this seems similar to our stances on gun control and why we might not ever see eye to eye on the subject. Now please forgive me taking our nuanced discussions on that topic and oversimplifying the matter to a gross degree but tell me if I am wrong in seeing the following correlation between our views on that matter and this one:

You: Something is causing harm, that is unethical so we must divorce ourself from it as much as we are practically able.

Me: This caused harm but it can also save lives and to toss it out only furthers suffering of innocent third parties. We must not toss it.



To finalize my thoughts that I left out in other posts. The data itself is not good or bad. it's information that can be used to hurt or harm. Any harm being done by gaining it at the point we are discussing has been done. We cannot change that, the only thing we can do is punish those that hurt people getting it and prevent them from profiting from the information. However, after that has been done we have two choices. Toss the data out that could save lives. Or use the data to save lives. I do not see how causing further suffering or death that we have the power in our hands to stop is more ethical then tossing out data that is on its own morally neutral.



I see how you could make the comparison. It is more nuanced than that, but we do have a fundamental disagreement and that is okay. Recent events would demonstrate that the capacity for guns to save innocent lives has been far outweighed by the harm they are causing to the "innocent third parties". Victims of gun violence would argue that strict gun control would not cause further suffering, but actually prevent it in the first place.

The main point I wish to make here is that as Jedi, while we judge something as morally good or bad, we also need to consider if it is ethical or not. Sometimes we will choose the moral good even if it involves unethical action, and that is okay. Sometimes we will have to stand our ethical ground in order to demonstrate that our morals are highly valued and should not be swayed easily. Whatever we do, it is always a choice, and once we make that choice, we can't simply ignore the moral or ethical ramifications of it.

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23 May 2018 23:24 #321934 by MadHatter
MadHatter replied the topic: The use of the data or technology gathered by unethical means

Senan wrote: Let me clear one thing up first before responding further. I'm not saying here that I wouldn't give or receive life saving treatment or use life saving data/tech to help people even if it was obtained illegally. What I am saying is that it would still be unethical and I would have to live with that choice knowing it was wrong. There is no philosophical justification that will make it ethical, only conditions that might make one feel that it is still morally acceptable to act unethically in this case.

The ethical implication of being complicit in a crime is not only that you helped to commit it. It can also mean that you benefit from it later, whether planned or not. Here's an example. A bank robber steals money from a bank and runs out the front door with it. He drops a thousand of it on the ground as he runs. You come across it. I ask you, is it ethical to keep that money just because you weren't involved in the robbery? You are still complicit if you keep it because the money did not belong to you in the first place and it ended up on that sidewalk as a result of illegal activity. It doesn't matter that the money would be used to feed a hundred hungry children. It is still stolen.

The greater good philosophy, or Utilitarianism, suggests that all people's interests should be considered equally, and therefore the usefulness of any action is judged by the sum of all pleasures that result from an action minus the suffering of anyone involved in the action. Based on this, it would appear that using data/technology acquired illegally would be ethical so long as it benefited more people than the original crime harmed. The problem with this argument is that it only works if the interests of all involved are treated equally. When someone is harmed in the acquisition of data, their interests are not being considered equally. In fact, their interests are not being considered at all.

Instead, this is more similar to the legal concept of "fruit of a poisonous tree". While the data/tech may be useful, it is the fruit of illegal and unethical acts. It is therefore tainted. You can't ever justify the original crime by saying the end result helped more people because nobody knew that as the crime was being committed. It will always be unethical.


It would be unethical to keep the money without turning it into the police first as per the law. But if after the mandated waiting period the bank fails to claim it then its not unethical as you went through the legal process to give the rightful owner a chance to claim it. I am not even talking about benefiting from it myself. It is likely to be data that never does me or those I love any good.

Who said their interests are not to be considered? Maybe they get a cut of the sales of the medicine or tech developed. I'd be ok with such a law. No one is justifying the crime. People are saying keep it a crime and punish those that committed it. What I am not ok with is people being told they have to die because the method of collection of the data is distasteful.

Finally, this is not like the fruit of the tainted tree at all. That legal concept takes unethical data and uses it to hurt someone IE put them in jail. This takes unethical data and uses it to save lives. Further, the people that gathered the data, the prosecution/police/state benefit from the data by getting the conviction they seek. Whereas in this case the person gathering the data does not. Two very different situations in my eyes.

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23 May 2018 23:31 #321935 by MadHatter
MadHatter replied the topic: The use of the data or technology gathered by unethical means

Senan wrote:

MadHatter wrote: Senan one interesting thing I am thinking here is that this seems similar to our stances on gun control and why we might not ever see eye to eye on the subject. Now please forgive me taking our nuanced discussions on that topic and oversimplifying the matter to a gross degree but tell me if I am wrong in seeing the following correlation between our views on that matter and this one:

You: Something is causing harm, that is unethical so we must divorce ourself from it as much as we are practically able.

Me: This caused harm but it can also save lives and to toss it out only furthers suffering of innocent third parties. We must not toss it.



To finalize my thoughts that I left out in other posts. The data itself is not good or bad. it's information that can be used to hurt or harm. Any harm being done by gaining it at the point we are discussing has been done. We cannot change that, the only thing we can do is punish those that hurt people getting it and prevent them from profiting from the information. However, after that has been done we have two choices. Toss the data out that could save lives. Or use the data to save lives. I do not see how causing further suffering or death that we have the power in our hands to stop is more ethical then tossing out data that is on its own morally neutral.



I see how you could make the comparison. It is more nuanced than that, but we do have a fundamental disagreement and that is okay. Recent events would demonstrate that the capacity for guns to save innocent lives has been far outweighed by the harm they are causing to the "innocent third parties". Victims of gun violence would argue that strict gun control would not cause further suffering, but actually prevent it in the first place.

The main point I wish to make here is that as Jedi, while we judge something as morally good or bad, we also need to consider if it is ethical or not. Sometimes we will choose the moral good even if it involves unethical action, and that is okay. Sometimes we will have to stand our ethical ground in order to demonstrate that our morals are highly valued and should not be swayed easily. Whatever we do, it is always a choice, and once we make that choice, we can't simply ignore the moral or ethical ramifications of it.


I'll leave the gun control stuff out of it but if you want the stats PM me.

Data is neither morally or ethically bad. The use or gathering of it can be. To use data we already have to save lives is morally and ethically good. To toss it out in my eyes is morally and ethically bad. The gathering of it in unethical ways is bad and we should punish those involved. But that does not make the data being used to save others unethical. And since once we have it we only have the choices of let people die or save them then Id say it would be less ethical to toss it.

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23 May 2018 23:41 #321938 by Senan
Senan replied the topic: The use of the data or technology gathered by unethical means

MadHatter wrote: It would be unethical to keep the money without turning it into the police first as per the law. But if after the mandated waiting period the bank fails to claim it then its not unethical as you went through the legal process to give the rightful owner a chance to claim it. I am not even talking about benefiting from it myself. It is likely to be data that never does me or those I love any good.


The initial argument is that this data, though illegally obtained, is useful to others and so should be used. There is no means to attempt to return that data to whom it was stolen from. The rightful owner (victim) can never be made whole in this case. Even if they are paid later, it doesn't change that a crime was committed against them without their consent in the first place.

MadHatter wrote: Who said their interests are not to be considered? Maybe they get a cut of the sales of the medicine or tech developed. I'd be ok with such a law. No one is justifying the crime. People are saying keep it a crime and punish those that committed it. What I am not ok with is people being told they have to die because the method of collection of the data is distasteful.


For Utilitarianism to work, the interest of all involved has to be considered before the action takes place, not after. As in, if harming this person to obtain critical data will save hundreds of other lives, is it worth doing? That question has to be asked before, not after. Once the harm is committed, any opportunity to claim that the action was ethical goes out the window. It is justifying the crime by paying reparations later, which is less preferable to preventing the crime in the first place.

MadHatter wrote: Finally, this is not like the fruit of the tainted tree at all. That legal concept takes unethical data and uses it to hurt someone IE put them in jail. This takes unethical data and uses it to save lives. Further, the people that gathered the data, the prosecution/police/state benefit from the data by getting the conviction they seek. Whereas in this case the person gathering the data does not. Two very different situations in my eyes.


But to put it in the same perspective of the previous arguments being made here, it should be acceptable to use evidence that is fruit of the tainted tree if it will put a murderer behind bars who might otherwise continue to harm or kill innocent people. The greater good, and all that. But that isn't how our legal system works. Once the evidence is tainted by improper procedure, it is thrown out. Period. There is no consideration as to whether the unethical collection of evidence is less evil than the person it is being used against. The prosecution is held to a higher standard because they must never break the law, no matter how beneficial it might be to society to do so. Once we allow moral ambiguity and start justifying unethical behavior for the greater good, the idea of "good" fundamentally changes.

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23 May 2018 23:49 #321940 by MadHatter
MadHatter replied the topic: The use of the data or technology gathered by unethical means
Senan I see now that we are approaching this from two different views. My view is its done so now what. Yours is a longer game and one that I more or less agree with in that light.

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24 May 2018 00:24 #321944 by kali_shey
kali_shey replied the topic: The use of the data or technology gathered by unethical means
This is a bit off-topic but I just have to say how nice it is to be around folks who can have a discussion or debate without it disintegrating into ad hominem attacks and insults. I feel very blessed to have found all of you, and I am excited to learn from everyone. <3

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24 May 2018 21:54 #321975 by Senan
Senan replied the topic: The use of the data or technology gathered by unethical means
True, Hatter. I'm looking at the big philosophical picture while you're looking at the specific benefit that could come from this situation. If I just look at this one case, it certainly seems a waste of good data/tech to make a point over. We should be helping people.

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