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ICT710 ICT Professional Practice: Scandal of Cambridge Analytica Assessment 2 Answer

ICT710 ICT Professional Practice & Ethics

Task 2

2019 ATMC Semester 1

Assessment and Submission Details

Marks: 35% of the Total Assessment for the Course

Refer to the assignment rubric on Blackboard for the marking criteria and standards. The assignment will be marked out of a total of 100 marks.

Refer to your course outline or the course Blackboard web site for a copy of the “Student Misconduct, Plagiarism and Collusion” guidelines.

Note: Each student MUST retain a copy of the assignment and this copy MUST be produced within 24 hours of it being requested by the Course Coordinator. Failure to produce the second copy of the assignment when requested may result in loss of marks or a fail grade for the assignment.

Requests for an extension to an assignment MUST be made to the Course Coordinator prior to the date of submission and requests made on the day of submission or after the submission date will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Case: Cambridge Analytica

Background:

Recently it was uncovered that a company, Cambridge Analytica, had provided information to President Trump’s presidential campaign that would allow targeted Facebook political posts to influence peoples voting intentions. They gathered personal information through a quiz which required a Facebook login to complete, and 270,000 people took the quiz. As part of the Facebook log in these people gave permission for Cambridge Analytica to gather their personal data and their friends’ personal data. This meant that they had access to 8,700,000 or almost a quarter of Facebook users in USA.

Watch the ‘Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower’ video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXdYSQ6nu-M

Read some details about the Cambridge Analytica scandal here: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/21/facebook-cambridge-analytica-scandal-everything-you-need- to-know.html

There is limited information available to you now, hence you are required to further explore the case.

Assignment Requirements and Deliverables

You are required to write a report (2500 words) that should include the following details in the main body of the report. Please note standard report structure including an executive summary, introduction and conclusions in addition to the main body must be adhered to.

  • Background to the case study
  • Analysis of the situation using the “Doing Ethics Technique” (following)
  • Analysis of the situation from the point of view of an ICT Professional using the ACS Code of Ethics.
  • Conclusions to bring together the two analyses and presents overall recommendations

Doing Ethics Technique – Hints and Tips

The 'Doing Ethics' technique is a process for analysing ethical issues in any scenario. It doesn't guarantee that what you come up with will be the best solution, but it does help you to think ethically. The technique may seem a little vague and perhaps lacking guidance, however the following might help you to understand how to apply the technique to better understand ethical analysis.

Q1. What's going on?

This is a synopsis of what the case is all about. It can be taken from a variety of perspectives, for example, from the perspective of a person raising a complaint, in which case, it is a synopsis of the complaint. It can be taken from the perspective of an involved observer, in which case, it is an outline of what was observed, without going into too much detail.

Where you see multiple perspectives, you should describe them here.


Q2. What are the facts?

This is a descriptive list of the facts of the case. This doesn't just describe the case; it lists the facts as they are known (from all sources and perspectives), and also what one might reasonably consider to be possibilities. For example, if a person was raising a complaint, Question 1 would outline their complaint, and Question 2 would provide the evidence to both support and refute that argument. All such facts must be demonstrable or supportable. It would be worthwhile to assign a credibility weighting to each fact, to help with later analysis.


Q3. What are the issues?

This is a list of ALL the issues that are involved in the case. In Question 5 we can extract only the ethical issues for further analysis, but for now, simply extract and describe every relevant issue you can think of.


Q4. Who is affected?

This is a list of all the stakeholders involved in the case. This need not be restricted to the ones specifically mentioned in the case; you should consider who/what else might be affected by the issues listed at Question 3, regardless of the degree to which they are affected. In this question, you should describe how each stakeholder is affected, both positively and negatively, and perhaps comment on the degree of effect.


Q5. What are the ethical issues and implications?

For this question, you need to extract only the ethical issues identified at Question 3. List the ethical issues, discuss them in terms of classical ethical theory (as best you can), and discuss their implications - on the stakeholders and on the community in general.


Q6. What can be done about it?

This question elicits a general idea of what can be done to resolve the case, whether those ideas are practical, possible, or not. Generally what kind of resolutions might there be? You need not go into great detail to answer this question, as its purpose is to provide a basis for answering Question 7, but you do need to think broadly and laterally to come up with several alternatives.


Q7. What are the options?

This question requires that you list and describe (in detail) all the possible options that might be available to resolve the case. Be creative here; the most obvious options are not always the best. It's possible that not all options will result in a positive outcome for all stakeholders. List and describe at least three different options and discuss the benefits and detriments of each.


Q8. Which option is best - and why?

In answering this question, you need to assess which of the options described in Question 7 is the best. You are recommending one of several options here, so you need to argue for your recommendation, providing a solid basis in fact and reasonable (and supportable) conjecture. You should add some of your own intellectual property, as an ICT professional, into answering this question. Supporting your argument based on classical ethical theory is not a requirement at this point, but it is what would be expected if you were a professional Ethicist.

Relevant Resources

Australian Computing Society (ACS) Ethics:

Answer

ICT Professional Practice & Ethics

Background of the Case Study:

This assignment discusses the case of the Cambridge Analytica company. Cambridge AnalyticaCompany was a British political consulting firm. This case study discusses the scandal incident of the Cambridge Analytica (CNBC. 2019). The scandal was that Cambridge Analytica was involved with the undercover sting operation. The company had provided information to the presidential campaign of the president Trump; the most targeted section is the Facebook political post that helps to influences the people with the intention of voting. Cambridge Analytica was involved with the undergoing sting operation (Acs.org.au. 2019). It was evident that the senior executive of the Cambridge Analytica boasting this operation that includes entrapment techniques, psychological manipulation, and fake news campaign. Alongside the involvement of the Facebook, social media giant, the London based election consultancy is involved in this dispute. Britain's channel 4 news alleged that they use personal data. The Cambridge Analytica company gathered the personal information of the people through presenting a quiz with the help of Facebook. 270000 people take part in this quiz by login in their Facebook account to complete the quiz.The people who logged in with their Facebook to complete the quiz, they gave permission to the Cambridge Analytica company to access their personal data and also access their friend's personal data. It means that the company had permission to access the 8700000 Facebook user’s account to gather their personal data (CNBC. 2019).Britain’s channel 4 news has explored the video about the undercover operationof senior executive and CEO Alexander Nix of the Cambridge Analytica firm. The video showed that they suggesting the firm Cambridge Analytica could use bribes, sex workers, and misinformation to help the political leaders for winning the votes across the world. The Cambridge Analytica firm has claimed that they never had an intention to help the political leaders for winning the vote. The Channel 4 news investigated the entire incident and published an article on UK newspaper and Newyork Times. The report or article outlines the information that how the data of the facebook users were transferred to the Cambridge Analytica company. Academic AleksandrKogan's global science research company launched an app named “thisisyourdigitallife”. The users paid and take apart on the psychological test of the app and the app “thisisyourdigitallife” collected the data from this test (WIRED. 2019). According to the article, the app also gathered the data of the user’s friends on Facebook.Kogan then shares the data with the Cambridge Analytica firm. It helps to build psychographic profiles of Facebook users and delivers the online material about the tramp campaign to influences the people for voting and choices in the election process. Cambridge Analytica denied this claim. The CEO of Facebook claimed that the Kogan violated Facebook policies and transferred the data to the Cambridge Analytica company. Facebook banned the app “thisisyourdigitallife” in 2015 and ordered other companies to destroy the personal information of Facebook users (CNBC. 2019).The CEO of Facebook also stated that they vigorously enforcing the Facebook policies to protect the information of Facebook users and also take steps to avoid theseunethical issues. After investigation of the European Parliament, the CEO of the company Alexendar Nix was suspended.Facebook banned Cambridge Analytica and Kogan's company.The assignment uses the doing ethic techniques and ACS codes of ethics to analyze the information.

Analysis of the situation using the doing ethics techniques:

This section analyzes the scandal incident of the Cambridge Analytica company by using the Doing Ethics Technique. Doing Ethic Techniques helps to find the non-ethical and ethical issues related to the given situation.

The Cambridge Analyticacompany was involved with the undercover sting operation. The media alleged that alongside the involvement of the facebook, the Cambridge Analytica film also involved in this dispute that they harvesting the personal data and use the personal data of the Facebook users through involving them in a quiz (WIRED. 2019). From the perspective of the media, the media represent evidenceabout the scandal of senior executive and CEO Alexander nix, the media provides video footage where the senior executive and the CEO of the company boasting about fake news campaign, psychological manipulation and entrapment techniques to help the political leaders to win votes (CNBC. 2019). The channel 4 news published an article on the UK newspaper and New York Times, the AleksandrKogan’s company global science research created an app to gather the personal information of the people named “thisisyourdigitallife” through the psychological test and then shares the personal data with the Cambridge Analytica company (Nielsen, 2016). Form the aspect of the company, the Cambridge Analytica denied this allegation of the media. From the perspective of Facebook, Kogan’s app violated Facebook policies without any concern because Facebook uses open graph techniques that help the other parties to collect the data of the user. After the proper investigation, the CEO of Facebook apologized for that major scandal and then committed that facebooktakes proper steps to avoid this situation in the future.

The fact of the entire scandal incidents are:

  1. The Cambridge Analytica firm involved in the undercover sting operation. Britain’s channel 4 news provides proper evidence about the scandal of the company (WIRED. 2019). The channel 4 news alleged that the CEO of the company and senior executive of the company suggesting the Cambridge Analytica use bribes, sex workers and misinformation to provides support the political leaders to win votes across the world. Channel 4 news provides proper video footage to the European Parliament to investigate the case. 
  2. The federal trade commission of the UK Committee investigate the handling data policies of Facebook and claimed that the open graph techniques are the main reason for creating this major data mining issues. Because facebooklaunches the new open graph techniques that allow the apps of the third parties to access the data of Facebook users (Burmeister, 2017). These third parties app send a request to the user to access their name, location, gender, time zone and more. It helps to gather the personal data of the Facebook user and their friends.
  3. The AleksandrKogan's global science research company launches an app named “thisisyourdigitallife” (CNBC. 2019). This app takes a psychological test to gather the personal information of the Facebook user and their friends. Then Kogan shares the data with Cambridge Analytical to develop psychographic profiles of the Facebook user and delivers messages about the campaign of the political leader trump (Nielsen, 2016). It indirectly supports the Bexit vote and Trump’s election vote. The Channel 4 news published the report after proper investigation and outlined these issues.

The following ethical and non-ethical issues are involved in this case:

  1. The Cambridge Analytical Firm and facebook both companies deny the undercover sting operation’s issues (Burmeister, 2017). They both deny that they are not harvesting and use the personal data of the user. 
  2. The Cambridge Analytical Firmwas involved in the dispute case of harvesting the personal data and used the personal data of the user.
  3. The media claimed that Cambridge Analytical Firm’s senior executive and CEO suggesting the company to use bribes, sex workers and misinformation to help the political leader for winning the election. 
  4. The media claimed that AleksandrKogan’s global science research company launched an appto collect personal data of the Facebook user (Leicester, 2016). They started a psychological test and access the data of the user and their friends. Kogan shares the data with the Cambridge Analytical firm.
  5. The media claimed that the Cambridge Analytical firm developed a psychographic profile and delivers information about the trump’s political campaign. It helps to influences the people for Brexit vote and U.S presidential election.
  6. The social media giant Facebook claimed that Kogan’s app violated Facebook policies without any concern by using open graph techniques to gather the personal data of Facebook users (Leicester, 2016).
  7. The Channel 4 news claimed that the campaign of Donald Trump hires the Cambridge Analytical company to influences the people for voting.

The 50 million Facebook profiles are affected due to this scandal. The facebook lost its market value around $50billion after the scandal (CNBC. 2019). The Kogan’s app and Cambridge Analytical firm violated the Facebook policies and used the personal data of the Facebook user, delivers them pro trump material and influences the people for voting.

The following ethical issues are involved in this case:

  1. The Cambridge Analytical Firm was involved in the dispute case of harvesting the personal data and used the personal data of the user.
  2. The media claimed that the Cambridge Analytical firm developed a psychographic profile and delivers information about Trump's political campaign (Leicester, 2016). It helps to influences the people for Brexit vote and U.S presidential election.
  3. The social media giant Facebook claimed that Kogan’s app violated Facebook policies without any concern by using open graph techniques to gather the personal data of Facebook users (Warren and Burmeister, 2017).

From the perspective of the classical ethical theory of the Utilitarianism, it is stated that the act of the company that provides the greatest benefits to the people and the rules and regulation of the company must be ethically presented infront of the people that concerned with the fairness of the laws. Facebook does not focus on the classical ethical theory of the business to provide proper security to the Facebook user (Warren and Burmeister, 2017). The Cambridge Analytical Firm and Kogan's global science research company violated the business ethics breaking the rules of the Facebook policies and use the personal data of the Facebook user for their own interest.

To resolve the case, Facebook can vigorously enforce the Facebook policies that help in protecting the personal information of Facebook users (CNBC. 2019).CEO of Facebook can involve different policies to improve the data handling process of Facebook.Facebook must aware of business ethics to provide proper security to the user of Facebook.

Following options help in resolving the case:

  1. To avoid the ethical issues Facebook can improve its handling of data policies to provide proper security to the user.
  2. Facebook can launch its open graph techniques which do not allow the third parties to access the personal information of the Facebook users.
  3. Facebook can involve more security policies to use the platform of Facebook for future business (Warren and Burmeister, 2017). it helps to protect the information of the people and decreases the percentage of the illegal activities that includes sharing the personal information of the Facebook user.
  4. The people must be aware of their action at the time of using third-party apps through the Facebook platform.

The best options to avoid ethical issues are Facebookmust improve its handling of data policies and security policies to provide proper security to the user based on the classical ethical theory of the Utilitarianism. 

Analysis of the Situation from the point of view of an ICT Professional using the ACS Code of Ethics

From point of view of an ICT Professional using the ACS Code of Ethics, the ACS code of the ethics helps to enhance the honour, effectiveness, and dignity of the company.

The Enhancement of the Quality of Life is one of the ACS Code of Ethics. The development of this ACS Code of Ethics, ICT creates a significant impact on society. An ethical approach helps to identify the adverse effects and minimize the rate of the adverse effects. The Enhancement of the Quality of Life promotes a healthy and safe life for the end user. According to the Case study, the 50 million Facebook profiles are affected due to this scandal (Nielsen, 2016). The Facebook lost its market value around $50billion after the scandal.However, Enhancement of the Quality of Life, This ACS Code of Business Ethics helps to improve the policies of the company that involves in providing proper security to the Facebook user, reduces thepercentage of illegal issues, and protects the personal data of the Facebook user (Ilic and Ogilvie, 2017). It helps in avoiding further illegal issues.

Honesty is another ACS Code of Ethics for the company. It helps increating trust among the stakeholders. Integrity and utmost honesty are the main factors of business ethics. The development of this ACS Code of Ethics, ICT creates a significant impact on society (Acs.org.au. 2019). It helps to reject the offer of the bribery, not mislead the user or customer and provides the proper security. It helps to improve business policies to enhance the company’s own reputation (Burmeister, 2017). According to the case study, theFacebook lost its market value around $50billion after the data mining scandal, Facebook can improve their business policies based on this ACS Code of Ethics from the point of view of an ICT Professional. It helps to make a trusted relationship between the authorities and Facebook user.

According to the Case study, The Cambridge Analytica firm and Kogan's global science research company does not maintain any business ethics. They only focus on their own business, to generate more profit from the business. Moreover, they involved in the undercover sting operation and the media of the UK alleged that they harvesting the personal data and use the personal informationof the people by using the Facebook platform to deliver the pro-trump material to influences the people for voting (Ilic and Ogilvie, 2017).They break the honesty and trust-based relationship with the people.

Therefore, it is identified that the implementation of the ACS code of the ethics in business according to this case study, the honesty and the Enhancement of the Quality of Life are the most significant ACS values to improve the policies of the company to prevent further illegal issues (Warren and Burmeister, 2017). It helps to provide security to the user. It helps to enhance the data handlingand security policy of Facebook.

Conclusion and recommendation:

After analyzing the case study of the scandal incident of Cambridge Analytica, it is concluded that The Cambridge Analytica firm does not maintain any business ethics to improve the moral obligation among the employees. They constantly harvesting personal data and use the personal data of the people to create their psychographic profile. Then they deliver messages about Trump’s political campaign and influences them for voting which is a totally illegal offence of the company.The Cambridge Analytica does not develop itsrules by using the ACS Code of Ethics that helps them to maintain business ethics. The Cambridge Analytica and Kogan’s company both deny the allegation and said that everythingthe company did was legal because they have a close relationship with Facebook. Facebook authority denies that transferring personal data of the people was a breach. It poses a threatto the freedom and wellbeing of the individual Facebook user. Facebook stated that Facebook expected valuable service from the third party apps handling company.

After analyzing the situation it is recommended that:

  1. The company must develop its security policies and data handling policies to protect people’s information.The company must develop its open graph techniques during tie up with the other third-party company's app.According to the case study, Facebook must provide them with limited access to the personal data of Facebook users. 
  2. The company must develop its business ethics based on the ACS code of the ethics and classical ethical theory of the Utilitarianism. It helps to improve the services of the company.
  3. The company must focus on the users and their personal data. The transferring of personal data of the people breaks the trust of the user and hamper the quality of the life of the customer. The company must focus on the customer to give them proper services which help to enhance their quality of life and make a trust-based relationship.
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