The question of ethics has come to the forefront in technological issues in recent years. We are a country with advanced technological capabilities, and we are in some areas constrained only by our own ethical sense of what is right and wrong. Unfortunately, the issue of where to draw the line has become painfully difficult in a society awash in the murky confusion of situational ethics. The absolutes of clear right and wrong are no longer upheld in many `renas of modern life, making ethical decisions problematical, especially with regard to technologyùan arena that has grown much faster than our attempt to regulate it. We can already do many things that we know are wrong, and many more that we are not sure about.
One of the most compelling events to summon ethics questions was the attack of 9/11. Being attacked on native soil was the greatest threat America has sustained in hundreds of years. What is the right response to such an attack? Santa Clara UniversityÆs ethics publication, Outlook, asks these questions: ôWhat does due process look like in fighting terrorists? How far should the circle of suspicion be drawn, and are there limits to the rights of citizens suspected of terrorist connections? What about non-citizens?ö (1).
Is the government ethically right to wiretap private citizensÆ conversations? We have the technology to do that. We have the technology to invade the lives of private citizens via the internet, over the telephone, through credit cards and ATM cards. We can spy on their food preferences, their shopping habits, and their medical records. We can actually ôwatchö a person move through his day by watching his credit card activity. However, just because technology enables us to do things, we cannot assume that doing them is right.
Another issue that received heightened attention during the Presidential election is the sanctity of life. We have the technology to clone human beings in test...