In the current era of industrialisation, business ethics have become a key issue for each organisation. As Kotkin, Hall, and Beaulier (2010) explain, ethics deals with moral guidelines and personal character that limit and direct individuals’ behaviour. It studies questions of moral responsibility, wrong and right, and obligation and duty. Many corporations encounter ethical dilemmas such as data privacy in their daily operations. Thus, according to Lee, Zankl, and Chang (2016), organisations must practice ethical decision-making when facing such data privacy ethical dilemmas. This is because exercising ethical decision-making assists companies in retaining a fair, supportive, and honest workplace culture. It also prevents organisations from facing legal problems or vital losses in the long run, as Lee, Zankl, and Chang (2016) denote. Thus, this report analyses data privacy as an organisational ethical dilemma. The paper will start by assessing and evaluating data privacy using ethical frameworks/theories while presenting vital ethical issues of data privacy and crucial stakeholders impacted by data privacy, considering relevant laws, and evaluating the arguments for/against each law. The paper will also discuss and evaluate my position concerning data privacy, develop a plan and review system to guarantee that ethical decisions are made when encountering similar dilemmas, and offer a conclusion concerning key ideas analysed.
Assessment and evaluation of data privacy using ethical frameworks/theories.
As Lee, Zankl, and Chang (2016) explain, data privacy relates to individuals’ rights over their data privacy and its responsible usage by corporations. It concerns the access, data gathering and usage, and the information subject’s lawful right to the information. At the same time, ethics refers to those duties that sometimes become the responsibility to follow, as Knoppers and Thorogood (2017) note. Data privacy is also involved with the charges if data privacy is breached. These charges include monetary fines imposed by officials, reparation payments in litigations like nonfulfillment with contractual ethics, loss of customer trust, and reputational damage (Lee, Zankl, and Chang, 2016). Data privacy ethical dilemma affects several key stakeholders, entailing customers, employees, and investors. Gathering customer information is a usual business activity these days. Several firms employ data to understand their consumers and offer a consumer experience that could inspire repeat business and loyalty. However, firms may encounter data privacy ethical dilemmas as to why and how the information is gathered, how it is secured when the firm stores them, and whether customers have control over how their data is utilised (Ritter, 2020). Due to technological advancements, corporations face several key ethical issues of data privacy. Such issues include unsuitable data usage, freedom from illegal access to personal information, and the privileges to inspect, correct, or update such information. Hand (2018) notes that inappropriate data usage is rising daily, and because of such circumstances, it becomes hard to adhere to ethics. Thus, such acts could distract trust, running the threat of losing or diluting security and hurting stakeholders impacted by the ethical issue.
This contrasts with the utilitarianism theory, which denotes that firms must forever act to generate the maximum possible balance of good over bad for everybody impacted by their actions, as West and Duignan (2022) explain. According to utilitarianism, an action is regarded as moral and ethical when it leads to the greatest of general happiness. In this theory, goodness could be defined as the absence of distress and the existence of happiness (West and Duignan, 2022). In other words, a company’s action is regarded as ethical and moral if it generates the maximum utility while lowering detrimental impacts for the greatest of individuals. However, using individuals’ data inappropriately is unethical according to utilitarianism since it generates discomfort and violates human rights (West and Duignan, 2022). Its results could also be detrimental to several stakeholders. Justifying this ethical dilemma in Kantian ethics theory, organisations must utilise data in a manner that is considered to be moral and ethical. As Dathe et al. (2022) assert, the Kantian categorical imperative recognises that a person must take an action, which its maxim is the individual’s goodwill to become a universal law. This implies that when organisations use consumers’ data, they must question if it is good for all. Nevertheless, it does not imply that the theory inspires firms to do wrong things; for instance, misusing consumers’ data is ethically wrong from the Kantian perspective, as Dathe et al. (2022) state. Thus, firms must use data in a way that is considered moral and ethical to avoid ethical dilemmas.
Relevant facts/risks/ laws/principles and a critical evaluation of the arguments for/against each law.
As Ritter (2020) denotes, relevant laws like the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) require organisations to embrace ethical data procedures. Thus, organisations in such areas are compelled to reveal every piece of information gathered concerning an individual upon that individual’s demand, entailing a full third parties list with whom the information is shared (Ritter, 2020). Furthermore, when customers request their information to be deleted, the organisation must abide by or encounter legal outcomes. As Bradford, Aboy, and Liddell (2020) argue, the CCPA generates a complement of customer digital confidentiality rights. Nevertheless, Viljoen (2021) claims that specific crucial exclusions and definitions in the CCPA generate considerable ambiguities about how the regulation could apply to particular operations and data types. For instance, conclusions depicted from other kinds of private data are regarded as private information, which implies that reporting operations using deductions to target a customer grounded on their attitudes, conduct, or likes, could fall underneath the safeguards of the regulations. Nonetheless, as Viljoen (2021) claims, such activities emanate from behavioural standards, which are grounded on total customer data utilised in generating reports that could deduce comparable things concerning a customer, but emanating from a general population insight, and hence, omitted from private data definition. Concerning the GDPR, firms cannot disregard cybersecurity issues, and thus, GDPR performs as a guide to attaining greater data security levels, as Hintze (2018) notes. However, it is not sufficient for firms to renew their internal guidelines to become biddable.
A discussion and evaluation of my position concerning data privacy
Data privacy is crucial since, for people to be ready to participate online, they must believe that their personal information will be tackled with care. As Singh (2019) notes, firms employ data security practices to show their users and consumers that they can trust them with their private information. Since data privacy impacts several vital stakeholders like consumers and employees, personal data must be kept and handled securely and safeguarded against illegal processing, damage, theft, and loss (Singh, 2019). This will result in the general well-being of every stakeholder involved and will be regarded as ethical and moral since according to the utilitarianism theory, an action is regarded as moral and ethical when it leads to the greatest of general happiness, as West and Duignan (2022) explain. Securing data privacy is complex and urgent. As Lee et al. (2016) explain, protection is vital due to the pervasiveness of information-intensive and technology-driven settings. Thus, firms must ensure that data privacy is protected and secured.
A plan and review system guarantees that ethical decisions are made when encountering similar dilemmas.
Whistleblowing could ensure that ethical decisions are made when facing ethical dilemmas. Banisar (2011) explains that whistleblowing denotes reporting by current or former workers of irregular, unlawful, unethical, or dangerous activities or procedures by managers. It is a worker’s act of notifying a particular government organisation or the public concerning the immoral or unlawful conduct of a company or employer that is unlawful, immoral, defies human rights, triggers unnecessary damage, and operates counter to a described institution’s purpose. As Banisar (2011) highlights, whistleblowing is ethical since it signifies an individual’s understanding at a deeper extent that an action undertaken by a company is dangerous since it disturbs individuals’ rights or is unjust, or weakens the general good. Moreover, it appeals to the virtues, particularly bravery since supporting principles could be a difficult experience. Thus, when consumers or any other stakeholder affected by ethical dilemmas notices wrongdoing, they could blow the whistle to enable the organisation to make ethical decisions. However, according to Sylvander (2019), whistleblowing is justified following a thorough evaluation of the danger and where there exist particular chances of prosperity.
Exercising ethical decision-making is vital, especially when facing an ethical dilemma like data privacy, as it assists companies in retaining a fair, supportive, and honest workplace culture. It also prevents organisations from facing legal problems or substantial losses in the long run. This paper has analysed data privacy as an organisational ethical dilemma. Data privacy ethical dilemma affects several crucial stakeholders, entailing customers, employees, and investors. Due to technological advancements, corporations face several key ethical issues of data privacy, such as unsuitable data usage, making it hard to adhere to ethics. As a result, many stakeholders affected by data privacy are hurt, which is against ethical theories like utilitarianism which states that an action is regarded as moral and ethical when it leads to the greatest of general happiness. Thus, several laws like the CCPA and the GDPR require organisations to embrace ethical data procedures. Therefore, personal data must be kept and handled securely and safeguarded against illegal processing, damage, theft, and loss. This will result in the general well-being of every stakeholder involved and will be regarded as ethical and moral. Organisations could embrace whistleblowing to guarantee that ethical decisions are made when encountering ethical dilemmas. This could allow the affected individuals to notify the public of the immoral conduct of the company, forcing it to make ethical decisions.
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