When you get online what is the first thing you do on the Internet? Most usually check their email and possibly get on Facebook a bit before getting into their real work that needs to be done. However, the Internet can now be used for much more powerful things. We all use billions of different websites for thousands of different reasons. One such reason is research. The type of "research" I'm talking about is on one's neighborhood and the people who live in it. This type of research is to insure safety.
Although it can be argued that putting criminals' information on the Internet is a violation of privacy, it is perfectly ethical and legal criminal's personal information to be revealed to the public and for website creators to regulate their sites that reveal said personal records. Imagine for a moment that you and your family live in the quite town of Omaha, Nebraska. From the friendly Midwest, no one would ever suspect such an alarming rate of danger. It is now possible for anyone to go online and see the potential danger lurking in their neighborhood. There exists a website that reveals the locations of sex offenders in your area.
This website shows where they live, where they work, what type of sexual crime was committed, and it could even provide a picture of the offender. Imagine what kind of power this knowledge gives you. Thank goodness you are now aware (see images at end of document)! But what about the offenders and their privacy? Try to think what it would be like if the situation were reversed. Now imagine you were urinating in public, didn't realize a child was nearby and are now registered as a sex offender. Would you feel comfortable with anyone being able to go online and see this information?
The over charging of sex offenders happens frequently, especially with the emergence of cell phones and sexting. Eighteen year olds and fifteen year olds are frequently in relationship, however this is dangerous legally because eighteen year olds are considered adults. When nude pictures through texting by underage people, it's considered child pornography. Lawyers and Legislators considering the child pornography laws to be too blunt (Tamar), but as it stands now, an eighteen year old could be charged with being a sex offender if he exchanges nude pictures with his underage girlfriend or shares her nude picture with others.
Charges like these are far from what child pornography laws are intended for. Now anyone is able to easily navigate through the Internet to reveal your home address, where you work, and your mug shot. Is this a violation of your privacy, or is denying this information interfering with residences' right to happiness? This is where the problem of cyberethics comes in. Although one party may have rights that need to be meet, such as privacy, another party may also have rights that need to be met, such as the right to information in order to secure safety.
The criminals' privacy must be met and so all of their personal information cannot be revealed to the public, but the people living in the community have the right to know this information that is secure in order to protect themselves and their families. Because the disclosure of information happens on the web, that is where the dispute must be settled. Cyber law is consulted in order to know when it is lawful for people to reveal specific information to certain parties via the Internet. Laws are formal and apply to everyone, even those unseen behind webpages.
Cyberethics though is different in that ethics is not dependent on law; it is based on morality and social norms. This is a case of cyberethics, however I would argue that the law is heavily sway by ethics, therefore I will use both to make my argument. I must preface this paper by stating that throughout it, I am assuming that privacy and the option to have it is a good thing. We should be in favor of privacy and then have ways to allow people to decide for themselves how and when the presumption that "privacy is good" should be overridden (Langford, 89). Privacy is not intrinsic, but it is essential for a successfully functioning society.