The benevolent health worm : Comparing western human rights-based ethics and confucian duty-based moral philosophy [Book Review]

Ethics and Information Technology 10 (1):11-25 (2008)
Abstract
Censorship in the area of public health has become increasingly important in many parts of the world for a number of reasons. Groups with vested interest in public health policy are motivated to censor material. As governments, corporations, and organizations champion competing visions of public health issues, the more incentive there may be to censor. This is true in a number of circumstances: curtailing access to information regarding the health and welfare of soldiers in the Kuwait and Iraq wars, poor health conditions in Aboriginal communities, downplaying epidemics to bolster economies, and so forth. This paper will look at the use of a computer worm (the benevolent health worm) to disseminate vital information in␣situations where public health is threatened by government censorship and where there is great risk for those who ‹speak out’. The discussion of the benevolent health worm is focused on the Peoples’ Republic of China (China) drawing on three public health crises: HIV/AIDS, SARS and Avian Influenza. Ethical issues are examined first in a general fashion and then in a specific manner which uses the duty-based moral philosophy of Confucianism and a Western human rights-based analysis. Technical, political and legal issues will also be examined to the extent that they better inform the ethical debate
Keywords Confucius   Internet   access to information   censorship   computer worms   freedom of expression   hacker   human rights   illegal technology   malware   moral philosophy   public health   virus
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