Ethical Issues Essay Sample

Ethical Issues

Ethical Issues Facing American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society (ACS) had faced several ethical issues since it was founded in 1913. The first ethical issue is an employment dilemma in the organization. The background and the reason why this problem exists are because ACS is a non-profit organization, where most of the staff constitutes volunteers. However, in the past few decades, the organization has been practicing hiring regular employees who received salary.

The major ethical problem is that there have been many cases of the employees complaining about being underappreciated and insecure. Benefits and promotions are often based on whom you know while the top level management pay themselves huge salaries (Mann, 2011). Vernon Hill, a "Relay for Life" volunteer, who had raised over $900,000 for the ACS, resigned from the organization after an internet research he conducted. It showed that ACS high ranking officers were making more than a million dollars per year with additional benefits like lucrative pensions and having a company car. Vernon also realized that a very small percentage of the funds donated goes to an actual cancer research (Ethics Resource Center, 2011).  The way to solve this problem would be implementing policy statements that would promote good benefits and strong values to the employees. The ACS should also grant good working environment to the staff that have a burden of cancer.

Another ethical issue is donors' interests' conflict. The background of this problem dates back to 1970s until late 2000s, when most of the ACS funds came from the high-profile fund raising campaigns (such as Road to Recovery) and public donations. However, in the recent years there has been a shift with an increased involvement of the large corporations in financing. Currently, the largest part of the ACS budget comes from large corporations, including the chemical industries, pharmaceutical and fast food industries (Vatsa et al, 2010).

A close look at the ACS establishment shows that the first board of the trustee members included the CEOs of Amgen Inc., the biotech giant company and the president of Lederle Laboratories/American Cyanmid. The foundation`s board composition is a sheer manifestation of the reality of selfishness at work by the ACS big donors. For example, the success of Amgen is largely associated with its product marketing called Neupogen (Mann, 2011). This drug is the one administered to chemotherapy patients to help them to stimulate white blood cells' production. This means that with the increase of cancer epidemic the Neupogen sale also boosts.

Application of Utilitarianism Theory would be a good way of solving this problem. Utilitarianism Theory also referred to as the Theory of Consequence, which defines acceptable ethical conduct that promote utility in totality or the common good for a maximum number of individuals. Universalism is one of the theses of Utilitarianism; it states that the consequences considered are the ones by which maximum number of people are affected (Ethics Resource Center, 2011).  ACS has had numerous ties with the influence and donations of chemical industries, which does not benefit the majority of stakeholders. By the application of this theory, most people would be affected positively.

An ACS boycott would be an effective solution that would force a reformation.  This can be done when organizations and individuals do the following:

  1. Boycott all ACS events.
  2. Resign their donations and give the ACS written reasons for doing so.
  3. Join and donate to organizations that are genuinely concerned about cancer prevention.

This would stop immoderate money wastage and efforts for those who take part in these problems.

Ethical and Security Issues Facing eBay

One of the most common ethical issues that affect eBay is the products' sale that is associated with ethical questions in terms of their authenticity. There are many cases with not genuine products being auctioned at eBay that ranges from placing auctions for the aircraft parts after air disaster to Holocaust memorabilia faulty products. The reason why this problem exists is because the company has no effective way of distinguishing authentic products from those that are not genuine (Vatsa et al, 2010). The solution to this problem is protecting copyrights of e-business industry and ensuring that the law is one step ahead of the upcoming reality so that it is easy to distinguish between legal and illegal things.

There is another major ethical issue that relates to information rights on eBay. This is a major ethical and security issue that leads to online fraud. Cases of scams, criminals' hacking into the website, and marketing fake products are not new on eBay. There have also been reports of the criminals hacking into merchants' databases and obtaining credit cardholders' details. Successful hackers attack enables cybercriminals to conduct fake business transactions and to steal somebody's money. Moreover, such people can gain access to owners private information or their selling details and turned it into the underground digital economy. This is the problem that has negatively impacted on the eBay online business and aroused fear among customers about the safety issues of revealing their private information while conducting business with the company.

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SQL injection is an example of a tactics that hackers use to gain access to user personal and financial information. In this tactics, the hackers insert SQL query data into eBay’s user input fields where the website’s database processes it. For example, a successful execution of the queries in PayPal’s website may provide criminals with the access to the user’s credit card information stored in the website server so that they can easily alter all data available. On March 2009, a duo from Arizona was reported to have cashed out bank accounts of over 500 bidders for more than $100,000. They have never been caught. Robert Beck, an engineer by profession, was one of the victims of a scam. He entered the highest bid for a hi-tech speaker system for $1,800. Beck had paid for the product using his credit card and waited for the delivery of his eBay purchase that never arrived (Paul, 2008).

In addition, there have been many cases of some e-commerce websites profiling the customer’s behavior using cookies; issues many people feel an intrusion on their privacy. There are also cases of eBay customers receiving illegal spam from spammers who illegally harvested their email addresses. This is an issue that has undermined the eBay credibility as the customers are often unable to distinguish the authentic emails requesting information from the fake ones. A research group from George Mason University explored whether PayPal system, which is eBay payment system, is spam proof (Mann, 2011). The researchers successfully sent an authentic email without any trouble but were surprised by how vulnerable eBay is to spoofing by simply getting the following feedback ‘Please refer to the security section’.

The measures to minimize this problem include compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) and some compliance standards for the online companies and retailers. The PCI standards were developed when five different debit and credit card brands' providers met and formulated them. These five providers were American Express, Visa International, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide and Discover Financial Services. Some of the requirements drafted in the PCI standard that eBay should comply with to solve this problem include:

  • Building and maintaining secure online merchants' networks
  • Protecting cardholders' personal information
  • Maintaining susceptible management systems
  • Implementing powerful access control methods
  • Regular monitoring and testing online networks
  • Maintaining  private information security policies

In addition to the requirements mentioned above, eBay cards customers, who use credit cards for payments, can apply the following measures (that are not necessarily recorded in the PCI standards) to protect their private information from frauds. These include:

  • Ignoring emails or pop-up messages especially with the request for personal or financial information.
  • Using lock icon to guard their online transaction security or ensuring that the letter “s” is present in “https” when transacting on eBay.
  • Using account authorizations.
  • Limiting their eBay transactions to trusted merchants or verifying untrusted merchants with the help of The Federal Trade Commission or Better Business Bureau.

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