Keep up with ethics-related stories appearing in the news.
Below are stories collected from news sources around the web relating to ethics. Click on the links provided to read the stories in full.
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nb. Links to new stories are generally to external websites. St James Ethics Centre is not responsible for the content on these sites. Some links may become invalid over time and this is beyond our control.
Sustainable supply chains: why placing ethics over profits pays off
29 August 2013 - The Guardian
The race to be ethical used to be clearly led by "born-green companies" - organisations that from day one prioritised corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their supply chains.
Lush, the UK-based handmade cosmetics firm, is one such company. Founded in 1995, it now has over 800 stores worldwide, uses factories in more than 40 countries and saw sales of £321m in 2010/...
Twitter, paywalls, and access to scholarship — are license agreements too restrictive?
27 August 2013 - Practical Ethics
Twitter, paywalls, and access to scholarship — are license agreements too restrictive?
I think I may have done something unethical today. But I’m not quite sure, dear reader, so I’m enlisting your energy to help me think things through. Here’s the short story:
Someone posted a link to an interesting-looking article by Caroline Williams at New Scientist...
Marketer Advising Coke, Microsoft Questions Ethics Of Widespread Web Tracking
26 August 2013 - Forbes
Imagine this scenario: You walk into a store at a mall and then leave. A store employee follows you out the door, pen and pad in hand, and jots down where you go next. Perhaps the clerk notes that you have gone to a rival store and are in the swimwear section. After you leave that store, the original employee follows you and a new clerk from the second store also begins to trail you.
Bring back ethics to economics
25 August 2013 - Buenos Aires Herald
Author of 56 books, Bernardo Kliksberg is recognized around the world as the founder of social management and the pioneer of development ethics. Kliksberg is currently the Special Adviser to the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Bureau for Political Development and heads the Ibero-American Network of Universities for Corporate Social Responsibility. He also created and...
The tragedy of medical ethics
24 August 2013 - Health Policy Solutions
The difficulty of medical ethics and culture is that it allows, indeed it makes morally obligatory, practices and behaviors that increase health care spending without regard to other public priorities that get crowded out by the incessant demands of health care.
To the extent medical ethics drive resource use, they do not give adequate moral guidance to the larger distributional...
Do Female CEOs Behave More Ethically?
23 August 2013 - The Daily Beast
Yes, women have had their share of political sex scandals, including those of Congresswoman Sue Myrick and former Congressional candidate Krystal Ball. But women's scandals seem limited to long-term affairs with married men or the occasional "racy" Halloween costume—there's a distinct lack of Carlos Dangers, illegitimate children with longtime housekeepers and chasing...
The Ethics of Interstellar Alien Encounters
22 August 2013 - Discovery
During the Starship Congress last week in Dallas, Texas, discussions focused on the myriad of topics associated with humans pushing into space and, ultimately, becoming an interstellar civilization. It quickly became apparent that if you think on a large enough scale, over a vast enough time frame, pushing humanity deeper into the galaxy is not a sci-fi notion, it’s an evolutionary...
New Race Discrimination Commission to tackle cyber racism
19 August 2013 - Radio National
Dr Tim Soutphommasane is a 30-year-old first generation Australian, whose parents fled Laos in the mid-1970s, he grew up in south west Sydney.
He'll now spearhead the nation's response to racism and discrimination and he's keen to craft strategies to help eliminate casual bigotry and cyber racism.
Speaker:Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Australia...
Human experimentation and ethics at Essendon Football Club
15 August 2013 - The Conversation
The news that the AFL has charged James Hird, and other members of the Essendon Football Club’s management staff (including the club doctor, Bruce Reid) with bringing the sport into disrepute should surprise no-one.
Despite Hird’s protestations, this was always the most likely outcome. Essendon captain Jobe Watson’s revelations that he had been injected with the banned...
Ethics of Care: Guiding the Treatment of Dementia in the 21st Century
14 August 2013 - Huffington Post
The United States is on the precipice of an overwhelming public health challenge. Assisted living is home to almost 1 million seniors already; as the baby boomer generation continues to move from middle age into their retirement years, the number will surely grow. The U.S. Administration on Aging predicts that by 2030, there will be about 72.1 million Americans over 60 years old.
Would you hand over a moral decision to a machine? Why not? Moral outsourcing and Artificial Intelligence.
9 August 2013 - Practical Ethics
Recent developments in artificial intelligence are allowing an increasing number of decisions to be passed from human to machine. Most of these to date are operational decisions – such as algorithms on the financial markets deciding what trades to make and how. However, the range of such decisions that can be computerisable are increasing, and as many operational decisions have moral...
The ethics of lunar mining
8 August 2013 - Radio National
As we deplete our energy resources on Earth, mining the Moon for precious minerals is becoming a tempting alternative. Researchers believe lunar mining will begin in less than 10 years. But given the damage mining has done on our planet, how do you feel about our 'Harvest Moon' becoming a mined Moon?
These days, the idea of buying land for USD 20 an acre is a welcome one....
Navigating the ethics maze
5 August 2013 - UCLA Today
An infant is born prematurely at 22 weeks, weighing only about one pound and with bleeding in the brain. He tentatively clings to life, but in light of the fact that there is minimal likelihood he will recover a level of functional mental capacity, one question looms: How aggressively should he be treated?
Elsewhere in the hospital, a grief-torn family hopes for a miracle and presses...
Questions of goodness raise quite a few ethical dilemmas
8 August 2013 - The Sydney Morning Herald
Would you rather your child was good or smart? (And no, you cannot say both.)
Even Michael Parker, a teacher, parent of two young girls and author of two ethics books for 10- to 15-year-olds, hesitates a half beat before responding ''good'' - and it is a question he has asked and has answered many times.
Mr Parker, the deputy headmaster of Cranbrook School, has...
Industry Thought Leaders Discuss Ethics and the Diamond Pipeline
7 August 2013 - Rapaport
The importance of encouraging diamond source responsibility and the best ways to inspire ethical behavior in the jewelry industry was debated at "Living Up To Diamonds," a discussion panel by the Jewelers of America (JA) at the JA New York summer show on July 29. The U.S. Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs, Jose W. Fernandez, started the session by...
Zimbabwe: Ethics Enhance Competitiveness
6 August 2013 - allAfrica
THE expansion of the global economy demands businesses to adapt to global standards in order to remain competitive.
The business case for ethics is built on this global paradigm, and business ethics is clearly assuming a strategic role as firms seek to remain competitive in the expanding global economy.
Ethics is the new competitive advantage on the international marketplace....
To Count Our Days: The Scientific and Ethical Dimensions of Radical Life Extension
6 August 2013 - Pew Forum
The prospect of dying has always fascinated, haunted and, ultimately, defined human beings. From the beginnings of civilization, people have contemplated their own mortality – and considered the possibility of immortality. Indeed, many of humanity’s oldest and best-known stories, from the Sumerian tale of “Gilgamesh” to the Old Testament Book of Genesis to Homer’s...
Rise of the mind readers: exploring the ethics of neuroimaging
2 August 2013 - Science Omega
The time has come for society to engage in an ethical discussion over the use of mind-reading technologies, according to Stanford University academic Professor Hank Greely...
What if I were able to read your innermost thoughts? What if it were possible for me to gauge your likes and dislikes without asking? What if I could predict every movement that you are about to make?
2 August 2013 - Practical Ethics
On Monday, London will see the world’s first artificial meat burger cooked and tasted, by Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University.
Artificial meat stops cruelty to animals, is better for the environment, could be safer and more efficient, and even healthier. We have a moral obligation to support this kind of research. It gets the ethical two thumbs up.
The advantages of being ethical
1 August 2013 - Financial Post
Andrew Crane, a professor of policy/strategy, the George R. Gardiner Professor of Business Ethics and director of the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business at Schulich School of Business at York University, lives and breathes business ethics. He is also co-author of the book, Business Ethics and the popular blog Crane and Matten (...
Democrats To Introduce Supreme Court Ethics Bill
31 July 2013 - Mother Jones
Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has been in the news recently after Mother Jones revealed her involvement in Groundswell, a secret effort by a group of conservatives to organize their fight against liberals, mainstream Republicans, and Karl Rove. Her political activity has once again raised questions about whether she is creating conflicts...
Orson Scott Card, 'Ender's Game' and the ethics of entertainment: give us your thoughts
31 July 2013 - Penn Live
"Ender's Game," an upcoming movie based on a celebrated sci-fi novel by Orson Scott Card, has already generated lots of controversy. And no, the controversy isn't about the plot of the film, which centers on child soldiers being conscripted into a desperate war against an alien race and the disturbing, brutal consequences.
No, the controversy is about Card himself. The...
Ethical industry board to consider review
30 July 2013 - Financial Observer
The Banking and Finance Oath (BFO) board is looking at the possibility of conducting a review of Australia’s financial services industry in order to uncover the attitudes towards ethics and accountability of those working in it.
BFO chairman and AMP Capital managing director Stephen Dunne said the board was considering whether to run a similar review to a recent overseas study....
The Ethics of Saving Lives With Autonomous Cars Are Far Murkier Than You Think
30 January 2013 - Wired
If you don’t listen to Google’s robot car, it will yell at you. I’m not kidding: I learned that on my test-drive at a Stanford conference on vehicle automation a couple weeks ago. The car wanted its human driver to retake the wheel, since this particular model wasn’t designed to merge lanes. If we ignored its command a third time, I wondered, would it pull over and...
Cyber-safety or cyber-maturity? Teaching ethics in a virtual world
30 July 2013 - The Conversation
Sexting is back in the news for all the wrong reasons. Multiple incidents of teenagers circulating explicit images of other teenagers are under investigation in Victoria. It has emerged that Queensland police have charged 240 children for producing and distributing child pornography so far in 2013.
Any minor who takes an erotic image of themselves could technically be charged with child...
Ethics and politics: God, mammon and Mr Miliband
27 July 2013 - The Guardian
The ideal advertising campaign bears no fingerprints. The product is endorsed independently by (tick as appropriate) celebrities, royalty or leading figures in the church. In those terms at least, this has been a great week for Labour: two archbishops and the pope weighing in powerfully on traditional progressive concerns about selfishness, greed and injustice. For the churches, obviously, it...
Mammoth cloning: the ethics
24 July 2013 - The Conversation
The display of a frozen mammoth in Japan has again raised questions as to the possibility of creating a live born clone of extinct animals.
Theoretically, mammoths could be cloned by recovering, reconstructing or synthesizing viable mammoth DNA and injecting it into the egg cell of a modern elephant whose nuclear DNA has been removed; alternatively, mammoth genetic material could be...
The Ethics of Using Paid Content in Journalism
22 July 2013 - Harvard Business Review
In the days of yore, you'd sometimes come across a spread in a tabloid that didn't seem quite right. The typography was off, and the content seemed to make too big a promise: "Revolutionary Formula Lets the Stars Lose Weight without Dieting or Exercise" or "'My Eyesight is so good I can practically see in the dark,' Says Amazed Eye Doctor!" When you put on...
Animals in research: benefits, ethics and assessment
18 July 2013 - Science Alert
“AUSTRALIANS SAY NO TO ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS,” rang the headline of a recent media release by the activist group Humane Research Australia, referring to an opinion poll it commissioned in May that found: "The majority of Australians are opposed to such an archaic practice and recognise the need to seek more humane and scientifically-valid options."
New Bletchley Park and Ethics of Cyber Warfare
16 July 2013 - Crytpome
The United Nations Charter prohibits the use of force by one state against another, but in the cyber world, where are the borders and what constitutes force?
Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Defense Analysis Distinguished Professor Dorothy Denning is viewed by many as an icon in the field of information security, but has spent the last several years adding the ethics of cyber warfare to...
Survey questions Wall Street ethics
16 July 2013 - USA Today
Wall Street has a shaky grip on its ethical compass, a new study suggested Tuesday.
Despite the financial changes enacted after the 2008 financial crisis, improper and even illegal activity is perceived as common among traders, brokers, portfolio managers, investment bankers and others, according to the online survey of 250 financial professionals conducted by Labaton Sucharow, a New...
In the genetic supermarket, should parents be allowed to buy?
15 July 2013 - Practical Ethics
Imagine a world in which genetic interventions (for hair/eye colour, health, strength, happiness, morality…) were tested, safe, effective and accepted. In this genetic supermarket, who should be allowed to buy – to decide how children should be modified? Parents seem the obvious choice – but on reflection, there seem few reasons to allow this.
Why is it good for...
Spread of DNA databases leads to concerns over ethics
14 July 2013 - Japan Times
You can ditch your computer and leave your cellphone at home, but you can’t escape your DNA. It belongs uniquely to you — and, increasingly, to the authorities.
Countries around the world are collecting genetic material from millions of citizens in the name of fighting crime and terrorism — and, according to critics, heading into uncharted ethical terrain.
Killing by praying
11 July 2013 - Practical Ethics
Dale and Leilani Neumann are Pentecostal Christians. Their 11 year old daughter, Kara, fell ill. In fact she had (undiagnosed) diabetes. Her parents refused to obtain medical help. Instead they prayed.
‘Kara’s father testified that death was never on their minds. He testified that he knew Kara was sick but was “never to the alarm of death,” and even after...
There's no ethical case for mandatory cycle helmets
10 July 2013 - The Guardian
Sometime in the third millennium BC, if not before, some entrepreneurial warrior donned a helmet to protect his brain from blows to the head. He may have been mocked as a coward, but soon enough copper and bronze helmets became a common sight on ancient battlefields. As Homer reminds us in the Iliad, these protective contraptions were not always effective:
The first to hurl, Great Ajax...
The Convergence of Ethics and Compliance
9 July 2013 - Corporate Counsel
One of the most important lessons business leaders should learn from the recent financial crisis is that the best time to fix a small problem is before it explodes and becomes a crisis. The philosophy of “fix it when it breaks” does not work when the breakage can destroy major corporations, shut down national markets, cost the Department of the Treasury billions of dollars, and...
The climate fight: politics vs ethics
8 July 2013 - Climate Spectator
If one thing defines how China’s rapid growth will reshape the physical world, it is climate change. But that was hard to see when I first arrived in the country in 1996.
Global warming was just emerging as a widespread concern and, despite its massive population, China played a small role in global negotiations. It had been only four years since 154 nations – including...
Putting Ethics & Values Around Big Data
17 February 2013 - Compliance Week
Next month Compliance Week will be hosting a virtual conference on Big Data. Part of my job here is to recruit high-caliber speakers to talk about various slices of that admittedly broad subject, and hence I ended up on the phone last week with Kord Davis.
Davis is author of the book Ethics of Big Data: Balancing Risk and Innovation (O'Reilly Media, 2012), and yes, he'll be...
Pharma payments to doctors stay behind closed doors … for now
19 June 2013 - The Conversation
Patients will remain in the dark about whether their treating doctors receive payments from pharmaceutical companies that could influence prescribing habits, after a bill aimed at increasing transparency ground to a halt on Monday. The payments may be indirect (though conference sponsorship or funds to travel to or attend conferences) or direct (though consultation fees).
Should Brady be kept alive? The ethics of force-feeding
19 June 2013 - The Conversation
Moors murderer, Ian Brady, is fighting to end his life. This week he has appeared in public for the first time since his trial in the 1960s. He has been force-fed for the past 13 years and is begging to be ruled sane and transferred to a prison in Scotland where he will be allowed to starve himself to death.
To many people – and certainly to the surviving parents of his victims...
Forward Thinking: The Ethics of Challenging Each Other’s Identities
18 June 2013 - Patheos
Forward Thinking is a values development project run conjointly at the blogs Camels With Hammers and Love, Joy, Feminism. Twice each month we prompt bloggers to write about a topic in applied ethics. If you are a blogger, consider participating! Libby Anne has a round up of responses to June’s first prompt on the ideal social safety net. Below is an essay in which I try to make clear...
The future of robotics: in a transhuman world, the disabled will be the ones without prosthetic limbs…
16 June 2013 - The Guardian
Bertolt Meyer is used to being viewed as not fully human. Born with a stump where his left hand should have been, he spent his childhood wearing a hook connected to an elaborate pulley and harness. "To open the hook and grasp things I had to flex my shoulders like this," he says, striking a he-man pose. "The harness was very uncomfortable. To stop it chafing my skin, I had to...
Ethics: the questions posed by our bionic bodies
16 June 2013 - The Guardian
In the cult 1970s television show, The Six Million Dollar Man, astronaut Steve Austin (Lee Majors) is shown crash-landing on Earth, then being whisked into an operating theatre. "Gentleman, we have the capability to make the world's first bionic man," intones the narrator over the opening credits. "Steve Austin will be that man… Better, stronger, faster."
Snitch or hero: Modern whistleblowers still aren't getting much respect
14 June 2013 - The Vancouver Sun
As the world wrestles with the hero-or-traitor conundrum posed by ex-CIA technician Edward Snowden and his bombshell revelations about U.S. government surveillance of citizens’ email and phone traffic, longtime promoters of the whistle-blowing movement — a now-global phenomenon launched by American political activist Ralph Nader in 1971 — are defending the informant ethic as...
The Supreme Court’s Bad Science on Gene Patents
14 June 2013 - Bloomberg
Can you patent genes? In Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, the U.S. Supreme Court answered this imponderable question with a split decision: You can’t if they are naturally occurring, and you’ve simply discovered the gene; but if you’ve crafted a synthetic gene, you’ve invented it -- and you can keep the patent. As sensible as this compromise...