Caribbean Journal of Philosophy, Vol 6, No 1 (2014)

CYBERETHICS, SPYWARE AND THE WAR ON TERRORISM IN AN AGE OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY

Abosede Prescilla IPADEOLA

Abstract


Abstract

This essay juxtaposes the notion of human freedom, which liberal democracy advocates, with the menace of terrorism, which is fast becoming an atrocious impediment to national development and social order in virtually all the countries of our global world. Since the commencement of the information revolution age, there is hardly anything that can be done in the world without recourse to Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Hence, in virtually every activity known to or undertaken by humans today, information technology, especially the internet plays a very significant role. Terrorist and counter-terrorist efforts also rely heavily on the ICT. Terrorists now mostly plan their attacks using one form of communication or information technology platform or the other. Hence, an effective measure against terrorist activities, especially in this era of information revolution, cannot afford not to look in the direction of the ICT in finding immediate and urgent solution to the problem of security threats which terrorism poses. A tool of surveillance which can be used to uncover terrorists’ plans in order to forestall attacks or to bring terrorists to book after an attack has been perpetrated is spyware. However, the challenge, which the use of spyware by government security agencies poses is that it does not promote the human right to privacy and freedom. This paper argues that this quandary can be overcome with the adoption of utilitarianism, a traditional ethical theory. In this sense, what brings safety to the greatest number is considered ethical.

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