EthicalChoices and Decisions
EthicalChoices and Decisions
Thisresponse will summarize some of the key elements in the eventinvolving Edward Snowden’s decisions to leak information on themass surveillance by the government while he was still working forthe NSA. More specifically, right after the event, the U.S.government seems to act cautiously while dealing with the telephonecalls and other sensitive data of the American citizens. In fact, thecourts have ordered the government to restrain from violating theFourth Amendment (Tavani& Grodzinsky, 2014).The American citizens have lost trust with the government, and theydo not believe that it can protect them if it keeps interfering withtheir privacy. To some extent, Snowden might feel like the governmentwill be ethical enough to avoid the mass surveillance. This responsewill analyze the ethics associated with the event and the how leadersand managers can learn from the same.
Theutilitarianism seems like the ethical theory that led Snowden intoleaking the information. More specifically, Snowden believed that hewas doing the greater good and protecting the nation from the masssurveillance (Adams,2014).The constitution insists that the every American citizen has a rightto privacy yet, the government is violating such provisions. Hence,the government was acting contrary to the constitution, and that wasclearly unethical.
Thegreater good that Snowden expected to achieve was the end to the masssurveillance that the American citizens were exposed to. Inparticular, the citizens are often engaging in activities thatrequire secrecy hence, they need privacy. For instance, the USgovernment was even accused of hearing private call conservationbetween the Brazilian president and the German chancellor (Andregg,2016).It is one of the examples that showed how the government’s masssurveillance was clearly unethical. On the other hand, Snowdensacrificed his freedom, and he had to move from one nation to anotherto escape the wrath of the American government. In fact, he had movedto Hong Kong and then went to Moscow (Securing our liberty, 2013).Even if he revealed some crucial information, he had sacrificed hisjob and a place where he called home since his childhood.
Theevent has provided important lessons that might benefit a leader anda manager. First, the event showed the checks and balance that areassociated with decision-making in most cases. For instance, amanager and a leader might need to make a decision but, he or shewill be afraid of choosing between two conflicting concepts. The USgovernment faced the dilemma of protecting the citizens againstterrorist attacks and protecting the privacy of the citizens anddecided to violate the later. Hence, a leader needs to collect enoughfacts before making a decision that might influence the running ofthe organization.
Adeeper analysis of the event shows that Snowden is guilty ofviolating the employment contract he had made with Booz AllenHamilton. He was supposed to maintain the secrecy of anything hehears in the NSA and respect the core values and the code of conducttoo (Andregg,2016).Hence, the violation of the code of conduct is also unethical.Revealing the information the media was also one way of risking theoperations of the government in countering terrorism activities. Thegovernment might arrest him for such a decision since he wasinterfering with the safety of the nation.
Inconclusion, the event showed how Snowden relied on the utilitariantheory to support its assumptions of the greater good. Apart fromthat, he had also violated the code of conducts that governed theemployees in NSA. More importantly, the event also has importantlessons to the leaders and managers since they have to collect enoughfacts and look at an issue from multiple perspectives to avoid anymistake instead.
Adams,A. A. (2014). Report of a debate on Snowden`s actions by ACM members.ACMSIGCAS Computers and Society,44(3),5-7.
Andregg,M. (2016). Ethical Implications of the Snowden Revelations. TheInternational Journal of Intelligence, Security, and Public Affairs,18(2),110-131.
Securingour liberty. (2013). Commonweal,140(12), 5.
Tavani,H. T., & Grodzinsky, F. S. (2014). Trust, betrayal, andwhistle-blowing: Reflections on the Edward Snowden case. ACMSIGCAS Computers and Society,44(3),8-13.