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Technology and Ethics

There has been a lot of action around the world and here at home concerning how consumers will and will not be able to consume media and use the internet. SOPA and PIPA have generate a lot of interest and even a blackout of very large sites like Wikipedia. Many other forms of legislation (such as ACTA and TPP) continue to cause a lot of concern about the very future of the internet.

Currently, in Canada Bill C-11 is preparing to be finalized into law. One of the most controversial points is the use of digital locks. (Though perhaps most disturbing is the possibility of US influence to bring about SOPA-like revisions).

A digital lock would prevent you from using certain types of Digital Rights Management media that you have purchased. For instance a DVD bought on a trip to Europe can't be played on a North American DVD player. The lock will be built right into your computer. 

This isn't a new idea - there have been very serious attempts at enacting legislation to do far more radical things (how about blowing up the computers of anyone file sharing) - but it is still a very serious limit to your rights as a consumer and what you can do with your computer.

As a class we will debate the idea of digital locks and use it as a way to discuss ethics and technology.
  • Write a one page essay explaining why you think digital locks are good or bad. Please make sure to include several reasons or examples to support your argument.
  • Be prepared to debate these ideas in class - you will either be for or against digital locks in our discuss based on your opinion in your paper.
Note: if there is something else you come across that still relates to Bill C-11 or other recent legislation in Canada or elsewhere that you are more interested in then please let me know and we can see if you can use that as an essay topic instead.
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