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Teaching with Cases

Social Impact Analysis

Computer Ethics Curriculum

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Hughes Aircraft

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Exercise Resources (Hughes Obligatory)

Links to case readings.

Central Readings

Goodearl Introduction

Lisa Lightner Incident

Shirley Reddick Incident

AMRAAM Incident

Potential Background Readings


Life on the testing line

Quality Assurance

The Fraud Hotline

The chips

The chips in use

The tests


Whistleblower US Law

Specific exercise materials.

The De George Criteria

Richard De George(1990) sets forth five conditions to evaluate whistleblowing. The first three conditions establish when whistleblowing is morally permissible. The addition of the last two conditions make whistleblowing morally obligatory.

Morally Permissible:

  • There is a substantial threat of a serious and considerable harm to members of the public.
  • One has made one's concerns known to immediate supervisors.
  • One has exhausted internal channels and has not received an appropriate or adequate response.

Moral Obligatory.

  • One has documented evidence that would convince an impartial observer.
  • There is a reasonable chance of success, i.e., that publicizing the immanent harm will prevent it.


Questions for Group Discussion

  1. Which conditions does Goodearl meet? Provide evidence from the case to support your position.
  2. Which conditions does Goodearl lack? Provide evidence from the case to support your position.
  3. Is whistle-blowing morally permissible for Goodearl? Defend your position based on the criteria. Do additional criteria occur to you?
  4. Is it morally obligatory? Defend your decision based on the criteria.
  5. Given what you know about what happens to whistleblowers, would you encourage Goodearl to blow the whistle?


Goodearl's Responsibilities

Listed here are a set of responsibilities that Goodearl has based on her relations to others. It is better to have a class generate a list like this than to simply give this list out. You might use questions like "To whom is she responsible?" and "What is her obligation to that person?" as prompt questions. This list is not at all exhaustive, but is long enough that it can provide some balance to the De George criteria when evaluating questions 3 and 4.

To Employer (work diligently, follow rules, loyalty, protect employer's interests)

To Colleagues (respect, loyalty, support)

To Public (protect safety)

To Subordinates (respect, loyalty, protection, support)

To her Family (support, loyalty)