The ethics of deception in cyberspace
Rowe, Neil C.
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We examine the main ethical issues concerning deception in cyberspace. We first discuss the concept of deception and survey ethical theories applicable to cyberspace. We then examine deception for commercial gain such as spam, phishing, spyware, deceptive commercial software, and dishonest games. We next examine deception used in attacks on computer systems, including identity deception, Trojan horses, denial of service, eavesdropping, record manipulation, and social engineering. We then consider several types of deception for defensive purposes, less well known, including honeypots, honeytokens, defensive obstructionism, false excuses, deceptive intelligence collection, and strategic deception. In each case we assess the ethical issues pro and con for the use of deception. We argue that sometimes deception in cyberspace is unethical and sometimes it is ethical.
This paper appeared in the Handbook of Research on Technoethics, ed. R. Luppicini, Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference, 2008.
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