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PTC 2004

Many ethical issues were brought up at the 26th Annual Pacific Telecommunication Conference in Honolulu, Jan. 11-14, 2004. More than 800 industry professionals, government officials, academics and policy experts from more than 45 countries considered a wide array of media and telecommunication technologies and their impact and interaction with Pacific societies.

Most significant was a plenary session which examined the relative importance of privacy and security on the Internet. The panel was moderated by Roger Naff (Boeing Homeland Security and Services), and featured Michael Binder (Information Technologies and Telecommunications, Industry Canada); William Boni (Motorola); and David Gross (International Communications and Information Policy, U.S. Department of State).

Binder noted that between 65 and 80% of business and personal computer users do not trust the Internet to provide secure communications with the Canadian government. The Canadian government and industry are working to lower the Incidence of Internet attacks, which increased at an alarming rate last year-indeed, worms practically shut down Canadian networks in August and September of 2003. Only by engaging the international community through organizations such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) can these problems be solved. However, attempts at achieving greater security often involve monitoring Internet content or "suspicious" persons which can lead to problems of invasion of privacy.

Boni noted that the United States Congress has threatened to enact a "U.S. Information Security Responsibility Act" if the telecom industry does not greatly improve security soon. Because of the nature of Internet (and cellular network) attacks, perimeter protection (e.g. firewalls) is no longer adequate. Internal risks such as temporary or disloyal employees or any other user communicating via the Internet, including contractors and affiliates, are now as great as external ones. Software has become so lengthy and complex that programmers are unable to identify vulnerabilities, especially under pressure to quickly deliver new versions with more features. Among the threats to security are "ethically flexible" employees, competitors, freelance hackers, crackers, governments, transnational criminal cartels and terrorists. Boni reported that one worm attacked 90% of vulnerable systems on the Internet in less than 10 minutes and produced more than $1.5 billion in damages. Many of the largest companies worldwide were targeted. Traditional "patches" to counter such attacks are "too little and too late."

Ambassador David Gross reported that, although the U.S. promotes the free flow of information and freedom of expression in the spirit of the First Amendment, it is struggling to find an appropriate balance among security, privacy, and free expression since there are increasing numbers of malicious individuals and organizations who do not respect these same three areas. The consequent tension between protection of customers from criminal intrusion on the one hand and protection of their civil rights on the other hand will guarantee a plethora of ethics debates in years to come, regardless of the many domestic and international organizations involved.

Another panel, on Policy, Regulation, and Ethics, featured Tom Cooper's (Emerson College) proposed comprehensive ethics policy for multinational communication corporations and John Ayodade's (Communication Research Lab, Japan) talk about trust, privacy, and credibility issues associated with the SPLC Internet security system.

TWC

*For further information about PTC 2004, check www.PTC2004.org or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Two Out Of 100

Business Ethics magazine recently ranked the "top 100 corporate citizens of 2003."

Among them, only two media companies made the grade. The New York Times Company was #52, and Dow Jones & Company ranked #57. Time Warner, the Tribune Company and Walt Disney have dropped off this list since 2001.

Companies were rated in seven areas: environment, community relations, employee relations, diversity and customer relations. Lawsuits and news articles about the companies also were reviewed. Only public companies were considered for this list.

*For the complete rankings, see www.business-ethics.com/100best.htm.

PTC 2004

Many ethical issues were brought up at the 26th Annual Pacific Telecommunication Conference in Honolulu, Jan. 11-14, 2004. More than 800 industry professionals, government officials, academics and policy experts from more than 45 countries considered a wide array of media and telecommunication technologies and their impact and interaction with Pacific societies.

Most significant was a plenary session which examined the relative importance of privacy and security on the Internet. The panel was moderated by Roger Naff (Boeing Homeland Security and Services), and featured Michael Binder (Information Technologies and Telecommunications, Industry Canada); William Boni (Motorola); and David Gross (International Communications and Information Policy, U.S. Department of State).

Binder noted that between 65 and 80% of business and personal computer users do not trust the Internet to provide secure communications with the Canadian government. The Canadian government and industry are working to lower the Incidence of Internet attacks, which increased at an alarming rate last year-indeed, worms practically shut down Canadian networks in August and September of 2003. Only by engaging the international community through organizations such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) can these problems be solved. However, attempts at achieving greater security often involve monitoring Internet content or "suspicious" persons which can lead to problems of invasion of privacy.

Boni noted that the United States Congress has threatened to enact a "U.S. Information Security Responsibility Act" if the telecom industry does not greatly improve security soon. Because of the nature of Internet (and cellular network) attacks, perimeter protection (e.g. firewalls) is no longer adequate. Internal risks such as temporary or disloyal employees or any other user communicating via the Internet, including contractors and affiliates, are now as great as external ones. Software has become so lengthy and complex that programmers are unable to identify vulnerabilities, especially under pressure to quickly deliver new versions with more features. Among the threats to security are "ethically flexible" employees, competitors, freelance hackers, crackers, governments, transnational criminal cartels and terrorists. Boni reported that one worm attacked 90% of vulnerable systems on the Internet in less than 10 minutes and produced more than $1.5 billion in damages. Many of the largest companies worldwide were targeted. Traditional "patches" to counter such attacks are "too little and too late."

Ambassador David Gross reported that, although the U.S. promotes the free flow of information and freedom of expression in the spirit of the First Amendment, it is struggling to find an appropriate balance among security, privacy, and free expression since there are increasing numbers of malicious individuals and organizations who do not respect these same three areas. The consequent tension between protection of customers from criminal intrusion on the one hand and protection of their civil rights on the other hand will guarantee a plethora of ethics debates in years to come, regardless of the many domestic and international organizations involved.

Another panel, on Policy, Regulation, and Ethics, featured Tom Cooper's (Emerson College) proposed comprehensive ethics policy for multinational communication corporations and John Ayodade's (Communication Research Lab, Japan) talk about trust, privacy, and credibility issues associated with the SPLC Internet security system.

TWC

*For further information about PTC 2004, check www.PTC2004.org or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Two Out Of 100

Business Ethics magazine recently ranked the "top 100 corporate citizens of 2003."

Among them, only two media companies made the grade. The New York Times Company was #52, and Dow Jones & Company ranked #57. Time Warner, the Tribune Company and Walt Disney have dropped off this list since 2001.

Companies were rated in seven areas: environment, community relations, employee relations, diversity and customer relations. Lawsuits and news articles about the companies also were reviewed. Only public companies were considered for this list.

*For the complete rankings, see www.business-ethics.com/100best.htm.