At the Center
Capturing the lively discussions, presentations, and other events that make up the daily activities of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.
Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 12:27 PM
In a panel discussion that focused on the presidential election after the first debate, Kirk O. Hanson, Center executive director, analyzed the ethical issues that arise in a high pressure campaign. He was joined by Terry Christensen, Professor Emeritus at San Jose State University, and Barbara Marshman, Editorial Pages Editor, San Jose Mercury News. John Zipperer, Vice President of Media and Editorial, The Commonwealth Club, the program sponsor, was the moderator.
Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 10:47 AM
Six hundred people came together at Santa Clara University last weekend for a conference on current best practices for working with children and adults with Asperger's Syndrom and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The event focused on recent research outlining social skills practices to facility communication and highlighted new technologies that are making communication easier for individuals with special needs.
Ethics Center Character Education Director Steve Johnson gave a presentation on "How Religious Institutions Might Better Serve People with Autism." Other speakers included Carol Gray, director fo the Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding, and Carl Feinstein, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford Univesity and director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.
The conference was co-sponsored by the Ethics Center and the Morgan Autism Center.
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 4:00 PM
An editorial in the Orange County Register explores the failure of President Obama's cabinet to respond to Freedom of Information requests from Bloomberg for information on the secretaries' travel. Interviewed for the piece, Ethics Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler said,
Transparency is the most important thing the government can engage in to enhance public trust. One of the things the president mandated on coming into office was acting promptly on FOIA requests. This is of concern because it should not be difficult for people to see what's going on in government. The FOIA was put in place for people to know what's going on in terms of spending and policy.
When officials fail to respond to FOI requests, Nadler continued,
The default position for many people is that the officials must be hiding something. I don't know if that's true. But the lack of disclosure is troubling, whether it's a city council member or a Cabinet member. The public has a right to know.
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 3:14 PM
Cathleen Kaveny, John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law and Professor of Theology at Notre Dame University, reflects on faith and ethics in an election year in a talk Oct. 10, 7 p.m., at the Jesuit Theological Seminary.
A member of the Massachusetts Bar since 1993, Professor Kaveny clerked for the Honorable John T. Noonan Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and worked as an associate at the Boston law firm of Ropes & Gray in its health-law group.
We are fortunate to present Professor Kaveny through the generosity of the Project on Conscience in Roman Catholic Thought funded by Phyllis and Mike Shea. The event is co-sponsored by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, the Jesuit School of Theology, and Commonweal magazine.
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 3:09 PM
Experts from the SEC, the law firm of Morrison & Foerster, and the Ethics Center discuss cutting edge issues in global anti-corruption and compliance at a seminar Oct. 10, noon-2 p.m., at the Sheraton Palo Alto Hotel.
Our panel will discuss the legal, ethical, and business challenges faced by Silicon Valley companies with global operations and provide practical advice for conducting a global risk assessment and implementing effective anti-corruption programs. The discussion will include a case study highlighting the issues surrounding the detection, investigation, penalties and reputational damage from an FCPA violation.
The seminar is free but registration is mandatory.
Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 2:15 PM
A panel of experts focuses on the ethical issues that arise for journalists when religion is so prominent in the current presidential election, Thursday, Oct. 4, 3:45 - 5:30 p.m., in Bannan 142 (Note location change). Participants include expert journalists, a visiting group of masters’ students from Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany, and SCU faculty.
According to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, American journalists “believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues,” thus creating an informed public square.
Questions we will discuss: Should journalists incorporate cultural values in their coverage of the general election? Which values (and whose) should get prominence? Do journalists have a responsibility to reach beyond campaign platforms in order to provide the facts and perspectives that might stimulate broader discussion of issues such as contraception, same-sex marriage and immigration? What responsibility do journalists have, if any, to highlight “truthfulness” or the lack thereof? How should they define “truth” in this context? What is journalists’ responsibility to address stereotypes and fears regarding minority religions such as Islam, Mormonism, or Catholicism?
Gerardo Fernandez, Editor, Aliana Metropolitan News
Josh Richman, Bay Area News Group
Shirin Sadeghi, blogger and former producer for the BBC and Al Jazeera
Peter Erlenwein, sociopsychologist, journalist and author
Steven Saum, Editor, Santa Clara magazine
Ingrid Stapf, Assistant Professor, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Students from Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg interdisciplinary masters program
Sally Lehrman, Knight-Ridder Professor of Communication, Santa Clara University
Paul Soukup, S.J., Associate Professor of Communication, Santa Clara University
Katharine Heintz, Media Analyst and Lecturer, Santa Clara University
Students from Santa Clara University, Introduction to Journalism and Media and Advocacy courses
Thursday, Sep. 27, 2012 11:24 AM
Characterizing the Federal Trade Commission as "the nation's premier consumer protection privacy agency," FTC Commissioner Julie Brill focused on new developments in Internet privacy at a presentation Sept. 20 at Santa Clara University. Her talk was part of the “State of the Net West” townhall series, in which federal policymakers meet with members of the Silicon Valley community to discuss technology policy.
Brill began by detailing consumers’ increasing reliance on mobile tools—noting, for example, that 52 percent of college students report that they check their phones before getting out of bed. She also highlighted disparities among various segments of the population, citing consumer surveys which show that 40 percent of people in households earning less than $30,000 per year go online mostly through their phones, as compared to 17 percent of households earning more than $50,000 per year. In addition, half of African-Americans and 40 percent of Latinos who access the Internet report doing most of their browsing through their phones.
As Internet access through mobile devices becomes widespread, Commissioner Brill said that app developers and app service providers are increasingly realizing that they have to think about consumer privacy, too. In the “diffuse ecosystem” of the Web, she said, which involves so many players, it is easy for each of them to believe that “privacy is somebody else’s responsibility.” However, if nothing else, a variety of FTC enforcement actions have demonstrated that both large and smaller players involved in data collection and analysis would be best served by “baking” privacy into their products.
Commissioner Brill praised the agreements reached by California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris and various platform providers (including Amazon, Google, and Facebook), which have agreed to provide app developers with tools that will allow those developers to give consumers clear information about their privacy policies. In general, Commissioner Brill urged app developers to limit the information that they collect from users to data that is necessary for the app to work; she also spoke of the need to then provide adequate security for that data.
A significant portion of the Commissioner’s talk, as well as of the question-and-answer period that followed, focused on the ongoing efforts to develop a “Do Not Track” mechanism through which consumers would express their wishes if they didn’t want to be tracked by companies online. Commissioner Brill sounded optimistic about the efforts of the W3C consortium, which has been holding meetings with key stakeholders in an effort to develop standards for the implementation of a “Do Not Track” signal.
Commissioner Brill noted that some stakeholders have called for exceptions that would allow continued data collection for “market research” and “product improvement” (even from consumers who request that they not be tracked), and she called on advertising networks to provide more input in defining those exceptions. She also called on the W3C to address the issue of data retention limits. She described limits on the amount of data collected, and on the amount of time that data may be held, as ways to enhance data security.
Finally, she warned that consumers who are concerned about online privacy and loss of control over their personal information might turn to self-help tools that would be “more blunt” than the ones currently being discussed in the W3C.
In response to a question suggesting that the vast majority of consumers would choose to opt out of tracking if given that option, Commissioner Brill argued that companies need to convey more clearly to consumers the benefits of behavioral (or targeted) advertising, and need to give people more “granular” choices about the types of ads they want to see. She noted that companies also need to explain to consumers that, in the absence of advertising revenue, providers would find it difficult to continue to deliver the sites or services that consumers are now enjoying.
Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2012 10:36 AM
Interviewed by the New York Times, Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler talks about making ethical decisions.
Monday, Sep. 24, 2012 4:33 PM
Ann Ravel, chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, speaks on the ethics of political campaigning at Santa Clara University Oct. 5 from noon-1 in the Weigand Room of the Arts and Sciences Building.
Prior to her appointment as commission chair, Ravel served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Torts and Consumer Litigation in the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice.
Most of her career was as an attorney in the Santa Clara County Counsel's Office, ultimately serving as the appointed County Counsel from 1998 until 2009. As County Counsel, she represented the County and its elected officials, providing advice on the Political Reform Act.
After Ravel's public lecture, she will meet with the Ethics Center's Public Sector Roundtable, a group of locally elected and appointed officials who address ethical issues in government
Thursday, Sep. 20, 2012 12:55 PM
A series of seven introductory videos on business ethics in China created by Liu Baocheng, director of the Center for International Business Ethics in Beijing (CIBE), and Kirk O. Hanson, director of the Markkula Ethics Center, highlight a collection of resources on Business Ethics now available from the Ethics Center.
Liu and Hanson discuss intellectual property protections, cultural attitudes toward gifts and bribes, labor and environmental standards, and fair trade.
Video resources also include a series of interviews with Stephan Rothlin, general secretary of the CIBE, as well as businesspeople with experience in the Chinese context.
Articles and podcasts are also available.