Introducing ethics in Information and Computer Sciences
Introducing ethics in Information and Computer Sciences

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Introducing ethics in Information and Computer Sciences

4.4 Legitimacy vs rights

Another major theme in the play relates to the surveillance equipment. The general question about surveillance is raised as soon as we are told that the company is installing a system for that purpose. You might be inclined to think that the government is entitled to deploy a surveillance system because there are problems that need to be dealt with, somehow; perhaps you view the system as just a technological extension of the police. However, individuals too have rights, and this raises questions concerning the legitimacy of surveillance systems.

Interestingly, there is an ambiguity, which I think is deliberate on the part of the play author, of which ‘government’ is being referred to. The word ‘government’ appears in a number of places, and we cannot be quite sure whether it is the British Government or the Uzbekistan Government that is being alluded to. In the situations where the word is used, the particular characters themselves seem to jump to a conclusion about which government is being discussed. This, however, means that there are differences of understanding about the system and the authorities that are installing it, which can potentially create much confusion.


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