Project Management and Ethics H7063 Ethics Assessment 2 Select one of the case-studies below.
Expand on the case to describe the ethical issues in this case using at least one of the following concepts from the course: a)Engineering as social experimentation (Week 3) b)Risk and safety (Week 4) c)Ethics in the workplace (Week 6) d)Ethical aspects of ICTs (Week 7) e)Engineering and the environment (Week 8) Your answer should be no longer than 2000 words. This assessment should be submitted by Thursday 9th December 2010 (Week 10). Case 1 – Jailbreaking Jailbreaking’ describes how to hack the operating system of a device to remove the restrictions placed on them by the manufacturers; if you jailbreak an iPhone you can run any apps on it rather than just those which have been approved by Apple. Apple have argued that jailbreaking prevents the company from being innovative, and that they need copyright protection in order to develop devices like the iPhone, and provide a platform for app developers. However, in July 2010, US federal regulators announced that it was no longer illegal to ‘jailbreak’ an iPhone.
Yet this ruling only applies to the phones – it is still illegal to hack the operating system of other devices. In August 2009 Matthew Crippen from Anaheim, California, was taken into custody after running a home business in which he jailbroke X-boxes. When interviewed, Crippen said that he didn’t intend to conduct illegal piracy, but instead wanted users to be able to use decrypted copies of games rather than those which were ‘DRM-laden’.
If convicted, Crippen faces up to ten years in prison. Case 2 – British Petroleum The ‘Deepwater Horizon’ was a drilling rig based in the Gulf of Mexico and as leased to British Petroleum (BP) by Transocean. On April 20th 2010 methane gas shot up out of the well and exploded on the platform, causing the rig to collapse and sink. 2 days later an oil leak was discovered which later became the largest oil spill to ever originate in US waters, endangering more than 400 species of birds and animals. As the spill was investigated, it became apparent that BP had drastically underestimated the worst case flow of oil. The company also did not initially anticipate that any oil would leak from the sunken rig.The blowout preventer on the rig was mean to act as a fail-safe device but actually had a hydraulic leak and a failed battery. BP also reported that their managers had misread pressure data; and that the engineer who was overseeing the project had ignored warnings about weaknesses in the cement outside the well.
However, a survey by Transocean found that workers on the rig had been concerned about safety procedures several months before the explosion, but had feared reprisals if they reported mistakes or other issues. Case 3 – Qantas Qantas’ is the national airline of Australia. On November 4th 2010, Flight 32 suffered a serious failure of its left inboard engine whilst taking off from Singapore Changi airport – the engine exploded in midflight, with sections of it falling over Batam Island, Indonesia. Although the flight safely landed at Singapore, the incident resulted in the grounding the airline’s entire A380 fleet. The engine was a Trent 900 which had been manufactured by Rolls-Royce, and Qantas claimed that design faults in these engines had caused the accident.Alan Joyce, the chief executive of Qantas, claimed that ‘oil had been found where oil shouldn’t be’ on the engines, and that ‘these are new engines on a new aircraft and they shouldn’t have these issues at this stage’. However, Rolls Royce said that until this accident, they hadn’t had an engine failure on a large civil aircraft since 1994; but they later revealed that the failure was confined to a ‘specific component’ on the Trent 900 engines.
However Rolls Royce’s shares fell sharply after the explosion, partly due to concerns about the lack of information from Rolls Royce about the cause of the accident.