Ethics and social responsibilities are the essential components in establishment and development of strategic plans in an organization. Code of ethics for strategic planning defines the set of ethical rules that every stakeholder is obliged to follow to ensure implementation of legal practices while implementation of social responsibilities fortifies those practices beyond needs. Companies with a robust code of ethics boast excellent reputation in the industry. Contrarily, firms with impractical social and ethical charter not only lose the stature but, in case of extreme violations, face a permanent termination of license too.
In a recent incident of grave breach of ethical boundaries, one of the biggest social networks “Facebook” was found involved in a violation of civil laws for user privacy, as the users’ data were sold to Cambridge Analytica, without the consent of the users. The Fourth Amendment to the constitution does not allow anyone to misuse personal data of an individual for personal usage, as it comes under data theft and privacy violation. The amendment maintains that the individual’s personal information must be kept protected from all kinds of public scrutiny unless adequate evidence is available to justify surveillance, and no one must be allowed to get access to it as long as the subject allows others to view or use it (Bernal, 2014). It is the responsibility of the business firms, before the government and the law enforcement authorities, to protect privacy and liberty rights of all stakeholders and to look after all such violations and secure the data of the people. The state and federal privacy efforts must be enhanced to get hold of any such issues related to data theft of privacy violation.
The use of data by Cambridge Analytica is exceptionally unlawful since it did not only violated the privacy of users, but it managed to use it to manipulate voters too and hence, national security is put to risk with such a malign intent. Thus, to satisfy few stakeholders, other stakeholders are overlooked. The use of person’s attribute to research personal traits is not wrong and can be used to promote research behaviors. However, using data to shape people’s opinion by sharing information with them that may change one’s viewpoint is immensely unethical (Cate & Litan, 2002).
The breach of privacies, whether online or not, should be dealt with iron fist. An independent body, similar to International Court of Justice, should be formulated that looks after the implementation of the code of ethics and social responsibility of every organization to prevent violations of stakeholder agendas. The department or the firm involved should be penalized with a considerable penalty, and in extreme situations, the subject should be barred too from operation as long as the viable amendment is made. The victims should be compensated with an appropriate amount of money, and the sold data should be destroyed at purchasers’ end under surveillance of independent bodies. Moreover, it should be left to the victims to decide through a referendum if the violators should be allowed to continue or not. The privacy campaigns in the recent times have taken the world by storm, and the concerns of people should be settled precisely and effectively.
Corporate social responsibilities and business ethics have become one of the chief concerns for stakeholders and the general public. The companies should move ahead of only cosmetic improvements and should ensure extensive implementation of ethical codes and CSR even at the cost of short-term gains (Lindgreen and Swaen, 2010). By gaining an excellent reputation in industry and market, companies can expand their consumer base significantly in the long run.
Cate, F. H., & Litan, R. (2002). Constitutional issues in information privacy. Mich. Telecomm. & Tech. L. Rev., 9, 35.
Bernal, P. (2014). Internet privacy rights: rights to protect autonomy (No. 24). Cambridge University Press.
Lindgreen, A., & Swaen, V. (2010). Corporate social responsibility. International Journal of Management Reviews, 12(1), 1-7.