Author Archive

FCC Asks Verizon to Explain Doubling of Fees

December 4, 2009 2 comments

FCC Asks Verizon to Explain Doubling of Fees

This article is about the FCC inquiring about Verizon’s recent increase in fees that are charged to customers who break their contracts on smart phones.  Verizon has raised the fee for customers who cancel their smart phone contracts from $175 to $350.  The main FCC issue is that Verizon has not directly informed their customers about this increase in fees.  Instead, they only put the rate increase into the small print of the contract, where many people would never see it.  Verizon is justifying the fee increase by saying that the use of smart phones has increased significantly over the past several months and that there is a significant loss to the company when customers cancel their contracts early.

The main ethical issue here is whether Verizon is justified in doubling its fees.  While I understand that Verizon loses a lot of revenue when customers cancel their contracts early, I don’t believe that this gives Verizon the right to double their fees.  I believe that they are simply taking advantage of their customers, and that is unacceptable.  I also think that it is unethical to not directly inform their customers about the rate increase.  Since customers can readily change phone companies after their contracts expire, it would seem that Verizon should be doing more to take care of their valued customers.

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CDC Warns of Fake H1N1 Flu Scam E-Mails

December 4, 2009 2 comments

CDC Warns of Fake H1N1 Flu Scam E-Mails

This article is about a recent internet scam about the H1N1 flu vaccine.  There have been several different scams created by hackers that ask people to create a personal vaccination profile on the CDC web site.  However, the CDC does not have any such program, and the personal data is being used by hackers to spread computer viruses.  Therefore, the CDC is informing the public that they should not give out any personal data or respond to any e-mails that claim to have connections to the CDC.

The main ethical issue here is that the hackers are using the fear caused by a national pandemic to take advantage of people and pursue their own self interests.  It is certainly immoral to attempt to cause harm to others by spreading computer viruses.  However, it is even more unethical to take advantage of people who are in fear of the H1N1 pandemic.  Therefore, I hope that these hackers are found and punished for attempting to take advantage of so many innocent people.

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Merging Black Colleges: Discrimination or Not?

December 1, 2009 3 comments

Plan To Merge Black Colleges Meets With Ire

This article is about the state of Mississippi and its plan to merge 3 historically black colleges in order to save money during these difficult economic times.  The main problem is that the state recently lost and settled a lawsuit that claimed that the state discriminated against these same colleges.  Since the proposal to merge the colleges comes only a few short years after the lawsuit was settled, many people believe that this move is a form of payback on the part of the state legislature.

The main ethical issue here is whether the merging of the black colleges is discrimination or simply a necessary budget cut.  While I understand the need to make cuts to balance budgets, I believe that there are many better solutions that merging the black colleges.  These colleges provide opportunities for minorities to get a good education that they might not have any other opportunity to get.  Also, I believe that the state is acting irresponsibly by proposing this merger shortly after settling a discrimination lawsuit about these same colleges.  If the state is so desperate to cut funds, then they should consider merging white colleges, where there us no concern about possible discrimination.

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P.S. If anyone still needs a partner for the paper exchange, or would like a 2nd review of their paper, please let me know as I am in need of a partner.  Please email me at rsbrown (at) if you can help me out.  Thank you!

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The Legality of Paper Mills

November 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Case of the Purloined Term Paper: When Work Is Resold

This article is about the current legal issues surrounding paper mills, which are companies that sell papers to college students who subsequently turn them in as their own original work.  These companies have avoided legal trouble for many years, but a current lawsuit threatens to shut one down due to copyright infringement and other legal issues.  The main problem with this company is that they are using previously submitted assignments without consulting or compensating the owner and selling them for a profit.  However, there are many other paper mills that pay students to write papers and subsequently resell them for a profit.  Since these companies are not infringing on the copyrights of the owners, they are not violating any copyright laws.

The main ethical issue here is whether paper mills should be operating at all.  While the paper mills do not face serious legal threats for their business activites, students who purchase these papers often face many legal and ethical issues.  First, students have no legal recourse if they do not receive an acceptable grade on the purchased paper.  Second, students run the risk of having their paper detected as plagiarism, which often results in course failure or even explusion from the university.  Finally, these papers cost a lot of money, especially if they are custom written to satisfy certain course requirements or earn a certain grade.  Therefore, I believe that students should just take the time to write their own papers instead of being lazy in order to save money and, most importantly, preserve their hard-earned academic standings and integrity.

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P.S.: If anyone is still looking for a partner to exchange papers with for peer reviews, please e-mail me at rsbrown (at)

(EDIT: I removed the link and @ from your email address in order to minimize the number of spambots that pick up your address. – D.E.)

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School Nixes Cash-For-Grades Fundraiser

November 13, 2009 2 comments

School Nixes Cash-For-Grades Fundraiser In North Carolina

This article is about a North Carolina middle school that cancelled plans to hold a cash-for-grades fundraiser.  The school was offering 20 extra credit points to students in exchange for a $20 donation to the school.  This money was going to be used to help overcome the budget cuts that the school was experiencing.  Although the school claimed that 20 extra credit points would not have a significant impact on overall grades, the plan was nixed after complaints from parents and other educational institutions.

The main ethical concern here is whether money and grades should be intertwined.  I believe that grades should be based solely on ability and academic achievement instead of money.  Grades are one of the few things in life that can’t be bought, and it should remain that way.  Anyways, if the school is desperate to raise money, there are many other ways to do it without impacting student grades.  Therefore, I am glad that the school decided to nix their cash-for-grades fundraiser.

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College Students Need Lessons In Failure

November 6, 2009 2 comments

Analysis: College Students Need Lessons In Failure

This article looks at the reasons why universities do not want to book speakers who have failed in their careers.  When colleges book speakers for commencements or conferences, they typically look for people who are successful or have overcome failures to become successful in their careers.  Colleges believe that they help to motivate students to become successful, while making the university look good in the public eye.  However, these speakers do not adequately prepare students for the failures that they will experience at some point during their careers.

The main ethical concern here is whether colleges should also book failures to speak to their students.  While colleges want to motivate students and look positive to their alumni and future students, they are not fully preparing students for the failures that they will certainly experience during their lives.  I believe that the ability for people to deal with failures is just as important as their ability to deal with successes.  Since the main objective of colleges is to give students the necessary skills to be successful in their careers, the topic of failure and dealing with failures should be addressed much more than it is now.  Therefore, I believe that universities should book unsuccessful people along with successful people as speakers.  At least it could give students the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others to hopefully avoid potential pitfalls in their futures.

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H1N1 Spreading Changes In Behavior

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

H1N1 Spreading Changes In Behavior

This article is about how the H1N1 virus is affecting many long-standing traditions.  First, some schools are eliminating their perfect attendance awards, which will discourage sick kids from going to school to remain in contention to achieve that reward.  Second, many companies are becoming more lenient when dealing with employees who run out of sick days while they are still sick.  Third, some airlines are waiving rebooking fees for ill travelers to discourage people from traveling sick.  Finally, handshakes are being discouraged in favor of fist bumps in order to minimize the spread of the H1N1 virus.

The main ethical concern here is whether people should be kept from going to work or school or flying if they have the H1N1 virus.  The Libertarian argument would indicate that the government and other institutions should not stop people from pursuing their own interests.  However, the Utilitarian argument would argue that people should stay home when they are sick in order to minimize the negative effects of spreading the H1N1 virus to other people.  I agree with the Utilitarian argument, as people who are sick should stay home in order to protect other people.  Also, it would be much more beneficial for people to avoid working or going to school until they feels better, when they will be alert and productive and more valuable to the company.

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