Pasquali (cited in Jordin and Beaken 2010) claims that “we live in an age of communication without a morality of communicating.” Indeed, the Internet radically transformed communication standards as we knew it, shifted the rules and accelerated the processes. Therefore, it altered our moral behaviour. With the spectacular takeoff of the World Wide Web, a debate emerged among scholars. They seek to determine whether Information and Computing Ethics (ICE) represent a continuation of traditional ethics, or if they radically shift our ethical thinking (Ess 2009). Some authors claim that online ethics only raise already well-known problems, whilst others as Johnson (2001) see them as “new species,” which bring up unprecedented ethical problems to communication. O’Neil (2001) specifies that “one of the more prevalent topics concerning the Internet is consumer privacy” and defines privacy concern as a “desire to keep personal information out of the hands of others”. I will demonstrate that the Internet is an ideal ground to privacy violation as it is a fast and easy way to gather information in a worldwide dimension and that its nature puts the individual at a distance from ethical concerns. I will then confront the Internet and its moral issues to the two salient and universalist ethical theories; the Kantian and the Utilitarianism frameworks.
The Internet: a fast and easy way to violate privacy
The Internet is an extraordinarily fast and easy means to copy data, transgress property and gather illegally or not information from users about their characteristics. O’Neil (2001) writes that “there is a growing concern that easily accessible information and databases available on the Internet are giving rise to serious privacy violations”. Internet advertising companies have realized the power of the web and the significance of the data they could collect through this virtual network. Users provide information without knowing by two ways. First, when they visit websites, people run the risk to get cookies (1), which will provide clues to these corporations about their prospects’ identities, interests and expectations. Another inexhaustible resource of information resides in social networks. In this context, people share expressly personal details with their friends, relatives and colleagues, but they do not necessarily know how to protect their privacy on social networks as Facebook, and thus publish...