Morality and the iPhone

Having recently completed a course in business ethics, and then following with heavy interest Monday’s enticing story about the leaked/lost/stolen iPhone 4 prototype, I think it only makes sense to offer some perfunctory remarks here.

In addition to the main technology sites covering the details about the new phone; the Internet has been awash with comments about the actions of all the parties involved. Questions about whether the finder was morally right to sell it to Gizmodo, and did the tech site act properly in purchasing and ultimately dissecting the phone for their website.

However, what’s missing in all of these accounts is a discussion about the public, and our role in encouraging these behaviours. Its no surprise that any item that comes out of Cupertino is received with the same amount of fan fare usually reserved for the winning soccer teams of South America. And how much more excited do we get when we can combine our lust for Apple with our natural and insaitable curiousity for tech voyeruism.

Rather then criticizing Gizmodo for their actions, I think we should take a look at ourselves. Are we getting caught up in tech envy and would put aside our own morality just to learn a bit more about a consumer product? I’ll be the first to admit it, I get swept up in the excitement too. But I’ve decided to incite a change and I’m going to work harder to make sure that my love of objects justifies behaviour.

I’m not suggesting that having new toys is bad, or that the capitalist culture of “stuff” is inherently evil. All I want to point out is the double standard we create to satisfy our own interests and desires. Most of us wouldn’t engage in the same dubious practices that some tech journalists use, so why should we reap the rewards?

What do you think? Can we reclaim morality in concepts and no longer let our love of “things” tell us what is the right thing to do?

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  • Noah

    The situation makes me think of celebrities and paparazzi. Celebrities need journalists' hype to become famous. Once they become extremely famous, any scoop on what Angelina or Brittany is news enough that its worthwhile to someone to act immorally to satiate the demand of fanatics. The immoral action of paparazzi doesn't prevent the fans from reading the latest scoop.

  • titusferguson

    Great points Noah. I think its also interesting to note that the parent company of Gizmodo is Gawker Media who own a number of full out gossip sites. I think that the “journalism” practices of those sites have bled over to Gizmodo.