Read the case below and answer the following questions.
Doing business on a global level can sometimes involve serious ethical challenges. Consider the ethical firestorm that erupted when Google, Inc., decided to market “Google China.” This version of Google’s widely used search engine was especially tailored to the Chinese government’s censorship requirements. To date, the Chinese government has maintained strict control over the flow of infor¬mation in that country. The government’s goal is to stop the flow of "harmful information." Web sites that offer pornography, government criticism, or information on other sensitive topics, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, are censored—that is, they cannot be accessed by Web users. Government agencies enforce the censorship and encourage citizens to inform on one another. Thousands of Web sites are shut down each year, and the sites’ operators are subject to potential imprisonment.
Google’s Code of Conduct opens with the company’s informal motto: “Don’t be evil.” Yet critics of Google’s actions question whether Google is following this motto. Human rights groups have come out strongly against Google’s behavior, maintaining that the company is seeking profits in a lucrative marketplace at the expense of assisting the Communist Party in suppressing free speech. And in February 2006, Democratic congressman Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor serving in Congress, stated that the “sickening collaboration” of Google and three other Web companies (Cisco Systems, Microsoft Corporation, and Yahoo!, Inc.) with the Chinese government was “decapitating the voice of dissidents” in that nation.
THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT’S DEFENSE
Google defends its actions by pointing out that its Chinese search engine at least lets users know which sites are being censored. Google China includes the links to censored sites, but when a user tries to access a link, the program states that it is not accessible. Google claims that its approach is essentially the “lesser of two evils”: if U.S. companies did not cooperate with the Chinese govern¬ment, Chinese residents would have less user-friendly Internet access. Moreover, Google asserts that providing Internet access, even if censored, is a step toward more open access in the future be¬cause technology is, in itself, a revolutionary force.
The Chinese government emphasizes that its censorship of the Internet is no different from the controls placed on information access by other national governments. As an example, it cites France, which bans access to any Web sites selling or portraying Nazi paraphernalia. The United States it¬self prohibits the dissemination of certain types of materials, such as child pornography, over the In-ternet. Furthermore, the U.S. government monitors Web sites and e-mail communications to protect against terrorist threats. How, ask Chinese officials, can other nations point their fingers at China for pursuing a common international practice?
Based on your study of Ethics in Business Decision Making, answer the following questions.
1. 1.In negotiating a business deal, is “strategic misrepresentation” permissible? Do you have to disclose ev-erything? Justify your answer.
2. 2.How does a corporation’s investment in a political or social agenda affect its duty to its shareholders? Give reasons.
3. 3.Do businesses have an ethical duty to use enhanced security measures to protect confidential customer information? Why or why not? Give reasons.
4. 4. Does a company have a duty to act in socially or politically benefi¬cial ways? Why or why not? Justify your answer.
5. 5. Why would a corporation prefer to be seen as ethical? Give reasons