ETHICS

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First off, this section is being created because I'm already affected by the question of "Is Peek Inside ethical?"  More to the point, people fear contribution to the project because it will "get them in trouble" or they fear retribution by people who think they'll blame their divorce, termination, arrest, etc. on Peek Inside and affiliates.

Lets consider some basics.

The shield was created to save lives, not to kill people.  By using shields in formation, with special designs, the Roman legions were able to annihilate civilizations and enslave them.  Great job, Mr. Shield creator, right?  What a bastard -- saving lives, yeah right.  For the good of all mankind my ass.  Riiiiiight?

Truth is, if you raise your shield, sword, or whatever, you're engaging in combat.  Once you get involved down this road, you're going to discover that you probably a bad decision.  If your children are looking at porno, are you going to have a sit down talk with them or are you going to fly off the handle and give the child a psychosis?  Are you going to fire an employee for a game on their computer or are you going to relax with them and challenge them to a round or two?  Most people who are immature enough to use Peek Inside for their personal satisfaction won't be capable of making the mature decisions afterwards.

Peek Inside was written for the extreme situations involving organizations, ones that are becoming more and more common.  What are extreme situations?

1)  Sorting through 60 terabytes of information looking for source code involving nearly 500 users in order to lock down a facility.

2)  Trying to secure a facility engaged in an active hacker attack aimed to destroy evidence of fraud and embezzlement.

3)  Searching for criminal activities on networks that are production systems that protect a country's critical military infrastructure.

Notice how the terms, "finding your teenager's blog", "searching for porno on my spouse's computer", and "have an excuse to get someone fired" aren't in that list?

Here's some quick moral/ethical commentary:

I represent an organization that wishes to use Peek Inside to enforce company monitoring policy, can it be used for this?  Bingo!  Right on!  That's what Peek Inside is written for.  Following company policy is critical in proper use of Peek Inside because without documentation, discrimination charges can be filed.

I'm a boss, I distrust an employee so I ran Peek Inside on their computer and found MP3s, can I fire them?  Without proper policy,  termination of employees for having MP3s, pirated materials, or offensive materials can lead to a discrimination lawsuit.  Chances are, you're better off laying them off without using Peek Inside as an excuse.

Are you a hacker looking for K-R4D l33t t00lz?  Hunting for personal information, stealing accounts and passwords, masquerading as others, and other forms of identity theft are probably illegal and highly unethical.  You will not be loved by anyone if you use Peek Inside for these purposes even if you "get away with it".  Peek Inside is too much of a pig to be used as a stealthy tool (by design) and uses J# under .NET 2.0 which also requires a redistributable package to be installed.  In short, it gets an F- in the "sneaky" department.

Planning on using Peek Inside to check on fidelity in your relationship?  Try seeing a psychologist instead.  You may be having issues, either by allowing yourself to engage in poor choices for a partner or by being overly paranoid or protective.  Either way, don't send us an e-mail about what happens next.  There's a lot of movies (and court cases that are a matter of public record) about this sort of stuff, and they don't end happy so before you start you'd better stop.

My under eighteen years of age biological juvenile locks him/herself up in their room and uses their computer endlessly, can I use Peek Inside to make sure they are not being wooed by online sexual predators?  Sure, it could be used this way  but make certain that its legal in your area.  I'm not Dr. Dobson of  "Focus on the Family" so I can't tell you the moral and emotional repercussions (long term effects, short term effects, lots of yelling, throwing things, etc.)  Teen suicide rates are already high, so if your intent is to check and punish, you're probably doing something unethical.  This doesn't sound like a bad idea in this day and age, but we don't condone it and we don't condemn either.  Just remember, if you raise the weapon then you take responsibility for the fight.

Was Peek Inside was used "against you" and you are planning to sue us (or go for other legal recourse against whomever?)  Well, first off, the user of the software has already accepted full legal responsibility for their use of Peek Inside.  Try suing them.  They don't have money?  Neither do we, notice the "free software" statement.  We must be getting money from -somewhere-, right?  Nope, actually, no we don't.  Would be nice, but hey, we don't.  Maybe in the future, but now, not a thing.

Being vengeful and just want to see Peek Inside go away?  Just keep in mind that Peek Inside is needed by many people for legitimate reasons.  It finds needles in haystacks and its also useful in finding kidnapped children, locating massive embezzlement that ultimately is paid for by the general population, flushing out criminals who steal your identity, and other tasks that are performed tens-of-thousands-of-times each day which keep the basic day-to-day elements of your life from being compromised.