Ethics Case Studies Paper on Whistle Blowing

Whistle Blowing

Based on the case of Edward Snowden, whistle blowing can be defined as the revelation of government information considered confidential.  The conduct of Edward Snowden amounted to criminal allegations.  In terms of the contractual duties of the NSA, Edward Snowden was to be charged due to the revelation of the unauthorized disclosures without any government authorization.  The information was considered the property of the government and thus, the disclosures implied criminal intentions by Edward for private individuals.  According to the various reports, Edward Snowden is the fifth whistle blower to give out information on the operations of the NSA (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, 2014).

In the case of NSA and Snowden, Edward Snowden was able to infiltrate the NSA by applying for a position in the firm that provided comprehensive technical expertise for the NSA.   At his position, he was able to obtain key documents of the NSA by using his position to gain access to sensitive government documents.  Snowden has revealed that his intention was to obtain the government secrets through the position applied in the company. Under the contractual obligations of Snowden, it can be seen that he disclosed information leading to massive illegality and misconduct of the NSA confidentiality of information (Galveston, 2014).  This led to the increased fears of despotic control by private and criminal individuals in the country.   The magnitude of the surveillance details leaked was high, as it targeted the high-ranking political and legal officials in the government.  The revelations insist that the documents included intelligence, judicial, and military information that affects confidence on the government operations.

The acts of whistle blowing by Edward Snowden cannot be said to be legitimate due to the massive misconduct and illegality caused by his actions. Thus, whistle blowing is an illegal action that must be punished under the law in order to uphold the secrecy of sensitive government documents and top secrets. Later, Snowden was fired from Booz Allen due to the violations of the code of conduct and the ethical values of the organizations. The organization and the codes of information technology provide that the workers and the firms should maintain the confidentiality of their client’s information, in this case, the NSA. However, Snowden had ill motives to violate the ethical provisions stated in the codes of conduct.  The NSA programs revelations had a lot of impact on the government ability to secure information and documents.  It also forms an act of civil disobedience to the laws set by the citizens.  Such actions should have strict legal consequences in order to discourage further violations of the rules. According to the legal reforms, then rule of law should be keen on promoting compliance of the confidentiality regulations and laws (Snowden honored…, 2013).

In contrast to other whistleblowers that did not use the government challenges to make their disclosures, Snowden used the media to reveal his discoveries and surveillance of NSA.  This made his attempts successful unlike other whistleblowers. Edward Snowmen remains at large from the authority of the government while the exposed NSA officials enjoy comfortable security and paychecks in then government.  However, a democratic enterprise system provides that the whistleblowers comprises of the fundamental individuals to enhance confidence in the society. Whistle blowing seeks to speak out in order to respects the citizens by advocating for integrity and social responsibility for the leaders and the government officials.

In the case of Edward Whistle blowing, some ethics on information technology were violated.  In every profession, there are set obligations that guide the actions and decision-making of the persons.  Since, any decision made by the professional may have serious consequences on the reputation of the organizations they serve.  The concepts of ethics of information technology profession provide that the IT experts should have relevant skills, certification, licensing, and maintaining the values that include confidentiality of information.  The case of whistle blowing violated the principles of disclosure of information in information technology profession. It requires that the confidential information should be disclosed to appropriate persons and authorities in order to minimize any dangers or hazards associated with the documentation (Galveston, 2014).

In order to address the matter, the professionals are required to possess relevant professional skills that enhance public education in the organizations.  Most importantly, the information technology principles provide for the concept of virtue ethics. The concept of virtue ethics creates a relevant motivation for morals and good behavior in the society.  The virtue ethics advocates on the principles of loyalty, courteousness, dependability and significant social interactions.  Edward acted in contrast to the principles of virtue ethics in information technology. This forms the basis of ethical violation by the cases of whistle blowing in the society.  The professionals should have ethical concerns on the implications of their disclosures in the immediate environment and the effects to be felt. It clearly emphasizes on the need to maintain integrity in the performance of the activities in the workplace.  Considering the principles of information technology, Edward did not act with integrity and, thus caused many negative effects in the society of the government (Snowden honored…, 2013)

The case of whistle blowing overrides the rights and duties of the employers to control the competing interests in the organizations.  Whistleblowers are perceived negatively.  It seeks to view the whistleblowers as disloyal and thus, they are subjected to harassment or even termination of employment.  Maintenance of effective compliance systems assist in aligning with the internal disclosures systems to offer relevant whistleblower incentives.  In the field of information technology, there is a need to create relevant corporate environment that enhances integrity and compliance with the rules and procedures set by the management.  These incentives whistle blowing in the organization in order to promote compliance. The NSA guidelines call for increased confidentiality and compliance with disclosures regulations. This is due to the nature of information handled by the agency (WVU features…, 2014). Edward Snowden understanding the confidential and regulations of disclosure revealed the NSA operations. This violates the information technology provisions for confidentiality and disclosures in the agency.

On the other hand, the senior leader should review the perception on whistle blowing as an aspect of showing loyalty rather than it being a violation.  If whistle blowing would have been the cultural norm, the legal and ethical matters would not have been raised. In addition, it would enhance transparency and quality of the internal controls in the society.   Thus, only changes in the leadership and communication would accept whistle blowing in the organizations.  Currently, whistle blowing is violation of the information technology on maintaining confidentiality and integrity.  If the whistleblowers observe any violations, they should take the procedural justice and legal process that promotes compliance (Galveston, 2014). However, there is an ethical imbalance on the reporting on the violations to the judicial systems subject to ethical decision-making.

There was a violation of the information technology in the whistle blowing also following the confidentiality contracts. The various organizations and agency provides confidential contracts to their employee to enhance the confidential operation of its services. The contractual agreements have strict legal and ethical obligations that must be followed by all members. If the person agrees to abide by the confidential nature of the operations, the provisions of the agreements are binding (Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower, 2014). Thus, any breach of the confidential contracts affects the legitimacy of the person operating in the workplace. Edward proved to be incompliant to the NSA provision of confidentiality by whistle blowing the government secrets to the public.  The situation was both unethical and illegal about the preservation of the materials secrets of the NSA operations. As a result, Edward lacks substantial legal and ethical grounds to support its actions.

In the proper assessment of the whistle blowing activities, it is relevant to publicize the information that relates to illegal operations in the society.  However, the disclosures made by Edward meets the criteria and thus it causes a violation of the confidentiality agreements that minimizes the information disclosures (WVU features…, 2014). The codes of ethics of information technology provide certain remedies to avoid the enforcement of the contractual obligations.  However, the exceptions do not apply in the case of Edward due to the nature of his unlawful actions. The actions were deemed unlawful and harm the government’s constitutionality to promote confidentiality of the sensitive information in the society.  Based on the various provision and evidence on the case, Edward Snowden violated the ethic codes of information technology profession (O’Neil, 2013). It followed his ill intentions and actions that violated the confidentiality and contractual obligations of the firms.





Edward Snowden fired by Booz Allen after NSA leaks. (2013).CBSNEWS. Retrieved from

Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower (2014)..New York Times. Retrieved from

Galveston, W. (2014). A case for clemency for Snowden. The Economist.

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics (2014).  David DeCosse: Edward Snowden and the Moral Worth of Civil Disobedience. RELIGION & ETHICS WEEKLY. Retrieved from.

O’Neil, B. (2013). The ethics of whistle blowing . Ludwig von Mises Institute. Retrieved from

Snowden honored by U.S. whistleblowers in Moscow as his father arrives, hoping to visit (2013). The Washington Post. Retrieved from.

WVU features guest talk on whistleblower Edward Snowden and leaking information (2014).WVU Today. Retrieved from.