Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/6/2020: Question, Questions…

Good morning?

1. Is this is a Catch 22 or what? In order to start using Adobe Acrobat in the Creative Cloud “suite,” you must agree to Adobe’ s new Terms of Use. However, a user can’t  read the Terms of Use until after he or she agrees to the Terms of Use.  Among the provisions in those terms is this…

14.1 Process. If you have any concern or dispute, you agree to first try to resolve the dispute informally by contacting us. If a dispute is not resolved within 30 days of receipt by us, any resulting legal actions must be resolved through final and binding arbitration, including any question of whether arbitration is required, except that you may assert claims in small claims court if your claims qualify. Claims related to the Terms, Services, or Software are permanently barred if not brought within one year of the event resulting in the claim.

That’s right: you have to agree not to sue  them.

Rob  Beschizza posted a video online showing him futilely  clicking the “Terms of Use” link only to be prevented from reading them because he hadn’t agreed to the Terms of Use.  As he points out, almost nobody—yes, not even lawyers—reads these fine print, intentionally verbose and obscure conditions before they agree to  terms of use, but that’s the users’  fault. Being forced to agree to terms before it is possible to read them is another kettle of fish. That’s con-man stuff. That makes it an invalid contract.

Of course, a company that tries this stunt assumes that when it produces a lawyer-signed statement reminding  dissatisfied customers of the terms they signed, that will be sufficient to discourage any further action.

2. In a mass shooting any excuse for this? Watch this video of an arrest by Canadian police in Lethbridge, Alberta:

A  young woman  dressed as an Empire Storm Trooper and carrying a plastic “blaster” on May the Fourth (…”be with you!”) to promote her employer’s cafe was surrounded by four officers, guns drawn, then tackled—bloodying her nose—cuffed and arrested. Lethbridge Police Inspector Jason Walper said  his department received  two 911 calls regarding  someone brandishing a weapon.

Apparently there really are people, at least in Canada, who have never seen “Star Wars.” But what are the odds that none of the four police were aware that this was a costume? Surely the rational approach to the silly situation would be to ask the woman to  take off her helmet and explain what she was doing before they attacked her. If the girl had been black, and this had occurred in the U.S., the NAACP would be demanding an investigation.

Canadians are trying to mitigate the stupidity here by noting that everyone is traumatized by the nation’s  mass shooting last month that left 22 dead. And, I suppose, a Storm Trooper outfit could have been a diabolical hit man’s clever disguise. I suppose.

Only 22? Heck, in the U.S., that’s chicken feed! Continue reading

Ethics Observations On A Journalism Scandal

washington-post-logo

Shame.

Executive Summary: Washington Post reporters Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin wrote a story for the website’s Wonkblog headlined, “The biggest lease holder in Canada’s oil sands isn’t Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It’s the Koch brothers.” The story was essentially false. It was based on easily disproved data from a progressive activist organization. Eilperin has close ties to both the environmental advocates opposing the Keystone pipeline, and desperately trying to turn public opinion against it. She also has tied to the White House. John Hinderaker, on Powerline, his respected conservative politics blog, exposed the Post story as a blatant misinformation with a likely political motive. The reporters responded with a jaw-dropping rationalization, and are currently being excoriated by the Post’s readers online.

The Facts: The Post article by Mufson and Eilperin begins: Continue reading