Both my husband and my sister are huge fans of crime stories. In those rare family vacations, they like to binge watch “ID”. Last week while I was ironing his shirts, there was this crime story on TV in which a man cheats on his wife with lady number one eventually moves on to lady number two. Lady number one snaps and kills this man. I overheard my sister’s commentary on how adultery is a “sin” and not the “right thing” and that lady number one would “pay for it”. It just clicked my imaginary light bulb. When I analyze, and sometimes to an annoying extent I can argue from both sides. My argument is that lady number one never “pay for” the adulterous relationship. Law will only punish her for killing a man and not for the adulterous relationship that is not defined as “crime” by any legal standards. It is not illegal but is it ethical? If you start to derive ethical standards from religion, Ten Commandments says – thou shall not covet. The full text goes like this –
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. — Exodus 20:17
Ten Commandments are considered as literal word of God. Texts from other religions have similar words for adultery. Technically, the literal translation is it is for the man to not to covet someone’s “wife”. It doesn’t give similar instructions for to covet someone’s “husband”. So, can we say this rule applies only to men and not women? I was joking as “#Feminism #WomenEmpowerment” to my sister. To quote Merriam-Webster, ethics is “rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad”. To put in context, those were the good old days (#Sarcasm) when women are treated as the property of men and not as individuals. Now these words make sense in that setting. We have evolved to give equal rights to women and thus women are accountable morally in case of one pursues a married man. Ethical standards evolve as the acceptable norms of society. As the world shrinks with technology and human migration, we moved into new realms like multi-cultural, multi-ethnic realms that directed us to new codification of human rights, civil rights, and animal rights. With technology comes the big data elephant that rampages both positive and negative disruptions in our daily lives. It is time to address the elephant in our living room. As the legal standards of data world are beginning to evolve, we should start the debate on the ethical qualms of data rights.