Ethics & Society Newsfeed: February 3, 2017

 

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Politics

Betsy DeVos’s ethics review raises further questions for Democrats and watchdogs
Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee to lead the Education Department, promised to divest from more than 100 entities to avoid potential conflicts of interest with her new job. Questions left unanswered.

Donald Trump warned over ‘unprecedented’ plan to appoint cabinet without ethics office checks, emails reveal
Disclosed emails from the head of the ethics office warn President aides staffing a cabinet with robust oversight is a ‘tradition evolved as a result of hard lessons’

South Dakota Governor Signs Measure Reversing Voter Ethics
Governor of South Dakota signed a bill Thursday overturning an anti-corruption measure passed by a majority of voters in November, to the consternation of government watchdog groups.

Trump And His Organization Lawyer Up For The Ethics War Ahead
President Trump and the Trump Organization are beefing up their legal teams against an expected surge of conflict-of-interest allegations.

Teaching Ethics In The Trump Era
Graduate-level professor asks how to tell students ethics is important when “nothing around them feels ethical” re: Trump administration and conflicts of interest.

Bioethics

Human-pig hybrids might be unsettling. But they could save lives.
A new study out of California unsettled a lot of people last week after revealing that scientists had, for the first time, made part-human, part-pig embryos — referred to as “chimeras.” Raises ethical questions.

Could changing the way doctors are paid help narrow health disparities?
A study suggests that changing the way doctors and hospitals are paid could narrow some of the health disparities between poorer and wealthier patients.

Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Could Shape Bioethics for Generations
Neil Gorsuch, nominee for the US Supreme Court, has spent his career weighing matters of life and death. His views on life—that it is sacred and “intrinsically valuable”—are likely to shape court decisions in areas from abortion to assisted suicide for decades to come.

The Truth About How Parents Like Chrissy Teigen Can “Pick” The Sex Of A Child
Celebrity sparks discussion on picking sex of a child using IVF technologies.

Why Tom Price’s Biotech Stock Has Medical Ethicists Worried

Trump’s nominee for health and human services secretary, Tom Price (R-Ga) questioned over conflict of interest in his trading in health care company stock which may violate “congressional ethics regulations.”

Doctors prescribed me pain meds but couldn’t help me get off them
Should physicians be required to assist in treatment of foreseeable side effects after prescribing pain medications?

Environmental Ethics

Ethical Environmental Tourism Is The Future
Five things to consider when travelling if you want to make a difference in the lives of animals

World’s poorest countries to aim for 100% green energy
Representatives from 47 of the world’s most disadvantaged nations have pledged to generate all their future energy needs from renewables.

Religion

The Myth That Christianity Provides Ethical Guidance
Explicitly Christian signs have featured prominently in the recent protests against President Donald Trump’s immigrant and refugee ban: “Love thy neighbor.” “Jesus was a refugee.” “You call yourselves Christians?”

Christian Leaders Question Trump’s Promise To Favor Christian Refugees
President Trump is promising to give priority to Christians fleeing persecution — yet some of the strongest criticism of his executive order is coming from Christian leaders themselves.

Business and Social Media

Another Live-Streamed Suicide Puts Spotlight on Social Media Ethics
A teenage girl committed suicide early Sunday morning while streaming live on Facebook, the latest disturbing incident to be spread via social media.

Facebook Doesn’t Need a Chief Ethics Officer
Mark Zuckerberg insisted that fake news on Facebook played no role in electing Trump. But Facebook recently hiring former TV news journalist Campbell Brown to develop a different approach to editing, curating, and filtering news.

The Surprise Ethics Lesson of Wells Fargo
The scandal that recently enveloped Wells Fargo teaches an important lesson about running an ethical business.

Artificial Intelligence

Apple joins research group for ethical AI with fellow tech giants
As artificial intelligence becomes an increasingly powerful force, some of the world’s biggest companies are worrying about how the technology will be used ethically, and how the public will perceive its spread.

Whatever happened to the DeepMind AI ethics board Google promised?
Google bought the artificial intelligence company three years ago, part of the deal was setting up an ethics board –  where is it?

Fashion

Most people don’t care about ethical fashion
Study from 2016 finds that “astonishing number of people are not interested in taking ethics into consideration when making fashion purchases.

Ethical Fashion Becomes The Rule. The Celebrity Wishmaker Simonetta Lein Meets Designer Ilaria Venturini Fendi
Fashion can lead us to a cultural revolution where what we wear can be sustainable, with a story, representing our values and dreams. Simonetta Lein

Sustainable and hi-tech fashion at Berlin’s Green and Ethical Show
This year a record 179 fashion brands took part in Berlin’s Green and Ethical Show.

‘Family is Family’: Why Intel’s New Adoption & Fertility Policies are a Step in the Right Direction

sperm and eggs
Via freedigitalphotos.net

By Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.

This week Intel announced new job benefit policies that include tripling their adoption assistance program, and quadrupling their fertility coverage, noting, “family is family – no matter what it looks like.”

This comes after the company unveiled an expanded “family bonding leave” policy in January, which allows employees who are new parents to take up to eight weeks of paid leave, in addition to the existing pregnancy policy that provides new mothers with up to 13 weeks of paid time off. The “family bonding leave” can be taken any time within the first 12 months of a child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

Continue reading “‘Family is Family’: Why Intel’s New Adoption & Fertility Policies are a Step in the Right Direction”

Terminating therapy, Facebook policies, Incorporating spirituality and treatment of LGBT clients & More: Dr. Celia B. Fisher addresses the ethical conduct of clinical psychology

 

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Clinical psychologists can face ethical dilemmas on a daily basis as a result of the nature of their work: clients revealing confidential and sensitive information during each session. Questions such as how to ethically terminate therapy and avoid “abandoning” a client, or how best to ethically address religious and spiritual issues in psychotherapy involving LGBT clients arise regularly in practice.

In January, Center for Ethics Education Director Dr. Celia B. Fisher gave a webinar on the ethical conduct of clinical psychology for the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) addressing these, and other ethical issues that occur in the practice of psychology.

Continue reading “Terminating therapy, Facebook policies, Incorporating spirituality and treatment of LGBT clients & More: Dr. Celia B. Fisher addresses the ethical conduct of clinical psychology”

Options or oppression: What do new egg freezing job benefits mean for women?

Egg storage for IVF. Apple and Facebook are to offer the perk alongside other benefits for staff. Photograph: Science Photo Library/Getty Images
Egg storage for IVF.  Photograph: Science Photo Library/Getty Images

By: Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.

Ever since the news broke on Tuesday of Facebook and Apple’s new policy of including egg freezing as a job benefit for women, there has been significant discussion and controversy surrounding the strategy. While debate on issues pertaining to gender and awareness of fertility and reproductive ethics issues is always welcome, we must also consider what implications this policy will have for women; namely, whether egg freezing could be used to limit or control women’s reproductive options.

Continue reading “Options or oppression: What do new egg freezing job benefits mean for women?”

Issues of Research Ethics in the Facebook ‘Mood Manipulation’ Study: The Importance of Multiple Perspectives

 

By: Michelle Broaddus, Ph.D.

A new study using Facebook data to study “emotional contagion,” and the ensuing backlash of its publication offers the opportunity to examine several ethical principles in research. One of the pillars of ethically conducted research is balancing the risks to the individual participants against the potential benefits to society or scientific knowledge. While the study’s effects were quite small, the authors argue that “given the massive scale of social networks such as Facebook, even small effects can have large aggregated consequences.” However, participants were not allowed to give informed consent, which constitutes a risk of the research and the major source of the backlash.

Continue reading “Issues of Research Ethics in the Facebook ‘Mood Manipulation’ Study: The Importance of Multiple Perspectives”

Issues of Research Ethics in the Facebook ‘Mood Manipulation’ Study: The Importance of Multiple Perspectives (full text)

 

By: Michelle Broaddus, Ph.D.

A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes a mood manipulation experiment conducted by Facebook scientists during one week in 2012 that suggests evidence of “emotional contagion,” or the spread of positive and negative affect between people. The backlash to this publication has been significant. As two examples, Slate.com published a piece entitled “Facebook’s Unethical Experiment: It intentionally manipulated users’ emotions without their knowledge” and The Atlantic’s piece, “Even the Editor of Facebook’s Mood Study Thought It Was Creepy.”

Continue reading “Issues of Research Ethics in the Facebook ‘Mood Manipulation’ Study: The Importance of Multiple Perspectives (full text)”

HIV Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute Fellow Publishes Study on HIV Testing and Facebook

Dr. Sean D. Young, a 2013 Fordham University Research Ethics Training Institute Fellow

While Facebook may be used primarily to reconnect with old friends and share vacation photos, a recent study suggests that it  may also be an important tool in HIV prevention.

A new study by Fordham University HIV Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute Fellow Dr. Sean D. Young of UCLA found that using social media and online communities not only leads to increased HIV testing and encourages significant behavior change among high risk groups, but also turns out to be one of the best HIV-prevention and testing approaches on the Internet.

Continue reading “HIV Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute Fellow Publishes Study on HIV Testing and Facebook”