Ethics can be defined as the rules of behaviour based on ideas about what is morally good and bad. Computer ethics, therefore, means a set of moral principles that regulate the use of computers. Computer ethics extends not only to computers per se but also to computer-based devices such as cell phones, CCTV cameras, GPS trackers among other devices.
The concept of implanting GPS microchips into pets by veterinarians seems like an innovative way of applying technology to our everyday life since the same can be used to easily track pets when they get lost. However, this process violates the animal rights since the said chips have been found to be life threatening. A number of veterinary and toxicology experiments, dating to the mid-1990s, revealed that chip implants had "induced" malignant tumours in some lab rats. Top cancer specialists in the USA have warned that no further implants should be done on humans until proper research is done conclusively.
Having GPS enabled chip implants in children is unethical, potentially unhealthy and an obvious violation of child rights for any child including teenagers. Children should not be subjected to such and should only choose to have the chips implanted when they reach the age of majority or when they are old enough to be able to understand the consequences of their actions. In that regards if there was a Bill in congress seeking to implant ID chips in children of ages less than five, I would not support it. It is obvious that the risks outweigh the benefits. If it is important to have the chips then perhaps that should be installed in accessories such as watches and necklaces.
In relation to the installation GPS trackers, in cabs in as much as it is an intrusion of privacy, it is a necessary security measure for both drivers and passengers and would help reduce incidences of carjacking. When a cab company chooses to install the GPS trackers, their focus is to ensure that the cab is always in route and to ensure that the driver does not undertake side jobs with the same cab. On the other hand, in relation to the government policy, the focus is on the protection of citizens.
Under these circumstances, computer ethics boils down to a balance between the benefits and the connected risks. In the case of implanting the chips in children, the risks outweigh the benefits and as such it would be unethical to implant them. In relation to the installation of GPS trackers in taxi cabs, the benefits outweigh the risks and the general rights of the citizens outweigh that of the individual.
Moor, J. H. (2007). What is Computer Ethics? Metaphilosophy, 266-275.
Weckert, J. (2009). Computer ethics: Future directions. Ethics and Information Technology, 93-96.