CMSC 198I: The Science behind Computing: What makes Web Search, Navigation Systems and Social Media work?

Spring 2012

Section 0101 and 0102

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Group 1: Should sales of items made online be taxed? Why or why not? Which state should collect the tax on the transaction?

Group 2: Is it ethical for a company to profit from the work produced by others without giving royalties (for example by using something they find online)?

Group 3: Should companies that collect data about individuals sell this data for profit (say for marketing purposes)? Should they share these profits with the people whose data is being sold?

Group 4: Should companies be allowed to sell items on websites that are banned in certain countries? What if a Dutch internet company was enabling the sale of narcotics in the US? Is the Dutch company to be held responsible?

Group 5: What do you think of a search company storing all of your search history and all kinds of information about you to “personalize search"?

Group 6: Should there be a law that forbids people from sending email to thousands of people (spam)?

Group 7: Should amazon be allowed to give you an app that lets you walk into a store and take a photograph of any object to “comparison shop”?

Group 8: Should companies be allowed to look at your tweets and facebook postings in order to decide if they want to hire you or not?

Group 9: Is it ethical for a company to give you a discount on a product they are selling if in turn you agree to write a good review about their product?

Group 10: What do you think of online impersonation? What laws should exist to forbid this? For example, I could create an email account “” and send email to people. Should this be a punishable crime?

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