Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The difference between Unethical and Illegal

From time to time we may be asked to undertake a job that does not sit comfortably in a black and white worldview. Some jobs are more suited to a particular shade of grey - where the law can be bent to suit a particular purpose. Bent, certainly, but not broken.

I guess you might label these types of jobs unethical.

Then there are the types of cases where action very clearly sits on the other side of conventional legality. There is no convenient blurring of the edges of the law here, we are asked to do the illegal.

What's the difference?

Price, mostly.

Well, so you would think. Perhaps I'm being a bit unrealistic to expect that when someone asks me to do the blatantly illegal where I am not only jeopardising my professional licence but also my livelihood, if not actual liberty - they would have the decency to at least offer a commensurate cash inducement.

Sadly, not so.

Take my latest enquiry in that direction. A Woman Scorned asked about having her partner's phone calls and mail intercepted as she wanted to know whether he was communicating with his ex. And to complicate this already illegal activity, her man was in jail. So actually it wasn't his phone that I was being asked to tap but a line belonging to the Department of Corrections.

Are you fucking serious?

Well, unless I see a bag containing several tens of thousands of dollars - not that I am implying that I would necessarily undertake such a task - I can only assume that you are not.

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