Susie Co-ed was ill prepared for her sociology exam. The teacher stepped out of the classroom for a moment during the exam and Susie decided to sneak a peek at what she believed was the "key". When pressed by her peers to share her information, she generously did so. Of course, all this was unknown to the teacher.
We need to address the situation as it occurred. First Susie was ill prepared that is a given. What is not given is the why. There could have been an emergency in her family, work might have been stressful, the pressures to succeed may have stressed her, or she was just outright lazy and did not prepare. Any one of those givens, she knew she was not prepared and went into that exam looking for an easy answer. The reason I address that is because it shows possible intent to cheat, to act deviant. It would have been just as possible that she would have created a "cheat sheet" as to see the key and use it. .
The situation given deals with three ethnical concerns: the right to privacy, confidentiality, and informed consent. We will first review and define each ethical concern and then apply them to the situation.
The right to privacy is an individual's right to have full protection in person and in property is a principle as old as the common law; but it has been found necessary from time to time to define anew the exact nature and extent of such protection. The professor had a right to privacy in his/her classroom. The "key" to the test is only to be viewed by the professors and school staff if need be. In this situation Susie blatantly cheated and broke the rules not only of the college but also of society. .
Confidentiality derives from the root word confidential and is defined in Webster's Dictionary as: 1: marked by intimacy or willingness to confide; ; 2: PRIVATE, SECRET ; 3: entrusted with confidences ; 4: containing information whose unauthorized disclosure could be prejudicial to the national interest; compare SECRET, TOP SECRET.