Communications of the IIMA


Lying motivated by a fear of misusing private information is a key issue in ethics with many important applications in law, business, politics, and psychology. In this paper, lying is separated according to two types of assertions: lying about non-private information and lying about private information. This distinction is applied to the case of the 'known murderer' in the context of Kant's categorical imperative. The main result of the paper is narrowing the ethical dilemma to a choice between 'a zero private information society' and 'an alTlying-about-private-information society'. We claim that privacy as a universal requirement supports lying about private information in order to avoid harm. This thesis has been applied to a current situation where customers, who are lying about their private information, are met with moral outrage and loss of credibility. Our conclusion is that enterprises have to modify their strategies and consider lying about private information, mainly, as a descriptive non-moral phenomenon that can be handled through primarily non-normative measures.