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Digital Corruption and It’s Ethical Challenges to the Global Leader

Once upon a time, crime was regional in character. The technological age has opened the door to digital corruption on unimaginable levels. In fact, technology has changed the nature of how crime is defined. Crime is no longer limited to murder, purgatory, and auto theft, crime has extended its reach to cyberbullying, blackmail and slander. For the global leader, the rise of digital corruption and cybercrimes should be a great concern. Most business transactions, whether the transaction is international or domestic, are processed online. Even if a service is paid with a check, the check is verified through an electronic verification system. Consider various modes of communication. While the United States Postal Services needs individuals to physically mail information, the primary mode of communication between politicians, lawyers, doctors and even pastors is through email and/or text messages. These implications cause for global leaders to operate ethically behind the door and in front of the door. Security breaches are no longer things that happen in television dramas, they are reoccurring news headlines.

In the United States, there is an entire division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation dedicated to cybercrimes. Despite the hard work of the Cyber Crimes division, when it comes to high technology, telecommunications and cyberspace, no state possesses defensible boarders (Shelley, 1998). As a result, global leaders must conduct business and foster relationships as if they are being monitored by their peers. Furthermore, global leaders have an ethical responsibility to protect the privacy of their clients while operating at a high level of integrity that superimposes the malicious (or begin) intent of cyber criminals.

Digital Financial Corruption

The rise of technology has completely outdated the need for removable disks, file cabinets and the need to physically shop inside a store. While technology has aided in unifying nations, it has also contributed to causing a greater divide in the area of cybercrimes. Louise Shelley, author of Crime and Corruption in the Digital Age projected that the 21stcentury will bring a greater technological innovation, but the legal and law enforcement is unprepared for the cyberspace criminal (Shelley, 1998). Likewise, the average global leader is unprepared for the cyberspace criminal because the majority of global leaders assume cybercrime is far away from their home.

In 1997, it was projected that international financial fraud, commercial fraud, money laundering and tax evasion would be the most important enterprise crimes of the future (Blum, 1997). Unfortunately, this projection was accurate.

Card-not-present fraud transactions made online or via phone, where the cardholder does not need to present the physical card to complete the purchase, increased 40 percent compared to 2015 (Grant, 2017).

Account takeover fraud occurs when thieves use stolen login information to access a consumer's accounts. This particular crime increased itself by 31 percent. Overall, in 2017, cyber thieves stole $16 billion, this is nearly $1 billion more than in 2015 (Grant, 2017).These statistics are alarming as well as a call to action. Unethical global leaders depend solely on their intuition and written contracts as it relates to transactions. Global leaders that deal heavily with ecommerce have an ethical responsibility to be aware of every open door that corruption can use to taint their reputation, the brand or cause the client any level of comfortability.

Even though global leaders are culturally agile, they primarily represent their country of origin. The United States of America is known as the land of the free, but in this technological age, global leaders have the opportunity to make America the land of the trustworthy, especially in the area of e-commerce. Moreover, ethical global leaders do more than set up alerts with their financial institutions, ethical global leaders value guarantee seamless transactions with their company and personal values. Ethical global leaders also commit to consistent training and development in the area of cyber security. This also requires global leaders to be transparent with the government concerning their transactions and also with their clients concerning the nature of services and their ethical commitment to their success. Oddly enough, digital corruption involves more than just financial legalities, but also relational legalities.

Online Defamation

Professionalism does not require individuals to become best friends. However, it does advocate for individuals to respect one another, even in the midst of disagreements. At some point in the global leader’s life, they will encounter individuals that they disagree with. Global leaders do not have the luxury of public discussing disagreements nor do they have luxury of discussing disagreements privately. Conversations can be recorded, altered and even shared. Likewise, emails can be hacked and even altered. Consider how the internet has changed the way reporters package their online stories. According to Harder (2008), the internet has triggered a massive transformation in the industry defamation laws. Even free speech principles, as it relates to online periodicals and ecommerce, may change in the future. Consequently, global leaders must be intentional concerning all publications, Tweets, Facebook statues, that are released with their names attached. The mere fact that there is a possibility that individuals can be imprisoned for writing an article (if it is considered defamation) may cause global leaders to become apprehensive in expressing their concerns.

Global leaders are visionaries inspired by a worldwide challenge that remains unsolved, similar to an ignored social injustice or a business opportunity that have unexploited (Cabrera & Unruh, 2012). In light of defamation laws, freedom of speech seems to be a mere illusion. Expanding the awareness of online defamation laws and its future effect on journalism, freedom of speech, and online forms of communication is a challenge within itself. The second part of this challenge lies within the global leader being able to make strategic moves and being able to handle the political backlash that accompanies advocacy. This challenge highlights the necessity of understanding blackmail and its effect on the global leader.


One of the premier cybercrimes is blackmail and extortion. The vast majority of cyber blackmail go unreported because leaders are unwilling to pay the ransom. Many leaders would consider this unethical because many leaders assume that is morally “responsible” to pay the requested ransom because it will ultimately solve the issue. However, the waters surrounded cybercrimes are extremely murky. Meeting the demands of a cyber extortionist may never unfold as planned. Likewise, denying the request of a cyber extortionist can be as equally damaging. Consider the massive cyber-attack that Sony Pictures Entertainment endured in 2014.

According to U.S. law enforcement, the North Korean government was behind the attack because of a film entitled, "The Interview”. The plot of the film involved the planned assassination of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, which evidently offended the extortionists. Sony Pictures Entertainment decided to refuse the extortionist demands and stop the film’s distribution, the hackers not only released data stolen from the company’s servers, including other unreleased movies, insider emails and sensitive employee data, but also used destructive malware to cripple many of the systems used by Sony’s employees to conduct business (Brown & Tarbell, 2015). This example exemplifies an important truth: global leaders must invest in technology and safeguards to protect them and their clients.

On the other hand, global leaders may be tempted to become extortionists with a conscious. Social media has not only brought the nations to the comfort of the cell phone, it has exposed injustice on massive scales. If global leaders choose to process their feelings, prejudices and ethnocentrism online through various social media platforms, they increase the risk of being labeled as a slanderous individual or an individual that is attempting to blackmail a corporation. Therefore, it is imperative that global leaders stand firmly behind their opinions and stances on global situations so that when their opinions are tested, they will not waver.


Christian global leaders are not only mandated to operate ethically but also in the convictions of their faith. The leadership climate of the 21stcentury is not conducive to convictions and opinions that are not considerate. As a result, digital corruption has become the weapon of choice of many individuals to expose and provoke change. Christian global leaders now have a responsibility to the world to lead with an integrity that will cofound cyber criminals and exemplify the leadership qualities of Jesus Christ, the ultimate leader.

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