Ethics in Private Investigation

Quite a fashionable cliché, it is best that ethics or ethical standards be discussed first before proceeding to the issue involving private investigators. What is ethics? And why do we need them? Ethics is derived form the Greek word “ethos” which means a characteristic way of acting. The Latin equivalent of ethics is “mos” or “mores”, from which come the word moral and morality. Ethics evolved when the most prominent Ancient Greek philosophers namely Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle developed principles and theories involving human actions.

Ethics is defined accordingly as the science of the morality of human acts. From this definition along came the great question of HOW MORAL IS OUR HUMAN ACTION? Perhaps the approach involved in arriving at an answer is subjective. That is, if one thinks that following a person even in his private dealings is OK or morally permissible since it is a job as a private investigator, then it is considerably accepted as permissible notwithstanding the fact of invading the privacy of an individual.

It is simply necessary that people understand ethics as acting with full awareness and consciousness of the rules and laws of the country, norms, customs and expectations of the society, the principles of morality, policies of an association. Man does not act aimlessly. His every action is done for a purpose. The purpose of human acts is significant because it defines the nature of an act and reveals the moral judgment of the doer. The end of the doer is the motive or reason why a person performs an act. Thus, when a private investigator hacks or enters in a person’s computer, he is doing this for finding possible information necessary for his job.

Moral issues are inescapable in life and principles of norms, morality and ethics provide us an index with which we determine and judge our decisions. Ethics also gives us a technique to weight other people’s actions and behaviors. Ethics becomes the bedrock for private investigation professionals to judge the behaviors of other people. There are a number of speculations and myths of what people think about private investigators task and business of conducting investigation and gathering of information. Most often than not, these speculations have shed negative feedbacks on them. The only necessary tool in order to correct the public’s perception about private investigators is the institution of professional conduct. This professional conduct serves as a framework within which a private investigator performs his obligations and duties at work.

Private Investigators have a structure by which they can weigh and evaluate their choices and decisions. Federal and State rules and regulations are there to limit or restrict the actions and decisions of these detectives. When laws are not established, necessarily “common sense” enters into the limelight, and by this comes out few questions to consider: what are the choices, issues and consequences of the action? It has been a natural law that in every action there is always a corresponding reaction or consequence that action. In making ethical choices, the results of every action made by a professional are most likely positive, but when errors of judgment encompass ethical norms, then negative results would typically arise. Choosing private investigation as a professions requires responsibility to carry very precise duties and obligations which include justice, truth, fairness, and most important of all, the integrity.