I do not think there are moral or ethical issues involved in going to boot camps, where they do indeed "shamelessly teach to the exams." They do not reproduce questions verbatim, even though they will often come very close. I worry about boot camps for practical reasons: How much of the information that gets crammed into somebody's head in a week or two will they remember two, three or more months later?
That said, most responsible boot camp vendors require attendees to have at least one year's experience with the tools and technologies being taught, so they can concentrate primarily on exam preparation. I would be very worried about entrusting my systems or networks to somebody whose only experience with tools and technologies came from a boot camp; but for those already in the know just trying to get certified, it's not such a big deal. According to boot camp operators I've interviewed, about 75-80% of all attendees there have their costs covered by employers or some other source of funding (scholarship, VA/GI Bill, etc.). That tells me that it's expedient for employers to send their people to boot camps, and probably explains why they remain so popular.
This was first published in March 2003