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Ethics in IT

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Information Technology Ethical Challenges Read article by Arindam Chaudhuri on Internet Hooliganism published in The Sunday Indian (23rd May to 29th May 2011) page 28.

IT and Ethics • Who is responsible? • Who is affected? • Should IT Professionals be in the ethics business? – Training – Refer ethical issues to HR

• Development • Implementation • Application

Ethical Behaviors?

– Is your 80 gigabyte hard drive full? • Music and videos

– That sure is a great music where did you get it? • Downloading of music from the web

– Have you given a friend a copy of your Microsoft Project software? • Software Piracy

– Did you read the confidential company file that was accidentally attached to your email? • Computer abuse

– Did you gain access to the network and invade other workers emails and files? • Computer abuse

– You formatted your hard drive prior to leaving your company because you were angry about leaving. • Destruction of property

Information Technology Ethics •

New ethical considerations may be required with technology capabilities

– Email spamming

• Does the fact that the financial burden of unsolicited ads etc. now falls on the recipient not the sender create new rules?

– Digital photography

• What obligations does a anyone have to present an undoctored photo, even if the message is not as good as the digitally enhanced photo?

– Pornography access

• What security measures need to be put in place by schools, parents, companies and libraries to keep individuals from seeing inappropriate materials?

– Intellectual property

• Do we need better/clearer definitions of property?

– Globalization of the organization

• What do we need to better understand cultures, language, and behaviors?

Information Technology Ethics • Some users view their computing actions as less serious than their actions in the “real world”

– Examples: • Stealing software from a store – no way! …. – However, SW piracy costs businesses billions of dollars per year

• Most of us would not pick a lock to someone’s house – However, guessing passwords to gain access to a website, information, or programs is a common

• Sometimes the technology is not well understood…romance and fear may accompany new technologies. – Movies, books, TV capitalize on this fear and romance and make unethical or illegal actions seem heroic, or necessary

Challenges: Code of Ethics • No Form of licensing for computer professionals – Results in no real way to enforce ethical standards within the computing field – There is movement within the industry to create a licensing process but there are many issues to be resolved • What will be included on the exam? • How often will an IT professional be required to renew the license?

• Developed by several organizations – – – –

Adoption Implementation Monitoring Example: http://www.acm.org/constitution/code.html ‘acm’ association for computer machinery

Challenges: Commerce • • • • • •

Fraud Taxation Free Trade Gambling Auctions Spamming – Who were Canter and Siegel? – Spamming cell phones?

• Term papers for sale – Atlanta Journal Constitution aritcle

Challenges: Workplace • • • • • •

Accessibility Ergonomics Outsourcing Telecommuting Customer relationships – Vendor relationships Should IT professionals be in the ethics business or should other areas of the business handle these issues? • Monitoring – Should your employer have the right to monitor private email messages? – What are the two most popular Web sites for American workers? Playboy and ESPN

Challenges:Workplace • • • • • • • • •

62% of employers monitor employees' eMail and Internet use. 68% cite legal liability as the primary reason to monitor. 87% of companies that monitor have a written eMail Policy, 83.1% an Internet Policy, 68% a Software Policy. 51% of employers have disciplined or terminated employees for violating ePolicy. 35% of organizations have eMail retention & deletion policies in place. 10% of companies have been ordered by courts to turn over employee eMail related to workplace lawsuits. 8.3% of organizations have battled sexual harassment and/or sexual discrimination claims stemming from employee e-mail and/or Internet use.

Source: The 2001 Electronic Policies & Practices Survey from The American Management Association, US News & World Report, and The ePolicy Institute-Click Here for Survey Results.

Music Downloads

• Risk of getting caught – Studies have shown that a majority of the people who share music on the Internet are aware that their actions are illegal, said Michael McGuire, an analyst with the Gartner Group. ``But they also know that the chances of getting caught are pretty remote'' – Why is “getting caught remote”? • There are an estimated 60 million peer-to-peer network subscribers in the United States alone, with tens of millions more in other countries

– The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is seeking out people who make their music files available for others to download. • The networks have features that allow users to block others from downloading their files but allow them to continue to download files

Challenges: Computing Resource Abuse • Computers in the Workplace and the Classroom – Use or Abuse – Internet Access – Instant Messenger – Laptop use in the classroom – Email • Legal document • Can be modified • Flaming

– Access – Computer Usage policy – Email policy

Challenges: Computing Resource Abuse • Computer Crime – Viruses – Hackers – Theft – “These cyber swindles and dot-cons present new challenges to law enforcement” said John Ashcroft – US Charges 135 With Net Crimes

Challenges: Privacy • Privacy issues are at the top of the list in regards to ethical use of information. • • • • •

Loss of control Misuse of information Risk to physical privacy Risk of identity theft (video) Unwanted intrusions into daily life

• USA Patriot Act (post 9/11) • Efforts to detect and deter terrorist activity • Datamining corporate data • Loss of business and risk of lawsuits due customers being outraged at their loss of data privacy

• Cookies • Privacy policies

Challenges: Intellectual Property • • • •

Electronic Copyright Licensing Interoperability (is the ability of diverse systems and organizations to work together (inter-operate). The term is often used in a technical systems engineering) Licensing



MP3



Internet Downloads

– Cyber-licenses – Shrink wrap (a material made up of polymer plastic film. When heat is applied it shrinks tightly over whatever it is covering) – Shareware – Freeware – RIAA court case against college students – University Internet Usage policies – Files – Graphics – Text

Challenges: Intellectual Property • • • •

Electronic Copyright Licensing Interoperability Licensing – – – –

Cyberlicenses Shrinkwrap Shareware Freeware

• MP3 – RIAA court case against college students – University Internet Usage policies

• Internet Downloads – Files – Graphics – Text

Challenges: Intellectual Property •

Patent, trade secrets, and copyright law – –



Software Piracy – – – – – –



Who owns the program Who owns the algorithm Why shouldn't I use pirated software? Who am I hurting by doing so? Piracy exists in everywhere. Loss of revenue hurts everyone. All software piracy is illegal and Software piracy is unethical. Various studies have found that the software industry loses approximately $12 billion every year . State Industry Study

CD-RW

Challenges: Other • Decision making using Expert Systems • Network Security • Software accuracy and reliability who is ethically responsible? – Therac-25 Accidents – Killer Robots – The Hughes Whistleblowing Case

Conclusion: Some Ideas to Ponder •

Computer ethics today is now a global effort – The gap among the rich and poor nations, rich and poor citizens exists. How can it be eliminated or reduced eithically and morally to provide information and services that will move them to into the world of cyberspace? – Will the poor be cut off from job opportunities, education, entertainment, medical care, shopping, voting - because they cannot afford a connection to the global information network? – Whose laws will apply in cyberspace when hundreds of countries are incorporated into the global network?



What happened? Where did our knowing right from wrong go too? – Are we missing an opportunity to introduce ethics at an early age in children by not integrating these thoughts and practices in video games? – Should more controls and regulations be introduced into the system? Will they actually help to improve our moral and ethical behavior?



Unethical behavior continues to permeate industry, what measures, policies, codes of conduct be changed to change this behavior?

Works Cited: • http://www.brook.edu/dybdocroot/its/cei/overview/Ten_Co mmanments_of_Computer_Ethics.htm • http://www.computingcases.org/case_materials/case_materi als.html • http://www.epolicyinstitute.com/ • http://legacy.eos.ncsu.edu/eos/info/computer_ethics/ • http://www.spa.org/piracy/ • http://www.nd.edu/~rbarger/cases.html • http://ksuweb.kennesaw.edu/~kschwaig/present.ppt

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