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Unethical Perspectives and Unintended Consequences, Research Paper Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1390

Research Paper

Technology is continuing to grow at rapid speed. The world is becoming more dependent on tools of technology and the internet is becoming the go to place for information, shopping, networking, and business. Technology has a multi-faceted usage, it creates a way for people across the world to communicate, a way to keep people alive, and way to change the world. However, technology also has several vices that many critics questions its ethics. Ethical challenges in information technology include the right to privacy, cases of fraud, social responsibility, and restrictions on trade. Technology serves a world of good, however, in the wrong hands it can also cause a world of hurt. Using the aid of Rochelle Brooks, “The Development Of A Code Of Ethics: An Online Classroom Approach To Making Connections Between Ethical Foundations And The Challenges Presented By Information Technology,” among other resources this research paper will conduct an analysis in which to study the ethics of information technology including societal ethics, development of a code of ethics, the enforcement of a code of ethics, and how it can be used in an academic setting.

Societal ethical changes caused by information technology

Societal ethic changes have great impact on information technology. Technology has changed and evolved within the industry as what would have been a decade ago where only a handful had the power of technology, mostly anyone with access IT systems and use it in an unethical manner. As technology moves towards a day-to-day necessity within society, Information Technology must address the societal changes that have impacted IT and vice versa. In that respect IT must be responsible. “Social responsibility has to do with being a good person in different parts of the community,” (Brooks, 2010) Amoroso says. “It determines how you will function and do your job in a societal sense, not just as part of the community you do philanthropy with.” (Brooks, 2010) IT managers are in position where they full control and unprecedented access into their company’s infrastructure. The moral dilemma in today’s society is for the IT manager to remain ethical while accessing information that should, not reporting activity they should, and looking the other way when they know something done within the company by the higher ups are wrong. “An ethical issue is said to arise whenever one party in pursuit of its goals engages in behavior that materially affects the ability of another party to pursue its goals.” (Mason, 1995) These societal changes are elevated as people are able to gain access into other’s personal information using it for their gain, obtaining trade secrets by reengineering, and harassing others through information technology. Due to these changes, the law has changed along with it.

The ethical usage of information technology

The ethical usage of IT is rooted it is many benefits that include giving people all over the world the power and the access to communicate, network, shop, research, and develop. However, just as there are positives there are also negatives where Information Technology unethical usage can cause major problems. In ethics a business must take accountability, liability, and responsibility of their service. Ethics are defined as a system of moral principles or philosophies that deal with the values in relation to the conduct of people. Ethical usage is evaluated on a personal and commercial level. People use IT in order communicate with their circle of friends and families, they use IT in order to navigate, and in some cases do work. On a personal level people are able to shop, conduct money transactions, and business. When people began to use IT unethically, they commit fraud, breach on privacy, and create a hostile environment where they are able harass others. On a commercial level, IT is used in order is used by a company and in some cases the lines of ethics can be blurred as the handling of sensitive information of employees, customers, and the company can become blurred. IT managers and others can use Information systems in order to steal information, embezzle, security risks, breech privacy and confidentiality, and other computer related crimes. “Increasing power in the hands of some often leads to exploitation of others, and this is an ethical matter.” (Berzai, 2012)

Enforcement issues related to a code of ethics for information technology

In information technology it is hard to pinpoint who exactly is responsible and in some cases IT professionals are not even aware of ethical problems, “over the years, the suspicion has been reinforced by mostly anecdotal research that seems to show that computer professionals simply do not recognize when ethical issues are present.” (Manner, 1996)  Although dated, Manner is still correct presently as many professionals might be aware of the “affects” that Information technology has on society however, they are still ignorantly unaware of ethical issues in Information Technology. Enforcement of ethics can be problematic for most companies depending on their size and the level of skills their workers possess. In small and private companies the enforcement may be laxer do to the smaller size, as well as for individuals that are highly skilled in computers and information. A level of trust is established and companies feel that it doesn’t need to be enforced. When creating a code of ethics many factors come into play and most be well written in order to abide by existing laws and create policies that tells employees how to use information technology in the workplace. “When policies are not clear, ethical decisions are left to the personal judgment of the IT employees, but that judgment varies dramatically from person to person.” (Brooks, 2010)

Code of Ethics in Academic Setting

A code of ethics in schools or other academic settings requires much thought. As policies need updating every year as the advancements in technology grow. In academic settings there are already ethics classes available with computer science classes in order to address problematic issues. “”There must be sufficient coverage of social and ethical implications of computing to give students an understanding of a broad range of issues in this area.” (Brooks, 2010) Policies and classes must emphasize “ethics” and what it means, the call to social responsibility, and following ethical procedures. Education must be taught on unethical behavior that can jeopardize the school system, personal information, and potentially put that person in jail. Academic settings are a breeding ground for criminals to pray on, and also a place where students can learn new skills and map out their moral highway. Tests and programs can be created in order for students to test their knowledge and skills. This knowledge and practice will prepare them for the real world and for criminals.

Conclusion

Alvin Toffler once said that, “Our technological powers increase, but the side effects and potential hazards also escalate.” People create more technology in order to deal with life’s problems however, the more technology that people create the more problems are created. Information technology systems were created in order to make things easier. IT creates information systems that everyone who has access is able to obtain, share, develop, and view information on the internet anytime and anywhere. The ethical problems that exist in Information Technology create many questions and conundrums in deciding how to ethically solve the problems. As technology and the internet grows more people have more access and are able to do more harm. Unethical problems caused by IT can lead to security, privacy and confidentiality, censorship of speech, hacking, harassment, and other computer related crimes where policies, laws, and regulations need to be enforced.

References

Berzai, Lou. (2012). “Ethical Problems in Computing. AITP. Retrieved from http://www.aitp.org/news/98451/

Brooks, Rochelle. (2010) “The Development of a Code of Ethics: An Online Classroom Approach to Making Connections Between Ethical Foundations and the Challenges Presented by Information Technology.” American Journal of Business Education, 3(10), Retrieved from http://www.proquest.com

Kenneth C. Laudon, (2006). Management Information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm, 10th Edition, United States of America: Prentice Hall

Maner, Walter. (1995). “Unique Ethical Problems in Information Technology.” Science and Engineering, Vol 2. No 2. Retrieved from http://faculty.usfsp.edu/gkearns/Articles_Fraud/computer_ethics.pdf

Mason, Richard. (1995). “Applying Ethics to Information technology Issues. Communication of the ACM. Vol 38. No.12.

Mehrotra, Chkawi. (2012). “Ethics: Its Importance, Role, and Code in Information Technology.” International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer Science and Software Engineering. Vol.2 Issue 7. Retrieved from http://www.ijarcsse.com/docs/papers/July2012/Volume_2_issue_7/V2I700159.pdf

Rainer, K. R., & Cegielski, C. G. (2011). Introduction to Information Systems (3rd Ed.). : John Wiley & Sons Inc.

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