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SEMINAR REPORT

ON
ETHICS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

SUBMITTED TO:
SUBMITTED BY:
Mrs. SHASHI AGGARWAL
NEZAMUDDIN
5

th

YEAR

TING,HR)
629

PUNJABI UNIVERSITY
1

MBA-IC(MARKE
ROLL NO:

UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS STUDIES


GURU KASHI CAMPUS
TALWANDI SABO
BATHINDA
PUNJAB
ETHICS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
OVERVIEW
Ethics is the common rules or approach for all professionals need to follow in
order to achieve a great environment in an organization in our work
environment. Most of people think that ethics and morals is something that
share the same meaning but actually they are not. The morals are towards
the personal character, while ethics stress a social system in which those
morals are applied. In other words, ethics point to standards or codes of
behaviours expected by the group to which the individual belongs. So while a
persons moral code is usually unchanging, the ethics of he or she practices
can be others to depend on. This paper is written based on data collection
from many sources such as webs, articles, and books. So, this paper will
provide an overview on the importance of ethics among the IT professionals.
INTRODUCTION
Nowadays, as we know that, information technology becomes the famous
things in the world because most of technology makes our work become
clear and it is very useful to the people in order to manage or do something.
It is very unique of information technology like mobile device, computer, and
so on because it is variety of used to the people directly make the people life
more comfortable. But refer to the ethics of information technology
professional, it can be seen that on how they used the technology,
implement the information technology and built for it. In the short term
definition, information technology is the technology that is used to process
the data.
Like nowadays, we used the computer devices to process the data within the
organization or out of the organization or the company. Nevertheless, when
we come up with the information technology professional, we will want to
know the ethics I order to used the information technology either it is good
ethics or the bad ethics.
There, ethics is referring to the behavior or moral of the individual people in
daily life. It is very crucial things that need to know because it can show the
achievement of the individual or organization goals and objectives.
Actually, ethics make us become more disciplines because we need to follow
the rules and procedures of the organization. Ethics among information
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technology professional can be defines as the attitude of information


technology professional in order to accomplish something based on their
behavior. It is because based on their behavior, it can show their successful
either they can achieve the goals or not. It is depends on the level of ethics
strangeness. Information technology professional must have high of
motivation or ethics in them self because they faced with the information
technology where they need facing on the information technology which can
process the data that need to manage, analyze, design, implement, control,
maintenance and storing. It is mostly referring to the hardware that is
familiar to process the data or information like computer. As the information
technology professional, sometimes they need to face with any challenges
when their work in order to accomplish something work that need to be
done. It is the problem that the information technology professional in their
profession. When the challenges or any issues that they need to faced,
information technology professional need to try the best to find the solution
to overcome their problem and it is their roles and responsibilities. It is
mostly refer to the ethics of information technology professional on how they
handle some issues or any challenges in their work or job.

Definitions and concept of ethics


There are various definitions of ethics. According to the Britz, J. J. which come
from department of Information, Science University of Pretoria, he defines
ethics as the individual action either good or bad and he told that ethics in
the general term which make the people come as the fully human. He prefer
to the use of technology that are threat to the right of privacy of a person. As
a person, ethics is very importance thing in our daily activities. As we know
that, ethics is referring to the various styles. Maybe, ethics might be as the
national ethics, social ethics, company ethics, and family ethics and can be
professional ethics.
According to Sir Aristotle which is the famous philosopher, ethics is the
custom, character or the habit of a person and in the simplest word; it can be
defined as the system of the moral principles. It is worked out from human
reason and experience by human action that determines either right or
wrong.
But, a sociologist like Dr. Raymond Baumhart said that ethics is can be
divided into two divisions which is rights, obligations, benefit to the society,
fairness of specifics virtue. It is refer to the moral beliefs. Secondly, ethics
refer to the study and development of the standards of the ethical. So, ethics
told that on how the people lead their lives and making the decisions. Today,
we know that everybody needs to be fast and smart. For the information
technology professional money is very importance thing but not in their
career life. It is means that, career as the information technology
professional will followed by their effort directly money is their reward on
their effort. For the powerful organizations, information technology
professional mostly refer to the ethics as the guidelines to achieve the goal
of an organization. According to the Jefferson and Contreras (2005) guideline
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is crucial things because ethical principles that are provided will assist them
in the many of the professional decisions they will make.
Lacovino (2002) stated that ethics is the reasoned process but not just how
we feel about something because it can be a habitual when we set a value to
apply consistently. Some of the researcher defined the ethics as the agent
where it refers to the agent processes or action. When we come up with the
professional ethics, means that what the person who is professional should
do or should not do within the organization or outside the organization.
That are stated by Mclarty (2007) but Worthington (2008) told that in
developing any information technology, professional ethical issues can be
occur. Nowadays, the modern world, all the services like internet allow
people to connect quickly to the information technology system. So,
Worthington states that professionals are more likely to confront ethical
issues when dealing with the internet and World Wide Web (WWW).
In this term paper, I mostly focused to the importance of ethics among
information technology professional.
When we talk about the information technology professional, it will focus on
computer professional field. Being the IT professional, it is must be good
certificates in information technology with their knowledge and their skill. It
is the powerful tool for providing job and the business opportunities and for
meeting challenges in information technology field.
First, the importance of ethics among information technology professional is
responsible to ensure that computer technology does not used in the wrong
ways which can harm people, environment and the society. That why
information technology professional need to be fair, loyal, honest and have
ethical in its practices because they want to be an employee where they
work for an organization and make the organization become success. With
the good ethics or behavior among IT professional, they will work
comfortably without feel tired on their job and responsible in term of care of
the data or information in the system. With the ethics of the employee
directly they can contribute better for an organization.
Besides that, the importance thing among the information technology
professional is access the data. According to Gordana (2003), to perform the
computer or information technology professional job, they will require to
access the data only in order to complete their task that they want to do.
Besides that, to complete their task, they are very careful in order to use the
right time to complete their task because they will plan better first so that
each of the task can be settle step by step. It is also because of the thinking
of the information technology professional which is very high level thinking
by using the technology that are provided in an organization or they own
technology. Therefore, quality of the data that they want to access is the
factor that they should consider so that the task must be done properly in a
good manner. So, in order to do the task by information technology
professional, they will not concern at all whether the task or the job is
complete or not and without any concentration that are cause by improper
ethics education.
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The other importance of ethics among information technology professional is


the procedure of information technology process that will keep in secret.
According to Dahlbom and Mathiasan, information technology professional
just only participate in development the task, it objective and the context
explicitly. For the information technology professional, it is very importance
things for big organization in order to survive the industry because they have
own strategy that need to do or any benchmark which it can be the key
success of the business today for them.
Allocated the resources is also the importance of ethics among the
information technology professional. They must be professional and more
responsible and punctual in complete the task that they need do and need to
be done properly. It is because information technology professional like
computer professional, just only take part in project with the time and the
resources that are assigned which can make it possible to deliver a good job.
Nevertheless, living in this era or modern information technology will happen
something that are very wrong through the law which is computer crime and
it is the one of the problems that need to be faced by information technology
where it can attack an organization in term of viruses and hackers that
getting widespread over the years it is because Bynum (2001) stated that
logical security can be divided into five aspects such as consistency by
ensuring the data and behaviour can being see today and same with
tomorrow, privacy and confidentially, controlling the access to the resources,
not modified the data and the programs without proper authority in integrity
and last but not list is in aspect unimpaired service.
As we know that nowadays, there are many malicious kids of software that
being used to access certain system without authorization. Viruses, Trojan
horse, worms and logic bombs are some of the example that can harm the
computer system in an organization. It is show that unethical action
happened there which could make breaking the company system and could
be penalized due to the unauthorized access. Because of that, information
technology professional should be concerns on the ethics that should be
apply in information technology themselves or the professional people who
involved computer science so that, they could achieve a great environment
information technology industries. At the same time, it can improve
performance an individual in information technology field.
Other than that, the importance of ethics among the information technology
professional also will increase of respect among the professional people.
When talk about the respect it is come from the cooperation between the
team member which contribute to the development of the project that
should be do by them and the developers of the system understand the
users needs because from that, information technology can find the
opportunities in order to develop some of the project to fulfil the user
requirements. Besides that, ethics in information technology professional can
leads the user or customer satisfaction. As an example, computer
professional will develop the systems that are related to the technology in
order to satisfy the interest of the users and directly can bring the good work
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environment by develop system. it will show that the performance of an


organization if the information technology involve under the organization and
make them become more professional in term of manage of information
technology that are very importance in each of an organization in the world.

Ethics conceptual Theory


Ethical theory provides framework to get at underlying rationale, classify and
understand arguments and defend conclusion about right and wrong that
have in ethical perspectives.
Ethical Theory
Utilitarianism
The ability to predict the sequences of action in order to determine which
choice is more beneficial.
Deontology
People should follow to their obligations and duties when analyzing an ethical
dilemma and it is very consistent decisions.
Virtue
Judge a person by the character rather than by an action they may clash
from the normal behavior.
Right
It is considered to be ethically correct and valid to the society.
Figure 1: Ethics Theory
All the ethical theory or concept above is define by the people who is expert
in information technology profession or sociologist that are concern with the
ethics and it is very importance that need to apply in information technology
professional.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Information Technology

Information technology has helped in shaping both the business world


and our society in general. Many fields have been impacted by information
technology and these include; education , health , entertainment ,
communication just to mention but a few. The impacts of information
technology are profound. As the world develops, more technology will
emerge and this technology will have both positive and negative impacts.
Below i have detailed points showing you how information technology has
impacted our lives.
Advantages
Business

and

Disadvantages

of

information

technology

in

ADVANTAGES

1. Increases production and saves time: Business use technology to


automate tasks. A good example is a bakery which uses automated
temperature censors to detect any drop or increase in room temperature in a
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bakery. These censors will send information directly to the operator and
report any temperature change. This saves the bakery time and it also
results into quality products.
2. Improves communication through communication technology: With
the help of communication technology tools like phones, video conferencing ,
electronic mail, databases just to mention but a few. Movement of
information with in an organization or business has become easy and first.
Employees can easily move information across departments without having
any interruptions. Tools like electronic mail , e-fax, mobile phones and text
messaging enhance the movement of information among employees ,
customers and business partners or suppliers.
3. Improves data storage and file management: Businesses use cloud
hosting services to store and backup business data. Also it saves on paper
work and makes transfer and access of data remote. With services like
Dropbox.com, business owners can access their data any time anywhere.
Information and data are very important tools for a business, so it is very
essential to store them safely and also access them at any time of need.
4. Improves financial management: Accounting software like Quick
Books , Bookkeeper , Sage 50 , and Account Edge can be used in
performing various accounting tasks in a business. Business owners can
easily balance their books with less experience in accounting because these
softwares are well equipped with every tool needed in accounting and they
also have a help section which can be referred to in case a user is stuck.
5. Cuts costs of operation and increases on RIO Communication
technology and social technology have made business promotion and
product launch affordable. Many small business have found ways to use
social technology to increase on their brand awareness and get more clients
at a minimal cost. In business, factors like cost of operation play a big role in
the development and growth of that business. So when businesses use
information technology to cut down on costs of operation, then their ROI will
increase which will result into business growth.
6. Improves business to consumer relationship Businesses have
embraced the social technology to interact with their consumers and fans.
This creates a strong business to consumer relationship and it results into
business growth and expansion. Information technology can be used to
improve customer service in so many ways. For example, businesses can use
internet to inform their customers about great deals and discounts, this
7

makes customers feel special and it can drive their desire to buy. A good
customer service can be used as a great tool by any small business to gain
competitive advantage.
7. Improves on business competitive advantage: Companies have used
technology to gain competitive advantage over their competitors. A
business will improve on its technology and improve on its services and
products which will make its customers happy, this will turn these happy
customer loyal to that business and also invite more friends to use that
service or product.
DISADVANTAGES
1. Implementation Expenses: Small businesses fail to afford this
expensive technology so they end up losing their clients to a business which
has improved its technology and provides a better service or product.
2. Job Elimination: Technology has replaced most positions which humans
used to occupy. Accounting is now being done by software, so accountants
run out of opportunities.
3. Security Breaches: Since businesses store their data on remote cloud
servers which can be accessed with a user name and password, they risk
losing that data to wrong minded knowledge works, hackers or viruses, which
can harm he business.

Advantages and Disadvantages of information technology


in Purchasing
ADVANTAGES
1. Credit Cards and Smart cards: Buying and selling of goods and
services has become simple because of these smart cards. A user can go to
a merchants website and make an order using their smart card or credit
card. Money will be transferred from the consumers account to the
merchants account in seconds, and then the merchant will deliver the item
to the consumers address. This saves time for both parties.
2. Electronic Bill Presentation and Payment: (EBPP) systems send us
bills over the internet and they give us an easy way to pay them if the
amount looks correct. In this there is need for billing companies to send our
bills in mail. It saves time for both parties.

DISADVANTAGES
1. Internet security issues: For the merchant to process an order online,
a consumer has to provide their financial details. Experienced hackers can
use this lop hole to channel this information and use it for their own needs.
2. Faulty products and duplication: In most cases auction websites have
products that are not real. So a user can bid on a shoe thinking it is original,
upon delivery, they discover that the shoe is fake and it does not resemble
the picture on auction.
3. Privacy ecommerce websites collect personal data using cookies to
know more about us and suggest products basing on that information. This
data is collected without any notice , but with selfish intent.

Advantages and Disadvantages of information technology


in Society:
ADVANTAGES
1. Improved innovation: Technology has played a big role in job creation
and emerging of technology based companies. With access to a computer
and internet, any one can start an business while at home. Most successful
technology based ventures like Google / Amazon / Facebook, to mention but
a few, started from home but now they employ thousands or people.
2. Improved entertainment: Technology has changed the entertainment
industry, now days we have many options to choose from, you can have a
play-list of 10,000 songs in your palms with an ipod, you can watch movies
on the go with an ipad , the list is endless.
3. Improved social discovery: Finding both old and new friends has
become very simple. With social networks like facebook and twitter, you can
easily keep up with all your old friends and also make new ones.
4. Globalization of knowledge: Today you can use the internet to get the
latest news from any country on the globe. Services like Twitter have
enabled people to become journalist so they report news on instant by
twitting. Services like Wikipedia.org are well equipped with data on about
anything.
5. Improved communication:
DISADVANTAGES
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1. Cyber-sickness: With the increased addiction to social networks and


internet games, people are spending more time on computers and give up on
their normal offline life. This has resulted into relation breakups and
increases loneliness.
2. Social implications access to harmful information which corrupts
peoples minds and drives them to commit crime. People use search engines
to find information on how to create harmful weapons and how to commit
wrong acts in society.
Advantages
Banking

and

Disadvantages

of

information

technology

in

1. Online Banking: Many banks have integrated advanced information


technology systems to improve on their customer service. Today, it is very
easy to withdraw money using an ATM card or smart money card, this saves
customers from wasting time lining up in banks.
2. Fast Credit: Technology used in banks helps in gathering of financial
details and credit scores about each customer, the information gathered can
be used when a customer applies for credit in that bank.
3. RFID Payment
DISADVANTAGES
1. Money Laundering: Cases of online money laundering are on the rise
and this has exposed many online users to the predators.

Challenges in encouraging ethical


information technology professional.

behaviors

among

There are several common challenges in developing ethical in information


technology professional. Information technology needs to alert with their
surrounding because many challenges that they need to faced when they
complete their task within the organization. Below are the challenges that
are faced by information technology professional in managed their
information technology equipment and services.
1. Facing with computer crimes
As we know that, nowadays is the modern world. Therefore, all the
technology that is used today mostly shows the advanced technology. We
know that media technology or the communication technology is very
familiar to the people and the importance things is to the organization that
are used the technology to implement and maintained the task in order to
achieve the goals of an organization. But, when we deal with the advanced
technology, the information technology professional need to be careful by
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used they ethical in term of complete the task. In this times, there are most
of computer viruses and added with the hacker which also known as
international spy. Here, the computer security is the crucial thing that needs
to consider in the field of computer ethics by the information technology
professional. By the way, the problem that is faced by them is not on the
physical security but in term of logical security like privacy and
confidentially, controlling access to the resources and so on. Hackers which
are the person who breaks into someone computer system without any
permission directly can steal the data of an organization or privacy
information.
2. Intellectual property rights connected with software ownership. In
this aspect of challenges ethics or the right. Many people think that software
should be own able. Intellectual property is the one of the controversial areas
of computer ethics. Some people think that software ownership not be
allowed at all and all the information should be free, all programs should be
available for copying. In term of that, it is very wrong ways according o the
laws that are provided. As the information technology professional ethics,
they need to know who take their intellectual property properly.
3. Computer condition in the workplace that need to be concern
As the information technology professional, the challenges that they faced is
condition of the computer itself.
Because of the computer always run to manage the data that are store in the
system and to implement the data, maybe it will make the system down
because the computer itself does not rest. When the system down happened
that will make the information technology professional lack of ethics in order
to monitor the system.
4. Information privacy
Privacy is the one of the computer ethics that need to be develop by public
interest. The efficiency of the computer network can be used to gather the
information, store, and search and retrieved the information making the
computer technology treating anyone to keep various kind of information
that are privacy. It is the challenges also that are faced by the information
technology professional especially sensitive information like medical record.
Because nowadays, the people think so far in order to get the information
and make it as the basic information that is not importance. It is because of
the hacker that wants the information. Therefore, information privacy
nowadays also does not secure in hundred percent.
5. Globalization fraud in using business transaction.
In term of globalization, computer ethics today is rapidly involved in more
importance field. It is also can be known a global information ethics. Global
networks like internet will connect people all over the world.
Globalization refers to the variety of used like global cyber business, global
education and so on. The world is very close to the technology which can
provide electronic privacy and security on the interne in order to connect the
international business transactions. This challenge is very familiar nowadays,
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because in transaction of the business today cheating and fraud in business


always happened.

Recommendations
to
address
encouraging
ethical
behaviors
technology professional.

the
challenges
in
among
information

In response to the challenges that are stated above, several


recommendations are proposed as follow:
1. Government should have a strict action with the computer crime.
To address the challenges, I recommended that government of each country
in the world should be strict to the computer crime based on the computer
crime act. There, people who involved in the investigation of the computer
crime should find the people who do the wrong things in using computer until
the people who make computer crime can be punished so that we can
reduced the number of computer crime directly make it very clear. There, no
give up action should behave but always find the ways on how to catch
them.
2. Remind the society about the Intellectual Property Act through
the seminar
Some of the organization should organize the seminar so that all people
involved in the seminar programmed know what a can they do and what the
things that cannot they do when they deal with the any software that they
used. Especially, seminar about the Intellectual Property Act in term of what
is the purpose of the act, what cannot the people do the owner of the things
like software ownership, tell them what is the impact if the people not
comply with the act that are implement by the government.
3. Discuss with the team member at the workplace
In this point, that I recommend, means that all the information technology
professional that are deal with the information technology, should discuss
everything about the problem or the challenges that they faced in manage
the technology and the system. For example, when people used t software
and sale that software without any permission of the software ownership,
they could discuss about it on their intellectual property on how to take the
action to the people who wrong in that situation. From the discussion with
the team member, it will provide more decision and the best decision will be
used to settle that problem. That is the good ethics when working in the
group as the information technology professional.
4. Told the society about the act of privacy
We know that, government today implement the act of privacy but the
society does not know about the act anymore. It is because the society today
lack of information that they should know. When we told them about the act
of privacy, they will know what might be right and what might be wrong.
From there, the act of privacy will be clear to the society. We can disseminate
the information through the pamphlet, poster and so on which related to the
medium that the people could read and heard like television, radio and
others electronic media through the implementation of the entertainments.
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The act of the privacy that is implementing at Malaysia today is Protection of


Personal Data Act 2010.
5. Motivate the information technology professional in term of
globalization.
In order to motivate the information technology professional, the top
management in an organization should lead them in order to motivate them.
Top management in an organization should remind the information
technology professional when they do their job or work. It is very importance
thing to do where the top manager alert with the leadership style or skill in
each of the organization. Top manager should support their staff so that they
will motivate to accomplish the task that is given. The Information
Technology Professional themselves also can get the information about the
fraud in globalization by reads the news that are shows in the internet
medium. It is more to the business transaction when related to the
globalization.

Three Codes of Ethics


Following are some of the details of the three codes of IT professional ethics
that yielded the results just discussed. The codes I will examine are the ACM
Code of Ethics, the AITP Code of Ethics, and the Software Engineers Code of
Ethics.

1. ACM Code of Ethics

The ACM Code in its current form dates from 1992, with revisions up to 2004.
The ACM Code is divided into four sections, General Ethical Considerations,
Specific IT Professional Responsibilities, Leadership Responsibilities, and
principles for complying with the code. (The code is available at
www.acm.org/ constitution/code.html.) The second and third sections list
professional IT duties and managerial duties. These include both enabling
and substantive duties. The last section discusses compliance conditions for
the code. This code is very good in what it mentions but is somewhat
incomplete.
The Codes General Moral Imperatives are (using the numbering in the
Code):
1.1 Contribute to society and human well-being;
1.2 Avoid harm to others (includes substantive duty of assessing social
consequences of systems);
1.3 Be honest and trustworthy;
1.4 Be fair and take action not to discriminate;
1.5 Honor property rights including copyright and patent;
1.6 Give proper credit for intellectual property;
1.7 Respect the privacy of others (includes substantive responsibility for data
integrity); and
1.8 Honor confidentiality.
The first four items are compatible with both utilitarian and duty-based
ethical theories, and include considerations of justice in the imperative to be
fair and take action not to discriminate. 6 Item 1.2 also includes an interesting
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discussion about the professional responsibility of assessing the social


consequences of systems and possible whistle-blowing if management does
not act to mitigate dangerous consequences. In discussion of Items 1.5 and
1.6, the code extends property rights to require authorization for any
duplication and extends proper credit to include cases where there has not
been explicit protection by copyright or other legal means. The discussion of
privacy in Item 1.7 includes a responsibility for the integrity of data, which I
previously instanced as a clear professional IT responsibility, as well as
guidelines for the handling of data to protect privacy. The discussion of
confidentiality in Item 1.8 mentions keeping explicit agreements but also
extends it to any information not directly related to performance of ones
duties.
The next sections, listing professional IT duties and managerial duties, are
mainly important duties enabling one to function as an IT professional.
Important substantive duties are spelled out in the discussion sections. I
classify these duties as: enabling duties that enable one to fulfill ones calling
as an IT professional; ethical duties; and substantive duties, which spell out
ethical requirements specifically for IT professionals.
2.1 Strive for quality (enabling)
2.2 Maintain professional competence (enabling)
2.4 Provide for professional review (enabling)
2.3 Obey laws relevant to professional work (ethical)
2.6 Honor agreements (ethical) (includes a substantive duty of personal
accountability for work)
2.7 Improve public understanding (enabling)
2.8 Use IT resources only when authorized (employee?)
3.1 Act appropriately with respect to social impacts of IT (enabling)
3.2 Design and build systems that enhance the quality of work environment
(substantive)
3.3 Define good and bad uses of the system and help enforce policies to
support this. (substantive)
3.4 Include all affected by a system in requirements design and
implementation. (substantive)
3.5 Systems should not demean users (?)
3.6 Provide learning opportunities for other professionals. (enabling)
Two items are puzzling to me: Although Item 2.8, the directive to use IT
resources only when authorized, seems correct, I am not sure of its basis. It
seems to be a duty of every employee to use organizational resources only
when authorized for work purposes. Surfing the Net on company time,
however common, is still not ethical. Yet a database consultant would
probably have a broader scope of authorization than a data entry clerkas
well as more potential to get to more of the system. So although the basis of
the requirement is ones role as an employee, the fact that the requirement
comes with extra permissions and limitations for an IT professional may be a
reason for including this directive as an IT-specific duty.
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Also, I have a hard time thinking of examples for Item 3.5, the requirement
that systems should not demean users. Systems can be developed that
include overly technical or complex language for the users, but this is simply
bad, inappropriate design. For such a system to be demeaning, it would have
to be done with intentional contempt for the less- educated user. Although
this may happen, it has not appeared in my experience.
Because these professional duties were generated as a list without priorities,
it is hard to be confident about how complete they are. As with other lists of
ethical requirements, such as the Ten Commandments, we need a way to
resolve conflicts.7 And to resolve conflicts, we probably need to adopt an
ethical theory. Without a background theory, we dont have a general way to
resolve very possible real conflictsfor example, between contributing to
well-being and avoiding harm, or between being fair and avoiding harm. The
authors of the code show awareness of this problem. For example, the
commentary on Item 1.4, the ethical duty to be fair and take action not to
discriminate, makes clear that correcting a violation of equal opportunity in
the use of computer resources does not provide a basis for the violation of
any other ethical imperatives of the code (ACM, 1992). So fairness comes
out as the least important of the ethical considerations. This conclusion is
probably correct in most cases, because violations of fairness and equal
opportunity can often only be meaningfully addressed at the institutional
level of laws and court decisions. But suppose we have a case of racial
discrimination in a promotion or job assignment, and evidence for
discriminatory treatment is contained in documents protected by a
confidentiality agreement. The correct ethical decision in this case is not
clear cut, as the code would have it.

2. AITP Code of Ethics

The Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) Code of Ethics


is addressed to IT professionals generally. It is framed in terms of obligations
to four stakeholders: management, fellow IT professionals, society, and
employers. Users of IT are not explicitly mentioned as a potential ethically
relevant group, but the Code does mention an important ethical
consideration involving users. (The AITP Code can be found at www.aitp.org.)
The AITP Code uses the term obligation in a nonstandard way. Ordinarily,
obligations stem from agreements and are distinguished from duties, which
we acquire when we assume a given role whether we have an agreement or
not.
(These distinctions are discussed in Chapter II, A Background in Ethical
Theory, in the section, Rights, Duties, Obligations.) The distinction is not
merely terminologicalit makes a difference for the basis of an obligation or
duty. For example, the AITP Code mentions respect for confidentiality in a
section on obligation to society. But the scope of confidentiality varies
significantly between organizationssome treat almost all information as
competitive and hence not to be disseminated, whereas others require open
exchange of information to function. So what is properly an obligation to
confidentiality is based on keeping a confidentiality agreement specific to the
15

organization.8 In this case, the AITP Code does correctly identify the item of
concern as an obligation, but attributes the obligation to the wrong
stakeholder the obligation is really to the organization, not society, and its
content is determined by the organizations confidentiality agreement.
On the other hand, the AITP Code mentions not taking advantage of the lack
of knowledge or inexperience on the part of others under an obligation to
management. This seems rather to be a special duty of an IT professional,
to be observed regardless of employment or consulting agreements with an
employer or management. One acquires the duty when one adopts the
calling of IT professional. The duty also seems to extend to users as well as
management.
The following table (Table 1) is my reorganization of the ethical
considerations of the AITP Code. They are sorted by ethical type (character
trait, duty, or obligation). Also, like items have been combined, and the last
column replaces obligation to in the original AITP Code. I believe who
benefits is closer to what the AITP had in mind.
Reorganized in this way, most of the ethical considerations listed in the AITP
Code turn out to be what I am calling duties. Again, the terminology, in and
of itself, is not important. The difference between a duty and an obligation is
that an obligation is something one assumes by an agreement, often explicit;
whereas a duty is something one is subject to as soon as one assumes a
role.9
(A calling is also a role). The last three items on the reorganized list are
obligations: The obligation to obey the laws is based on what is often called
tacit consent, namely, continuing to live in the country and accept its
benefits (Locke,
1690). The obligation to uphold the bylaws of AITP and to cooperate is based
on an individuals agreement to be a member. And the obligation to uphold
confidentiality is based on an employees agreement with his or her
employer.
All the other preceding considerations are different. The first two call for the
character trait of honesty and its exercise in not falsely claiming credit for
others work. This is worth reminding people of and serves to separate the IT
profession from the dishonest professions of thievery, drug dealing, and so
on.
But it may not be necessary to include this specifically in a professional code
of ethics. Perhaps the general statement that ethical behavior is, of course,
expected of IT professionals would be sufficient.
The remaining duties are owed to three basic groups: Employers, the IT
Profession, and Users. The duties to employers one acquires by becoming an
employee. The duty to accept responsibility and not misuse authority
requires a bit more, namely, that one be given authority as employee or
manager. But all of these duties to employers are duties of every employee
namely avoiding conflicts of interest, protecting employer interests, not
misrepresenting or withholding knowledge, and not using employer
resources for ones own purposes. They are indeed duties because one cant
16

get out of them by saying that one didnt agree to them or no one told me
about them. Someone who says
No one told me not to make phone calls to my aunt in the Ukraine on the
company dime, is not likely to be an employee for long. Again, because
these are definitely not specific to IT professionals, it is not obvious that they
belong in a code of IT professional ethics.
However, it may once again be that these areas need to be brought to the
attention of IT professionals because IT professionals have more opportunity
to transgress in these areas. Conflicts of interest and using employer
resources for ones own purposes can arise in unexpected ways within an IT
professional context, and so special care may need to be taken to avoid
them. So it may be worth including them in a code of IT professional ethics.
The remaining duties are definitely good candidates for ethical
responsibilities, specifically of the IT professional:
To promote management understanding of IT;
To disseminate IT knowledge;
Not to misrepresent IT capabilities;
To cooperate in identifying and solving IT problems; and
Not to exploit system weaknesses for ones own purposes.
All except the last are what I called enabling dutiesthey enable the IT
professional to fulfill his or her calling. The last is a substantive duty of IT
professionals. Not all professions would endorse a requirement not to exploit
system weaknessespart of what lawyers do is to exploit weaknesses in the
legal system.
So, in fact, the AITP Code really includes only one substantive IT professional
duty, as well as some enabling duties for IT professionals and many general
duties.

3. Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional


Practice

The Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (SEC)


(1998), developed by a joint task force of the Computer Society of the
Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE-CS) and the ACM,
focuses on Software Engineering as the relevant profession. Because this
code is very much aware of software engineering as embedded in an IT
context, it is helpful in identifying more general IT professional duties. The
SEC consists of eight principles that express ethically responsible
relationships related to software development. Each of those principles gives
rise to obligations (or, I would add, duties) that are founded in the software
engineers humanity, special care owed to people affected by the work of
software engineers, and the unique elements of the practice of Software
Engineering (SEEP Executive Committee,
1998).
The eight principles are that software engineers shall:
1. Public: Act consistently with the public interest.
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2. Client and employer: Act in the best interests of their client and
employer consistent with 1.
3. Product: Ensure products meet highest professional standards.
4. Judgment: Maintain integrity and independence of professional judgment.
5. Management: (SE managers and leaders shall:) manage software
development and maintenance ethically.
6. Profession: Advance integrity and reputation of profession consistent
with 1.
7. COLLEAGUES. Support colleagues.
8. SELF. Participate in lifelong learning and promote an ethical approach to
profession.
This SEC actually contains very little specific to software development. Most
of the requirements are formulated at the level of an IT development project,
which would apply across the board to most all IT professionals. This Code
also includes a number of prioritizations to help settle conflicts. For example,
Number 2, the best interests of client and employer, as well as Number 6,
the best interests of the profession, are explicitly superseded by Number 1,
the public interest.
The codes Public, Client and Employer, and Judgment sections parallel
similar sections on general ethical concerns in the other two codes: Software
engineers should recognize that their work has to serve the public good,
avoid being dangerous and causing harm. Issues of fair access to software
should be addressed. A concern not addressed in the other codes is
professional skills should be volunteered to good causes. Two items also not
found in the other codes: specifically not to use software obtained or
retained illegally; and no interest detrimental to employer or client is to be
promoted, including outside work, except when a higher ethical principle is
at stake.
The section on PRODUCT includes specifics not found in the other codes that
definitely belong in a list of professional IT duties:
Take responsibility for understanding and documenting specifications and
insuring that specs meet user requirements and have appropriate approvals;
Ensure realistic estimates of project costs, scheduling, personnel, quality,
and outcomes together with probability of success or failure;
Use only ethically obtained data;
Help maintain data integrity; and
Be responsible for appropriate maintenance.
As you can see, all of these apply to IT development generally, not just to
software.
The Management section is unusual. It states the ethical responsibilities of
managers of IT, including due process for disputes and fairness in
employment.
Besides fair compensation, hiring, and ownership agreements, managers are
to respect the IT professionals ethical concern and the Code itself. The
directive to ensure realistic project estimates is included here too. These
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directives are obligations and duties owed to IT professionals, rather than


obligations and duties of IT professionals. These responsibilities will be
discussed shortly in the section on Management Conflicts.
The final sections on Profession, Colleagues, and Self are mainly devoted to
enabling duties that enable an individual to function well as a professional:
mutual support, honesty, and keeping current. A striking concern not present
in the other codes is that the SEC is to be taken as definitive of ethical
behavior for a software engineer, and the Code itself is to be promoted as an
ethical standard within and without the profession. Although this is a
laudable goal, considerably more institutional backup is probably necessary
to make it stick, probably including widely accepted credentialing for IT
professionals. How ever, recent attempts to license IT professionals have met
with ACM opposition11

E-Problems
I observed that new uses of IT will be built on four basic features of
information technology:
Speed of information processing
Unlimited size of information storage capacity
Availability of information at any location (connectivity)
Easy reproduction of digital information
These features combine in many different ways to produce the various
applications of IT that give rise both to new benefits and to new ethical
problems. But, just as new and unpredictable uses of information technology
arise with some regularity, so do new and unpredictable ethical problems. I
will define an e-problem as an ethical problem that arises as a result of one
of the four features of IT listed above. In this chapter, I will examine five
unexpected and difficult e-problems:
Sales Tax: Should sales tax be collected on Web-based transactions? If so,
where and by whose rules? If not, isnt this an unfair advantage for ebusinesses?
Paperless Transactions: How does eliminating paper affect those without
computers, especially those less well-off? How does one establish trust and
appropriate controls without a paper trail?
Fraudulent Copies: With a decent printer, it is very easy to duplicate
virtually any document or picturewith or without modifications. This also
makes it easy to produce fraudulent pictures. It is easy also to produce
seemingly authentic requests for confidential information.
Spam: Should freedom of speech allow so much speech that speech in the
form of e-mail is itself jeopardized?
Dating/Sex: The Internet enables ready access to sexual partners and
dating. Does IT (the Internet) add anything new from an ethical perspective?
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Sales Tax
Should sales tax be collected on Web-based transactions? If so, where and by
whose rules? If not, isnt this an unfair advantage for e-businesses? What
makes this an e-problem is the IT property of connectivitythe availability of
information at any location. Sales tax is collected by states, and each state
sets its own percentage and its own list of what is taxable and what is not.
The tax is collected on transactions done by businesses with a physical
presence in that state. Two U.S. Supreme Court rulings found that it would be
an excessive burden for mail-order companies to comply with 7,600 state
and local tax codes and thus an unconstitutional restriction on interstate
commerce. Thus, the Supreme Courts
Sales Tax Locality Principle was established (Institute for Local Self-Reliance,
2004):
Only firms with a physical presence in the jurisdiction are required to collect
that jurisdictions sales taxes.
Also, some click-and-mortar retailers contend that their e-commerce
operations are distinct legal entities unrelated to their stores. Their Internet
outlets therefore lack a physical presence and are not required to collect
sales taxes (Institute for Local Self-Reliance, 2004). But many, including, for
example,
Nordstroms (www.Nordstrom.com), follow the Sales Tax Locality Principle:
Orders shipped to AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, MD,
MI, MN, MO, NC, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, RI, TX, UT, VA or WA [states where
Nordstroms has physical facilities] will have all applicable local and state
sales taxes added to your total order, and to your shipping charges where
appropriate.
Some retailers who are required to collect sales taxes are attempting to
change the situation. They have proposed a Federal Sales Tax Fairness Bill
which would require all retailers to collect and remit sales taxes. Such a
change would incur the previous Supreme Court objection unless sales tax
codes were drastically streamlined. There is a separate proposal by the
National Governors
Association (NGA) called the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP), for
uniform sales tax rules and definitions (Institute for Local Self-Reliance,
2004).
Unfortunately, under this proposal, different state and local governments will
still be able to tax different items and at different rates. The only change will
be a uniform list of types of taxable items and procedures for publicizing
change.
It is hard to see how the NGAs proposal would meet the Supreme Courts
previous requirement of no excessive burden.
But the ethical question behind the e-problem is one of justice. We have seen
before that the Supreme Court does not always make just decisions. 1 And so
we can ask, is the practice of exempting businesses without a physical
presence in the taxing jurisdiction, a just practice? And are the Supreme
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Courts grounds for exempting businesses correct from the point of view of
justice, namely, the burden caused by having to comply with a huge number
of changing rules promulgated by a huge number of jurisdictions?2
To begin the discussion, let us assume that the sales tax itself is a reasonably
just institution. For various reasons, it may be the only way certain
jurisdictions can obtain funds for activities belonging to a just society (police
protection, health care, etc.), even though the tax is correctly described as
regressive in taking a significantly greater share from lower income
individuals. The more important consideration is that Internet business
transactions simply do not take place at a few specific physical locations. The
distinctive IT property of availability of information at any location transforms
the ability to locate a sales transaction.
Mail-order (and phone-order) sales transactions still take place at particular
physical locations. The selling organization has its operations at one place,
and the customer is at another. But with IT, the various parts of a sales
transaction can easily be scattered across not only many states but many
countries. From the point of view of justice, the tax should be collected at the
point where it supports the infrastructure needed for commercial
transactions between seller and customer. And the seller should be
responsible for knowing only the tax rules for the areas in which it does
business (and, therefore, has some responsibility for contributing to the
infrastructure needed for commerce). But it is different when the marketing
is planned in San Francisco, and executed on a server in New Jersey, and the
order information is taken from a customer in Iowa, and processed by
someone in Ireland, and shipping is coordinated in Seattle for shipment from
a warehouse in Colorado, and payments are processed in the Bahamas, and
questions about the transaction are handled in Bangalore. Where is the
physical presence of such a company? The Supreme
Courts Sales Tax Location Principle no longer seems to apply.
The consideration of justice underlying the location of the collection of sales
tax is helping to support the infrastructure of the location where you do
business.
So it seems very wrongheaded to attempt to extend traditional sales tax
collection to e-businesses. There would be some justice in having a separate
national (or even international) tax to help support the IT infrastructure. 3 But
there is no requirement in a market economy to make life safe for brickandmortar companies. Within a market economy, competition should decide.
There is no requirement of justice, and, indeed, it would be misuse of
government power to use government redistributive power to make
traditional businesses competitive. It would be just as inappropriate for the
government to prevent airlines from charging less for e-tickets even though
travel agents are put out of work. A certain amount of economic dislocation
is part of the workings of a free market, and, as we noted in Chapter V,
Justice in a Market
Economy, a market economy is an important institution helping our society
satisfies the Principles of Justice (Rawls, 1999).
21

Paperless Transactions
The speed, storage, and reproducibility features of IT produce strong reasons
to eliminate or minimize the use of paper for many transactions. Two
different types of ethical issues arise as a result. The first is along the lines of
professional duty: How does one establish trust and appropriate controls
without a paper trail? The second is a digital divide issue: How does
eliminating paper affect those without computers, especially those less welloff? Some colleges only accept online applications. And only students with
ready access to computers can avail themselves of online courses.4
As soon as a good deal of transaction and managerial information is
electronic rather than paper-based, the nature of both internal and external
auditing changes. The two traditional choices are: Auditing around the
computer, and auditing through the computer. The first choice, auditing
around the computer, focuses on (paper) output and input. It is not likely to
be recommended these days, nor is it particularly ethical because it will not
reveal defects caused by computer processing. The second choice, auditing
through the computer, requires checking the actual processing done to
produce the output. Typically, sample data is actually run through the
system.
Thus, business systems that rely on IT rather than paper produce a change in
the duties of auditors (including managers responsible for the accuracy of
control reporting). It is the auditors professional duty to be IT-literate enough
to understand how the companys system functions and its potential for
error.
This can be a tall order. I recall some years ago a yearly gross profit report
calculated in two different ways by two different departments, presumably
from the same data. When there was a 50% discrepancy between the gross
profits on the two reports covering the same period of time, management
demanded an explanation. It turned out that one report was based on
calculated report information stored by date in a small file, and the other
recalculated raw transaction data between selected dates. From an integrity
point of view, the first method was a no-no and was a legacy from a very
primitive stage of the system. However, its results turned out to be correct.
The theoretically sounder method had produced the wrong numbers
because, quite independently, a chunk of transaction data had been archived
because of disk space problems.
Fortunately, these days, disk storage problems are rare, but the ability to
diagnose problems caused by system design continues to be a professional
duty of auditors.
The second ethical issue concerning the disappearance of paper is an issue
of distributive justiceof the second Principle of Justice (Rawls, 1999). Are
those worst off made better off because of the disappearance of paper? This
is, as I noted, a digital divide type issue. As I noted in Chapter V, Justice in
a Market Economy, justicespecifically the second Principle of Justice
requires more than people having equal access to computers. For the
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distribution of IT to be just, it must tend to improve the life prospects of


those who are worst off.5
In the case of the reduction of paper, justice requires that something be done
to ameliorate possible reduced access to paper when that makes a difference
in the justice of the situation. For example, job applications and applications
for admissions to college made paperless result in a significant reduction of
equality of opportunity for those without access to computers. In some
countries, such as Mexico, Internet cafes are so ubiquitous and so reasonable
that there is no problem about access. But in the United States, Internet
cafes are rare.
Libraries and public schools tend to have computers accessible to those
without the necessary funds to have their own computers, but it still needs
to be clear that equality of opportunity is not diminished. In any case,
making job or school applications paperless without considering the potential
impact on equality of opportunity is clearly unjust.
Some of the same considerations apply to online classes offered by public
universities. If access is limited to those better off in times when there is a
shortage of classes, it is hard to justify offering online classes at the expense
of those more available to all. However, the disadvantage may be offset if
the school has sufficient computers available for students so that
accessibility is not an issue. Again, justice requires that one take into account
potential equality of opportunity problems when school resources can be
accessed only over a computer.

Fraudulent Copies
With a decent printer, it is very easy to duplicate virtually any document or
picturewith or without modifications. This also makes it easy to produce
fraudulent pictures, and seemingly authentic requests for confidential
information.
This is a consequence of the easy reproduction feature of IT.
With the use of IT, an important segment of ones identity is digitized. This
digital extension of ones personality can be vulnerable to theft and misuse.
Identity theft is becoming a more frequent crime. Early versions involved
simply obtaining credit card numbers from paper copies in the trash or
duplicating the numbers when entered. Precautions against this kind of theft
included never printing (or e-mailing) copies of the whole number. More
recently, one fraudulent technique (dubbed phishing) is to e-mail bogus
requests for confirmation of account information. I personally regularly
experience a clever version that contains the logo of my (major) bank and
mimics an official announcement very well. The reason given for the need for
verification was the prevalence of identity theft! Included was a request for a
prompt response with the warning that otherwise accounts would be
suspended. A secure server was used as wellmost of the trappings of a
legitimate request.

23

A phone call to my bank confirmed that the request was fraudulent. An


obvious background question is, How did the mimics know to e-mail me?
As it turned out, they were probably just fishing, and they got my e-mail
address from one of a number of Web sites I used. This hypothesis was
confirmed when I got similar requests from two other large banks where I did
not have accounts.
Of course, there is no question about the ethical status of identity theft and
bogus requests for confidential information. They are both highly unethical
as well as illegal. So too would be doctoring pictures to lead to false
conclusions, except in a fictional context. When ex-President Clinton appears
with fictional characters in the film Contact, the context makes it clear that
his presence is fictional. Ethically more tricky uses of easy digital
reproduction were discussed in the previous chapter, Chapter IX, Copyright
and Piracy.

Spam
Many other problems about the misuse of e-mail are similar to the previous
problem of fraudulent copies. They are not so much ethical problems as
problems of enforcement. But spam, that is, anonymous unsolicited e-mail,
does raise questions about freedom of speech on the Internet. Spam has
been compared to unsolicited advertising mail, but one obvious difference is
the volume. Throwing away junk mail is a minor annoyance. Getting rid of
spam is time-consuming. Another difference is content. I dont get junk mail
saying:
Best Priiiices
Best Selectiooooooon.
That is the content of a spam e-mail recently received. Like a lot of spam I
receive, it is totally pointless. It would be like receiving dozens of phone calls
where the speaker on the other end produced meaningless gibberish. What
this has to do with speech or commerce is beyond me.
I think the Right to Privacy has to have priority over unsolicited freedom of
speech to be meaningful. The Right to Privacy was stated as follows:
Each individual has the right to keep to him- or herself all matters not in the
legitimate interest of the public.
This should include whom one wishes to communicate with, unless there is a
legitimate public interest. No legitimate public interest is served by receiving
unsolicited communications, except communications from a legitimate
authority.
We should simply require all unsolicited e-mail messages to contain an
optout address (this might be accomplished simply by prohibiting phony
return addresses), with fines for violators who ignore opt-out requests and
fines or shut-down for servers who persistently harbor violators.
All first-principle freedoms and rights are limited by each otherthey cant all
be exercised to the fullest extent without conflicting. 6 The classic example is
shouting Fire! in a crowded theater. Freedom of speech is restricted for the
sake of another liberty, specifically freedom from physical assault. In the
24

case of spam, freedom of speech could be restricted for the sake of privacy,
especially since there is no public interest in forcing an individual to deal with
a communication he or she did not consent to be party to.

Dating/Sex
It is not immediately clear that the Internet has introduced any new ethical
issues in the areas of dating and sex. The Internet enables ready access to
sexual partners and dating. What is perhaps new is due to availability of
information at any location. People in small towns and rural locations
suddenly have the same availability of sexual partners as those in densely
populated big cities. The other feature of e-mail and the Web that makes a
difference for this issue is the lack of censorship on the Internet. In part, this
is because of inherent Internet design featuresno one has to go through a
central computer to be on the Internet, and, thus, effective monitoring is
impossible. China has attempted to censor the Internet, mainly preventing
access to pages the government doesnt like. One censorship device, know
as the Great Firewall of China, attempts to block certain proxy servers. By all
accounts, the censorship has not been very effective and seems largely
arbitrary (Wikipedia, 2004).
In its effects in this and related areas, IT (through the Internet) has been a
powerful force in resuscitating the freedoms of the First Principle of Justice
(Rawls, 1999). Privacy, freedom of speech, and freedom of association are
enhanced by the ability to communicate freely with others at any location
with a computer. The abuses of that freedom in sexual areasnotably child
pornography and exploitation of childrenseem well within the current
capabilities of law enforcement to handle. And that is just as well, because,
short of shutting down the Internet, there is not much more that can be done
about it that is not already being done.
5 ETHICAL CHALLENGES OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
As much as information technology is important to our lives, it is facing some
serious ethical challenges, and it is up to the IT experts and users of
information technology to be ready for these challenges. As more emerging
information technologies pop up on the market, most of the IT experts and
users do not know how to go about the challenges brought by these
technologies. Information technology is facing one of its biggest challenges
which are lack of privacy, security, copyright infringement and increased
computer crimes. This has stimulated criminals to exploit users of IT basing
on the lope holes left in these technologies. Since information technology
speeds the access and flow of information, many businesses and
organizations are at risk of losing this data because experienced criminals
can easily tap that information for their personal use.

25

Also unfaithful employees can use information technology to archive their


personal goals which might be harmful to an organization. IT is not bad by its
self, but the way humans use the tools provided by information technology
has brought some serious challenges. Below I have listed detailed topics
on 5 Ethical Challenges of Information Technology
1. Security: With tools like the internet, hackers have found it very easy to
hack into any computer or system as long as it is connected on internet.
Hackers can easily use an IP (Internet Protocol) address to access a users
computer and collect data for selfish reasons. Also the wide spread of
internet cookies which collect information whenever we use the internet , has
exposed IT users to high risks of fraud and conflicting interests. Many big
companies use these cookies to determine which products or service they
can advertise to us. When it comes to online banking, the transfer of money
can easily be interrupted by a hacker and all the money will be transferred to
their desired accounts , which affects both the bank and the customers who
is using online banking technology.
2. Privacy Issues: As much as information technology has enabled us to
share and find relevant information online,. It has also exploited our freedom
of privacy. Their so many ways our privacy is exploited, (1) use of internet
webcams, experienced computer users can turn on any webcam of any
computer online and they will have access to your private life, many
celebrities have been victims of these online stalkers. A good example is
Dharun Ravia former Rutgers University student who was spying on his
roommate through a webcam. Read more on this story here . (2) use of
social networks, the main concept of these networks is to connect with new
and old friends then share your life with them, however, the loop hole in
this , is that when ever some one access your shared life data like photos ,
they can like it and send it their friends who are not your friends, which
might expose you to users with wrong intentions to use your data, also
some companies are known for spying on their employees via these social
networks.
3. Copyright Infringement: Information technology has made it easy for
users to access any information or artifact at any given time. With the
increased development of music sharing networks and photo bookmarking
sites, many original creators of these works are losing the credibility of their
works, because users of IT can easily gain access and share that data with
friends. Free music and file downloading sites are popping up on internet
every day , lots of original work like music albums, books , are being
downloaded for free. In this case one legitimate user will purchase the
book , software, web template or music album, and they will submit it to a
free download site where others will simply just download that data for free.
It is good news for the users because it saves them money, but it harms the
26

original creator of these works. The government has closed some of these
sites like MEGAUPLOAD.COM , but many are popping up using funny URLs.
4. Increased pressure on IT experts. Since information technology
systems have to run all the time, pressure is mounted on IT experts to
ensure the accuracy and availability of these systems. Many big
organizations which need to operate 24 hours will require a standby IT team
to cater for any issues which might arise during the course of operation. This
pressure results into stress and work overload which some times results into
Imperfection.
5. Digital divide: Information technology has many opportunities and it has
shaped many industries in developed countries; however, developing
countries have difficulties of enjoying the same benefits of Information
technology. To get these benefits they have to train their labor and users
should also adopt the new culture which is a bit costly in these developing
countries. In some remote areas they do not even have power, so
information technology tools like computers can not be used. In other sectors
like education, most of these developing countries have poor old education
systems, so a student will not be aware of new information technologies.

The Universal Nature of Ethical Principles


For every ethical issue, there are ethical concepts and principles to be
identified and used in thinking through the issue. Included in the principles
implied by these concepts are the rights articulated in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. This set of rights, established on December 10,
1948, by the General Assembly of the United Nations, holds that the:
recognition of inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all
members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and
peace in the world . Disregard and contempt for human rights have
resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind,
and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of
speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as
the highest aspiration of the common people.
The Universal Declaration of Humans Rights was conceived as "a common
standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations." It is a good example
of an explicit statement of important ethical principles. It is significant, we
believe, that every nation on earth has signed the declaration.
Here are a few of the principles laid out in the 30 articles of the declaration:

27

All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading


treatment or punishment.

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health
and well-being of himself and of his family.

Everyone has the right to education.

Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and


association.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this
declaration, without distinction of any kinds, such as race, color, sex,
language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin,
property, birth, or status.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination
to equal protection of the law.

One ability essential to sound


principles relevant to the issue
think through the identification
with respect to a specific ethical

reasoning is the ability to identify ethical


at hand. In Test the Idea 12.2, you should
and application of some of these principles
question.

Information Technology and Ethics/IT Professionals and Their


Relationship
IT Workers and Their Employers
It workers are employees just like any other employee in the company. They
must manage a relationship with their employer; this requires the work of
both parties. This relationship like any-other comes in stages, as the
relationship develops .The relationship between an IT worker and employer
may begin before he /or she begins working. Before an IT worker accepts
employment, they may first want discuss job title, performance expectations,
specific work responsibility, drug-testing requirements, dress Code, location
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of employment, salary, work hours and benefits. Issues in employment that


are not addressed by any of the concepts listed above or in the employers
handbook may be addressed by law. The law for example protects an
employee from being forced to do anything illegal by their employer. It
workers are considered stewards of the companies Technological resources
.Since they have the knowledge and abilities to abuse and bypass the
system they must instead set an example and enforce policies.

IT Professionals Relationship with Clients and Suppliers


It professionals have to deal with two groups of people who expect the IT
Professional to either provide monetary gratification or services.

Clients
The relationship between an IT professional and their clients usually begins
with the client contacting the IT Professional and asking them to perform a
specific job. The IT Professional then accepts the job he waits for the client to
provide relevant information about the job. IT Professionals rely on the
information provided by clients to be truthful and complete, so in turn they
can provide recommendations to their clients who make decisions about the
project. Clients must also listen to IT workers and ask them questions to
understand key nuances that will impact the decisions they make and how
those decisions will affect the projects budget and schedule.
It Professions sometimes become in ethical dilemmas when they begin
recommending there products to clients that may or may not remedy their
problem, if it ever existed. Other problems may arise when Project manager
begin to fall behind on their projects due to a variety of reasons such as lack
of experience and/or information. Clients may not be aware of the problem
until it becomes a crisis which forces the project manager to reveal the truth.
The client may charge the IT Professional with fraud, misrepresentation and /
or breach of contract.

Suppliers
Suppliers provide IT workers with hardware, software and services. Like with
clients IT workers must have a good working relationship with their Suppliers.
In order to build a good relationship with suppliers deals with them fairly and
do not make unreasonable demands. Since its a competitive market many
suppliers try to increase sales. Suppliers may try to bribe IT workers in order
to achieve their goals. A bribe is the exchange of money, property or favors
to someone within an institution, business or government to obtain
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privileged information or special treatment in contracts attribution. A gift is


essentially different because a gift does not come with obligations, in any
case in a commercial setup or in relation with a recipient that is in a position
to benefit the donor; ethics dictate that the practice is negative. Gifts must
always be reported and never hidden; the moment a gift is hidden it
becomes a bribe. Most bribes are made through a third party, while gifts
should lead directly from donor to recipient.

Ethical Dilemma (a difficult situation or problem) in the Use of


Information Technology
The use and spread of information technologies has been revolutionized and
aided with the emergence and development of computer technologies.
Electronic networks have allowed exchange of information but it has also
come with new challenges. Rights and responsibilities in the way available
information is used have given rise to some ethical dilemmas. Ethical
dilemmas greatly affect businesses and especially small businesses that may
not have big capital outlays and expertise to deal with ethical dilemmas in
the utilization of technologies.

Computer Crime
Computer crimes are illegal activities performed using a computer and they
include theft, financial fraud, embezzlement, online harassment, virus
infection and sabotage. Computer crimes affect all businesses that rely on
the Internet to operate. A research report in 2000 by the FBI showed that out
of all the business respondents, 85 percent had been victims of computer
crime. These crimes compromise businesses and put them at a
disadvantage; for example, the same FBI report shows that $265 million was
lost to computer crime in 2000. Small businesses suffer more crimes because
they cannot afford to implement security measures to stop the crimes, unlike
the big companies. Small businesses are also reluctant to put in security
measures because they believe that hackers will mainly target big
companies.

Intellectual Property
Intellectual property is the creation of a business and includes the name,
designs, inventions, images and symbols that a company uses. The success
of a business largely depends on its assets. Information technology has
enabled other businesses or companies to imitate or copy ideas from others
and use it as their own. Some of these innovations are from the small- and
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medium-size enterprises (SMEs), but their efforts may not be fully utilized
and they don't gain any financial benefits. This is because their inventions
are unprotected and are normally taken by big companies who can afford to
quickly commercialize the service or product. To avoid this, the SMEs should
patent their innovations, thus, preventing competitors from imitating or
copying their products.

Software Piracy
Piracy is the illegal copying of software, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
Software piracy violates copyright agreements. In 2002, 39 percent of
business application software were pirated in the U.S. Software piracy can be
costly, especially for corporations as it leads to significant losses. In 2002
alone, the software industry in the U.S. lost a total of $13 billion. There may
be arguments that individual piracy may not be unethical as it leads to
computer literacy and may even lead to future purchase of the software.
However, the dilemma may come in when piracy is done on a large scale, as
this will lead to serious losses for software manufacturers, especially those
who are small-scale producers. Big companies like Microsoft can hardly feel
the loss as they have a way to protect their software but small-scale
businesses would greatly be affected as they are likely to incur big losses,
which might eventually lead to the closure of the business. Small business
firms' incentive to continue creating new software is also reduced as they
fear their works would be pirated.

Job Displacement
The use of information technology might require less deployment of man
power and this has created ethical dilemmas by forcing some companies to
reduce their workforce. Other companies give their employees more roles
than required, thus, increasing work pressure. Forcing employees out of their
jobs or giving them more work without added benefits is unethical. Those
who have lost their jobs should be compensated, but this is difficult for most
small-scale businesses because they lack sufficient resources and funds to
do so.

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