Business Ethics & Technology

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BUSINESS ETHICS AND TECHNOLOGY

When exploring the realm of business ethics and society, one aspect that must be considered is technology. There is a rapid increase in technological advances and the potential use of technology bringing up developments that pose ethical challenges in a frontier yet to be discovered. Technology can bring with it many positive benefits, but also brings the possibility of undesirable consequences. As this paper discusses, technology has spread throughout most business aspects from computers and the Internet to biological issues such as cloning. The issues considered in this paper are divided into two categories: (1) information technology, and (2) biotechnology. Information technology includes topics of invasion of privacy and computer technology in the workplace. Biotechnology delves into issues of bioethics, genetic engineering, and genetically modified foods. With the variety of topics discussed in this paper, it will hopefully provide a brief understanding of the overall issues dealing with technology.

PRIVACY ISSUES

Invasion of privacy and unethical business practices are a real concern for Internet users. Personal information and surfing habits can be monitored and recorded without the user even knowing it, like the case of Google.com, the webs most popular search engine. “Basically, the e-mail accused Google of disseminating spyware.” “Google”, the message said, “was using its toolbar application to collect reams of information about the surfing habits of the worlds PC users” (Metz, 2003). With this information, Adware can target you for pop-up ads, but it doesn’t collect personal information like name, phone numbers, or e-mail addresses.

In another case, Internet job board Monster.com has warned its users of the fake job listings being used to steal personal information. “From time to time, false job postings are listed online and used to illegally collect personal information from unsuspecting job seekers” (Geller, 2003). Unfortunately, it’s easy to gain information from these job seekers. If a prospective employer requests information then the job seeker will provide it because it could help them get the job. People who use Internet job boards should research companies thoroughly before they send them any personal information.

One way that personal information, such as credit card numbers, can be protected on-line is encryption. Encryption is a process of encoding messages before they enter the network, then decoding them at the receiving end of the transfer. A public key is the most common way encryption is used. A third party certificate authority like VeriSign verifies that the company you think you’re dealing with is the company you are dealing with. Encryption is one way to ensure safety on the Internet, but it’s still not completely effective. Consumers must still use their best judgment when dealing with companies on the Internet

Another way that the privacy of those who use the Internet is invaded and violated is through viruses. A virus infects a computer program and while the program is running, it duplicates itself, eating into memory space and stored information. Eventually, it will destroy computer software programs and even spread to other systems. To combat viruses, companies and consumers should install virus protection software into their computer. Such software provides protection from existing viruses and can protect against future attacks through various updates. Overall, people should be trained not to open any kind of e-mail message and or attachments from unfamiliar sources until they have been screened for viruses. Internet privacy is also violated when impersonators gain access to a computer system and then steal information, merchandise, and money from innocent consumers. This type of problem is especially evident in cases involving Internet web sites that require personal and/or credit card information...
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