Ethical and Social Issues in Information Systems

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Chapter 4

Ethical and Social Issues in Information Systems

After reading this chapter, you will be able to:
1. Analyze the relationships among ethical, social, and political issues that are raised by information systems. 2. Identify the main moral dimensions of an information society and specific principles for conduct that can be used to guide ethical decisions. 3. Evaluate the impact of contemporary information systems and the Internet on the protection of individual privacy and intellectual property. 4. Assess how information systems have affected everyday life.

4.1 UNDERSTANDING ETHICAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES RELATED TO SYSTEMS A Model for Thinking About Ethical, Social, and Political Issues Five Moral Dimensions of the Information Age Key Technology Trends that Raise Ethical Issues ETHICS IN AN INFORMATION SOCIETY Basic Concepts: Responsibility, Accountability, and Liability Ethical Analysis Candidate Ethical Principles Professional Codes of Conduct Some Real-World Ethical Dilemmas THE MORAL DIMENSIONS OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS Information Rights: Privacy and Freedom in the Internet Age Property Rights: Intellectual Property Accountability, Liability, and Control System Quality: Data Quality and System Errors Quality of Life: Equity, Access, and Boundaries HANDS-ON MIS Developing a Web Site Privacy Policy: Dirt Bikes USA Achieving Operational Excellence: Creating a Simple Web Site Using Web Page Development Tools Improving Decision Making: Using Internet Newsgroups for Online Market Research




Interactive Sessions:
Data for Sale The Internet: Friend or Foe to Children?

LEARNING TRACK MODULE Developing a Corporate Code of Ethics for Information Systems



or many years, parents of District of Columbia public school children complained about buses running late or not showing up. A federal court appointed an independent transportation administrator and enlisted Satellite Security Systems, or S3, to track the movements of the district’s buses. S3 provides satellite tracking services to clients such as the District of Columbia, Fairfax County, state and federal government agencies, police departments, and private companies. These services equip each vehicle or person they are monitoring with a tracking device using global positioning system (GPS) technology. GPS is a navigation system operated by the U.S. Department of Defense based on satellites that continually broadcast their position, time, and date. GPS receivers on the ground, which can be attached to vehicles, cell phones, or other equipment, use information from the satellite signals to calculate their own locations. Cell phones are now equipped with GPS. The D.C. public school system is spending $6 million on its GPS tracking system. It is equipping buses with GPS locators and special-needs children riding those buses with ID cards that log when they get on and off their buses. Parents receive secret codes that enable them to use the Internet to track their children. S3’s monitoring center picks up GPS information from the tracking devices and monitors the locations of the buses on video screens. Most of the monitoring is automated, and the S3 staff intervenes primarily in emergencies. S3 maintains each day’s tracking data for long periods, and clients can access historical tracking data if they wish. S3 provides detailed information to the D.C. public schools: each bus’s route throughout the day, when the bus stops, when the doors open and close, the speed, and when the ignition is turned on and off. The S3 system includes a database with information on the bus passengers—each child’s name, address, disabilities, allergies, contact information, and when their school days begin and end. David Gilmore, the court-appointed transportation administrator for the D.C. public schools has seen improvement in bus driver performance. Reports of bus drivers...
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