Ethics Related to Information Systems

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Suitability of Sri Lankan socio/cultural/political/legal environment for enforcing ethics related to Information Systems deployment and use in an organization. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Ethics, Moral and Law of the Civilized Society

Ethics and the morals defines the good and the bad, right and the wrong, do’s and don’ts in terms of the human behavior in the civilized society. They are not written or documented anywhere but in practice by the societies in varying degree. Ethics and Morals have been in existence for thousands of years and had become the fundamentals of the civilized human society. They have been highly influenced by various religions associated in each society and how they are practiced could be different in each society. Ethics and morals are much more deep rooted than the laws. What is ethical and morally wrong may not be legally wrong. “Morals refer to behavior customary in our culture or society. Morals may change as you move from one society to the next. Ethics refer to your personal standards of right and wrong. Ethics do not change as you move from one society to the next” Source “Wikipedia “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_decision” Laws on the other hand are defined by the society for the benefit of the society and are enforceable whereas the ethic and morals are not. Generally law has been introduced by the legislators and or the judiciary to protect the society where the ethics and morals have failed to control. Generally law applicable to the society you live in is the law of the land and there are several major influences in the world such as Roman Dutch law, English Law and had been customized to suit each country and the type of application such as contract law, civil law, commercial law, Intellectual property law etc. As per Laudon given below are six traditional principles that can be used to help forming an ethical decision:

1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
2. If an action is not right for everyone to take, it is not right for anyone. 3. If an action cannot be taken repeatedly, it should not be taken at any time. 4. Take the action that achieves the higher or greater value. 5. Take the action that produces the least harm or least cost. 6. All tangible objects are assumed owned by someone else unless specifically declared otherwise. Source “Laudon Chapter 4 Ethical and Social Issues in Information Systems” Given this context Sri Lankan society comes from over 2500 years of heritage (civilized society) with an internationally recognized law, greatly influenced by Roman Dutch law and English laws and as per the ancient legal principle Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it. People of the land are very much aware of the ethics and laws of the land hence one would not expect to: Forged identity of someone and carry out a banking transaction or sell a land that does not belong to you Make commercial benefit from someone else’s creation or original work by reproducing music CD for resale Being a cashier of a company be irresponsible and misappropriate company funds for your own benefit As a member of the personal department to use personal information of others for your own benefit A credit card user would not expect the retailer to misuse the credit card information and or reuse the card information without the owner’s consent As a motorist and pedestrians you are expected to obey the motor traffic rules These are some of the ethical, moral and legal behaviors one is expected to follow in a civilized society and always there would be a minority that would violate them. Hence the individuals, organizations and societies take precaution to avoid any such behaviors. When such violations become more frequent the societies tend to introduce laws that are enforceable to prevent them and protect the society....
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