1. What ethical, social, and political issues are raised by information systems?
Explain how ethical, social, and political issues are connected and give some examples.
Figure 4.1 can be used to answer this question. Information technology has raised new possibilities for behavior for which laws and rules of acceptable conduct have not yet been developed. The introduction of new information technology has a ripple effect, raising new ethical, social, and political issues that must be dealt with on the individual, social, and political levels. Ethical, social, and political issues are closely related. Ethical issues confront individuals who must choose a course of action, often in a situation in which two or more ethical principles are in conflict (a dilemma). Social issues spring from ethical issues as societies develop expectations in individuals about the correct course of action. Political issues spring from social conflict and are mainly concerned with using laws that prescribe behavior to create situations in which individuals behave correctly.
In giving examples, students can identify issues surrounding the five moral dimensions of the information age. These include: information rights and obligations, property rights and obligations, accountability and control, system quality, and quality of life.
Differentiate between responsibility, accountability, and liability.
Responsibility is a key element of ethical actions. Responsibility means that you accept the potential costs, duties, and obligations for the decisions you make. Accountability is a feature of systems and social institutions. It means that mechanisms are in place to determine who took responsible, action, who is responsible. Liability is a feature of political systems in which a body of laws is in place that permits individuals to recover the damages done to them by other actors, systems, or organizations.
2. What specific principles for conduct can be used to guide ethical decisions?
List and describe the five steps in an ethical analysis.
The five steps in ethical analysis include:
• Identify and describe clearly the facts.
• Define the conflict or dilemma and identify the higher-order values involved. • Identify the stakeholders.
• Identify the options that you can reasonably take.
• Identify the potential consequences of your options.
Identify and describe six ethical principles.
Six ethical principles are available to judge conduct. These principles are derived independently from several cultural, religious, and intellectual traditions and include: • Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you • Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative. If an action is not right for everyone to take, it is not right for anyone • Descartes’ rule of change. If an action cannot be taken repeatedly, it is not right to take at all • Utilitarian Principle. Take the action that achieves the higher or greater value • Risk Aversion Principle. Take the action that produces the least harm or the least potential cost • “No free lunch” rule. Assume that virtually all tangible and intangible objects are owned by someone else unless there is a specific declaration otherwise.
These principles should be used in conjunction with an ethical analysis to guide decision making. The ethical analysis involves identifying the facts, values, stakeholders, options, and consequences of actions. Once completed, you can consider which ethical principle to apply to a situation to arrive at a judgment.
3. Why do contemporary information systems technology and the Internet pose challenges to the protection of individual privacy and intellectual property?
Define privacy and fair information practices.
Privacy is the claim of individuals to be left alone, free from surveillance or interference from other individuals or...