Ethical and Social Issues in Information Systems
Student Learning Objectives
1. What ethical, social, and political issues are raised by information systems? 2. What specific principles for conduct can be used to guide ethical decisions? 3. Why do contemporary information systems technology and the Internet pose challenges to the protection of individual privacy and intellectual property? 4. How have information systems affected everyday life?
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
The following alphabetical list identifies the key terms discussed in this chapter. The page number for each key term is provided.
Intellectual property, 127
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), 138
Computer abuse, 134
Nonobvious relationship awareness (NORA), 116
Computer crime, 133
Computer vision syndrome (CVS), 138
Descartes’ rule of change, 118
Digital divide, 135
Repetitive stress injury (RSI), 137
Digital Millennium Copyright Act, (DMCA), 130
Due process, 117
Risk Aversion Principle, 119
Ethical “no free lunch” rule, 119
Safe harbor, 122
Fair Information Practices (FIP), 120
Golden Rule, 118
Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative, 118
Trade secret, 127
Information rights, 114
Utilitarian Principle, 119
Informed consent, 112
Web beacons, 125
This is an interesting, stimulating chapter to present in class with the opportunity to create dynamic discussions. Your students will have a variety of opinions about the ethical issues presented in this chapter. You may want to open the discussion by asking if any students have had first-hand experiences with personal data compromises. You may also ask students how they defend themselves against misuse of information systems and data. Most of them probably don’t.
The opening case, “Content Pirates Sail the Web” shows that technology can be a double-edged sword. It can be the source of many benefits. It can also create new opportunities for breaking the law or taking benefits away from others. The Web has created new opportunities and challenges regarding privacy issues. Broadband communications technology and the global nature of the Internet have made content pirating easier and faster.
The misuse and abuse of content also creates moral and ethical dilemmas that students are likely to face in the workplace. Is it okay to use content such as music, movies, and books without paying for it simply because it’s available and “everyone else does?” Students should understand that content creation is expensive and relies on someone’s talents. The creators have a reasonable expectation to be compensated for their work.
Companies who own or control content are taking measures against online piracy by initiating alert systems which notify users suspected of piracy and results in progressive penalties. Google has adjusted its search algorithms to reduce the likelihood of users finding pirated content. New products and services have made pirated content less attractive by providing better copies through inexpensive...
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