RUNNING HEAD: IT590 - ASSIGNMENT 6 PROJECT1
IT590 - ASSIGNMENT 6 PROJECT13
Assignment 6: Final ProjectJustin WaynsIT590: Legal and Ethical Issues in ITProfessor: Dr. Ellen RaineriKaplan UniversityJune 23, 2015
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abstract3Part 1: Ethical and legal issues in Information Technology4Issues in Technology4Personal Privacy4Social Contract Theory5Morality in Technology5Virtue Ethics6Part 2: Ethical Theories in Information Technology Case Studies6Case Studies.6Part 3: Ethical Computing Legislation8SOPA8Kantian Perspective8CISPA9Principle of Utility9Part 4: Ethical Codes of Conduct for Information Technology in Different Cultures10References12
AbstractEthics plays a big part in everyday life, or should play a big part. Along the course of this class journey I have learned a lot about different ethical theories and how they are used throughout society. Ethics has a big part in IT departments deal with how software is deployed and how it is obtained. For this research project we have been tasked to discuss a few different topics regarding ethical issues in Information technology and case studies regarding IT. To wind things down I will discuss two laws that deal with Information Technology and how these laws affect the way business decisions are made. Finally, I deal with a situation in regards to dealing with working with people from other cultures. Does their ethical code of conduct differ from my point of view?
Part 1: Ethical and legal issues in Information TechnologyThe amount of ethical issues in technology today is sometimes hard to keep up with. Everywhere you look in the news, there is something related to a technology. Usually the issues are because of a data breach from a company or it will deal with someone losing their job because of a social media post gone wrong. Both issues can hurt those involved and usually the latter was done in the moment by a person not thinking clearly about the ramifications of their actions. Both such actions directly go against the Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics. The first commandment being Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people (Computer Ethics Institute, n.d.). Some of the legal issue in technology today come from the loss of personal privacy and how far some companies go to snoop on their employees. This brings up issues of personal privacy and morality.It is hard for ethics and laws to keep up with ever changing technology. Suppose that you are applying for a new job, it is illegal for an employer to ask certain questions. Some of the questions that cannot be asked deal with a persons sexual preference, religious beliefs, and political party affiliation. You will never know it if a potential employer searches through your social media postings and Facebook friends to form their own opinion about you before even granting an interview. The information that shows up could have them disqualify you without ever getting an interview even though you might be qualified for the position (Wadhwa, 2014).Issues in TechnologyPersonal Privacy. Privacy is considered to be a zone of inaccessibility to a persons information. You should have the right to whom is granted access to your bubble of privacy (Quinn, 2013, p. 229). In the age of information there is a growing want to know everything. An employer want to know everything about its employees. Sometimes this can go too far. Some employers in their hiring practices will ask potential employees for their login information for the employees social media accounts. To me this is not right. Privacy is just that, a password is private. Anyone is free to see what you make available publicly. If the employer want to look at my social media posting I do not have a problem, however I will not give someone my password information. Even when you are hired of have worked for a company for a period of time you are told by your IT Department not to give out passwords. By handing out your password, it gives others the ability to sign in to your account as if they are you and in turn, whoever has that password can post whatever they want to your account as if they were you. Social Contract Theory. This is of moral concern to me because you do not know what others will do with full access to your personal information. The decision of what is right or wrong and also one of privacy is what needs to foremost in ones mind. We have a moral responsibility to do what is right, and along with that we have to be mindful of ours and others privacy. Under social contract theory, privacy is a prudential right, and under social contract theory it would be wrong for an employer to monitor an employees social media accounts (Quinn, 2013, p. 237).Morality in Technology. A morality issue in technology deals with a company releasing an imperfect software package knowingly. Suppose a company that you were doing a project for decided that a portion of the software package was okay to be left vulnerable to a potential attack from hackers and it did not affect your portion of your contracted work; how would you dealt with knowing the truth of the issue? Knowing that I have signed a confidentiality agreement with the company, but also knowing that the software company was defrauding the company that paid them for a complete package does not sit right with me. Such a scenario might make one become a Whistleblower. A Whistleblower is one who is willing to break ranks with the organization to disclose information that one feels is harmful to the public, but only after the proper channels have been exhausted without any actions taken to make right the situation (Quinn, 2013, p. 428).Virtue Ethics. A person with virtuous character would want to do what would bring about good consequences. A virtuous person is someone who has ideal character traits and has been conditioned over time to do what is right because it is right, not because they are expecting a reward or to gain any favor (Athanassoulis, n.d.). Using virtue ethics when it comes to making life decisions comes down to the question of How would a virtuous person act in this situation?Part 2: Ethical Theories in Information Technology Case StudiesApplying ethical theories to case studies in Information Technology makes you not just look at a particular case, but it makes you learn about the decisions that were made to get there.Case Studies.A few resent case studies in Information Technology come from a few different angles and countries. First off, a big one that I like and makes what I think is a big impact on driving accidents comes from Samsung. Samsung seems to have the drivers behind them in mind with a new addition that they have been putting on their trucks in Argentina. Argentina has many small 2 lane highways and drivers often try to pass the trucks which can end badly for the driver if another vehicle is coming the other way. Well, Samsungs answer to this issue to this problem comes in the form of small cameras mounted in the grill of their trucks with a large screen on the back of the trailer built into the door.The Samsung Safety Truck makes passing the truck much easier since the driver behind the truck has a real-time view of what is ahead (Perkins, 2015). I see this as Samsung thinking about the general public and not their bottom line. From a Utilitarian perspective this falls under the Principle of Utility. Samsung saw a need for the greater good of the community and came up with a workable solution to fill this need. This is a good thing that Samsung has done, but some might see a large traveling video screen as a distraction, especially at night.Another study is one that comes from Zimbabwe. Many African nations have started to catch up with the world when it comes to emerging technology use. In 2000 there were roughly 20 million land line phones in all of Africa. These phones mostly belonged to the privileged. As of 2012 there were more than 500 million mobile phones subscribers in Africa, which happens to be more that the U.S. or the European Union (Magezi, 2015). Today it seems that through the use of information, communication, and technology churches are beginning to grow and get their messages out to more people. The study by Magezi interviewed different pastors from different walks of life and ages. Some were aggressively embracing technology, while still some wanted nothing to do with it. One of the respondent pastors stated: You have to understand that you cannot stand and only sing old hymns from a hymn book. You need to attract young people by exploring new ways of using technology to make church enjoyable (Magezi, 2015). By expanding their viewpoint they can reach a wider audience.These pastors are gauging the culture of their church and the people that attend to make it more enjoyable through the use of technology. It is culturally relative to the benefit of the church to get more people involved and want to be there. On the other end of this spectrum are those pastors that think technology has no place in the church and are somewhat scared to embrace technology themselves.Part 3: Ethical Computing LegislationResent laws regarding ethical computing focus on such acts as SOPA and PIPA. SOPA was brought about to stop online computer piracy and tries to curb the theft of digital content. Both of these bills were heavily promoted by Hollywood in the US Congress to create a blacklist of websites that should be censored for committing rouge acts such as having copies available to download for free of movies and digital music that should be paid for. If these bills had been passed about ten years ago, we might have never had a site like YouTube (Electronic Frontier Foundation, n.d.)SOPAThe Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was introduced by US Representative Lamar S. Smith of Texas on October 26, 2011. SOPA is summarized as an act to authorize the Attorney General to seek a court order against U.S. directed Internet sites committing online piracy of U.S. Copyrighted digital material. SOPA is not a fan of everyone since it does have a broad scope to cover content. SOPA sets a two-step process to allow an intellectual property right holder harmed by a U.S.-directed site dedicated to infringement of copyright law to be first warned by letter to remove the pirated content, then actions to be taken if the site owners do not comply with the attempt to supply a court order (Smith, 2011).Kantian Perspective. A Kantian perspective on SOPA is that the site owners think that they are not causing any harm and therefore have the right to host content that the owner of has not been compensated for. If the law of Kant could be held universal then it would be okay for me to just start downloading movies to watch in my house since it is not technically hurting anyone. I am not selling the content, but again, I did not pay for it either. I guess there is a Kantian reasoning that I myself have been guilty of, which is copying music from CDs that I have paid for so that I can listen to them from my computer and not have to keep changing the disc or to have another copy in my car (Quinn, 2013, p. 93).CISPACISPA is another bill before congress that is apparently being put onto the fast track to get through. It was introduced to Congress on January 8, 2015 by Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland. CISPA is the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. CISPA: Directs the federal government to provide for the real-time sharing of actionable, situational cyber threat information between all designated federal cyber operations centers to enable integrated actions to protect, prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from cyber incidents (Ruppersberger, 2015). CISPA amends the National Security Act of 1947 and requires the Director of National Intelligence to allow the sharing of information in prevention of cyber threats. Some of the companies that were opposed to SOPA seem to now be onboard with CISPA, mainly because it is now to their benefit since they are not the potential targets for user information stored on their websites. With SOPA, Facebook could have been held liable for user content that infringed upon U.S. Copyright Protection, but with CISPA they gain in the benefit of shared information.Principle of Utility. The Principle of Utility explains that an action is right (or wrong) if it increases (or decreases) the total happiness of the affected parties (Quinn, 2013, p. 75). Such is the reasoning of Facebook being on board with CISPA when just a year or so earlier they were opposed to SOPA due to the fact it being harmful to them and their business. The sharing of information between companies give companies like Facebook a great advantage over the general consumer who would rather have their information held private.Part 4: Ethical Codes of Conduct for Information Technology in Different CulturesThere are two main computing organizations that have a code of conduct. Those two main organizations are The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) do have many similar parts to their code of ethics. Starting with section 1.1 of ACMs General Moral Imperatives and IEEEs section 7 of its Professional Activities, they both state the need for safety and for the well-being of society. ACM starts with the quality of life for all people and the obligation to protect that quality of life by not using computers to do harm in way to users, the general public, and employees (ACM, Inc., 1992). IEEE deals with making consistent decisions with regard to safety, health and welfare of the public (IEEE, n.d.).Another code of ethics being discussed in the global community is being undertaken by UNESCO. There has been a true need for a global code of ethics for the information society since a recent summit from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). There were a few topics discussed during the summit. A global code cannot exist without the cooperation and contributions from UNESCO global regions. This is to be a collaborative work between nations (Capurro & Britz, 2010, p. 28). Another article that I came across dealt with information security management and computer ethics. In this article it mentioned the code of ethics for a few other developed countries that deal with computer professionals. The Honk Kong Computer Societys Code of Ethics covers professional competence, social implications, leadership, integrity, and duty of profession. The Japan Information Technology Service Industry Association also has a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. In Japans version four main components are highlighted. Those components are: relation to society, relation to fellow members and employees, and relation to society (Lee & Chan, Ph.D, 2008).Hong Kong does not have a large code of conduct, but it does cover the basics with the f...