Ethical Issues in Information Technology, by Richard Research Paper

Pages: 6 (1835 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Education - Computers

Ethical Issues in Information Technology, by Richard T. DeGeorge

The world we live in is continuously changing and the most commonly used explanation is the rapid pace at which technology is developing. And since these developments have had significant implications to the global environment and lead to major improvements, their beneficial role is undisputed. However, one cannot dismiss the fact that technology is more and more commonly being used as to break organizations' and individuals' privacy, cause fraud or steal copyrighted materials. All these raise the question of the ethical and moral regulations which govern the technological sector.

Richard DeGeorge points out the five categories of it Ethical Issues: issues in the usage of technology in business; issues in the it business; issues dealing with the Internet; issues in e-business and ethical issues resulting from the impact of computers and information technology on society. All these are interrelated but they are rarely properly implemented. Among the numerous reasons why it ethics fail to be successfully implemented, DeGeorge highlights the anonymity given by computers, the fact that machine mistakes are easily forwarded and excused or the reduced sense of wrong doing when using computers. The major reason is in fact the development discrepancy between information technology, the human perception of computer activities and moral rules, sustained by lacking legislature on the matter.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Research Paper on Ethical Issues in Information Technology, by Richard Assignment

The ethical issues in the usage of technology in business arise in marketing activities and are addressed to consumers and in managerial activities and are addressed to employees and basically refer to privacy. The collection of personal information is subjected to it ethics as it poses the risks of revealing too much information about individuals; information which could be used in harmful or unapproved activities. The informed consent is yet another feature which refers to the level of understanding and agreeing on certain online activities, the most relevant example being online purchases with the usage of credit cards. Confidentiality and responsibility for errors and harm are also misappropriated. The ethical issues related to emails and the usage of internet target employees and several privacy policies. Since the general belief is that the information on a business computer belongs to the company, employees ought to be properly informed of the organization's privacy policies and the extent to which they are allowed to send and receive personal data on the company's email address and browse the internet for personal purposes. In addition, the legislature should define the extent to which the employer is allowed to video tape the employees through surveillance cameras and also the destination of the employee private records detained by the employer.

The ethical issues in the it business refer to the responsibility of providers and of owners. The responsibility for computers and computer owners implies that manufacturers are obliged to deliver a free-bug product and offer buyers guarantees. These guarantees are more common with hardware than software products, which should all inform the user of the risks and alternatives available. Ownership of programs, copyright and patent or multiple uses by purchaser regulations are insufficient.

The ethical issues dealing with the Internet refer to violation of privacy, lack of consent, lack of confidentiality, potential harmful actions, property issues, patents and copyright or piracy. These problems increase moreover given the international coverage and access to internet and anonymity features and encrypting possibilities.

The ethical issues in e-business raise problems related to taxation as there are opposite opinions in regard to the fees requested by state budgets. Other difficulties encountered refer to employees' working from home, the need to get information on partners and clients, consent, authenticity of web sites, fraud possibility and payment security or any other unique features directly linked to the nature of the business conducted.

The ethical issues resulting from the impact of computers and information technology on society refer to the impact of technological developments onto the social aspects of life, including the means of regarding human beings (and the possibility of them being out paced by computers), the changing nature of work or the differentiation between people who own and operate computers and those who do not. Political implications refer to governments' interference and control over technology and information vs. peoples' interference in the governments' actions and security data. In addition, it refers to the need for an international legislature to monitor it activities and their conformity with ethical issues.

3. Ethics analysis

Richard DeGeorge's Ethical Issues in Information Technology points out the numerous features of computer and internet related business or non-business activities. He highlights the lacking legislature in the domain and poses several questions as to what would be the best means to resolving a contemporaneous ethical problem. His concerns are quite common with the concerns forwarded by other academicians and cover a wide selection of critical issues, including piracy and theft of copyrighted material, computer fraud and theft of identity, theft of secret information from the government and other public or private organizations and implications upon the social and political environment.

A primary difference between DeGeorge's article and other studies is the level of details and the actual coverage of the topic. In this order of ideas, DeGeorge covers five types of ethical issues for which he specifies certain characteristics and details. Other writers and analysts prefer to focus on a single feature and detail it. Take for instance Ethics and Information Technology: A Case-Based Approach to Health Care System in Transition (Health Informatics). In this book, authors James Anderson and Kenneth Goodman cover a wide array of topics, such as complaints from both patients and the medical staff in regard to technological systems, online promotions and purchases of medical products, privacy and confidentiality, technological use of patients and medical information, bioinformatics or online researches. DeGeorge on the other hand only refers to the medical implications of usage of information technology, without debating or detailing them.

Another work of significant reference for ethical issues related to it activities is Robert Scultz's Contemporary Issues in Ethics and Information Technology. The book starts by presenting the significant value of both technological developments alongside with their immediate compliance with moral regulations. Similar to DeGeorge's article, the book covers several areas, including numerous common elements. The issues discussed in both works include it ethics in organizations and outside organizations, referring to all stakeholders (employer, employees, consumers, the general public or the market), privacy and security of information, taxation or the occurrence of fraud. The main difference between the two works, aside from length and details, is given by the varying approach. To better explain, Ethical Issues in Information Technology is written in an informal and simpler way and it addresses issues of general interest. On the other hand, however it also addresses matters of general interest, Contemporary Issues in Ethics and Information Technology is written in a more formal manner and it generally approaches it from an economic stand point, including internal features of the organization (management, marketing, employees and conflict handling) alongside with external features (national and international market or legislature).

Doug Johnson is another significant contributor to the information technology ethics domain, with an extensive array of published works, both online and on paper (books and articles in specialized magazines and journals) as well as dedicated speeches in it conferences. The major similarity between the two writers is their approach of the issues. As such, both authors explain the matters from an informal and simple point-of-view as to insure a clear understanding of the topics presented. The most significant difference resides in the coverage of the topics. As such, if DeGeorge identified at least five ethical implications of it and other numerous ramifications, Johnson only considers three of them to be of vital importance: privacy, property and appropriate use.

Another useful resource to which DeGeorge's article relates is the Colorado School of Mines which provides students and outside researchers with extensive resources, generally web-based materials. These materials are classified and divided upon similarity criteria and encompass: ethics in computing links (cybernetics, explorer and articles), security, identity theft, copyrighted material, music on the internet, trademark and patents, software licensing and piracy, spamming and chain letters, free speech, privacy and anonymity. The resource center is similar to Ethical Issues in Information Technology as it addresses similar concerns. However the resource center offers a wider coverage of the topics presented.

There are numerous works on the topic of ethics applied in information technology and their number will continue to increase further more, especially since the debate is far from reaching an end. Richard DeGeorge's intent was to address most of these issues in a clear and concise manner, without major debates and details. The purpose of the article is to present the existence of the ethical shortcomings in the it sector and raise questions as to how could these matters be approached and resolved. While Ethical Issues in Information Technology presents the issue from a more general stand point, other resources present more detailed implication and focus on particular domains such as healthcare (Ethics and Information… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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