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Ethical and Legal Dilemmas

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Ethical and Legal Dilemmas in Home Monitoring and Management Services Assignment u10a1 Robert "Bob" Turner TS5336 – Ethical and Legal Considerations in Information Technology Capella University December 16, 2011

E-mail: bob_turner@cox.net Instructor: Mr. Stuart Gold, PhD

The adversary’s work is made much easier since information leakage is commonplace among supervisory control and data acquisition. there is a corresponding and complimentary ethical framework for . home health care delivery. and stories of fraud. threats and news of layoffs. there are situations where the law can assist in shaping the direction of the industry and drive service and technological innovations we demand as consumers. or SCADA. which forces practitioners to rely on sorting through the mass of industry technical standards. building codes and generalized information technology related laws in order to deliver effective services. legal conundrums and ethical missteps by leaders in industry. Daily are the stories of economic suffering within various industries. 2005). it is easy to determine that we live in challenging times for the global and national economy.Ethical and Legal Dilemmas 2 Ethical and Legal Dilemmas in Home Monitoring and Management Services The industry that has developed over the last 25 years around the concept of protecting the home through use of information technology and ensuring privacy by applying information assurance controls is today a multi-million dollar market force. there does not appear to be a targeted legal or ethical framework that serves to regulate this field. and management of food inventory and delivery of entertainment services. Yet for nearly every law written. These conditions impact today’s home technology market as it continues to deliver advanced systems and software applications for establishing or improving security along with personal productivity and home management. This paper presents arguments. that highlight the issues and complexities of law and ethics involved when maintaining privacy comes in conflict with the need for sharing information necessary to effect proper management of management services and protection of private homes or offices using information technology based tools and techniques. Of course. Loathe as we are for Government intervention. waste and privilege abuse. Internet news sites and community specific weblogs. systems which are at the core of home security and management architectures (Nash. Unfortunately. with every Internet based avenue inward to the home to deliver services there is a corresponding outlet for personal and private information and activities to be shared with members of the Internet community. for the benefit of students and professionals in the home security and information technology fields. monitoring services. Included are those applications which serve to better the life of average citizens by delivering improved physical security. Legal and Ethical Use of Information and Technology From a casual review of articles in the local newspaper.

economy. Privacy considerations. which is codified in 49 U. SSI is information obtained or developed in the conduct of security activities. 2010.S. Among these laws are specific statutes concerning privacy practices. and telecommunications. Among the many laws relating to privacy is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. regulations. could constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy. or SSI.Ethical and Legal Dilemmas 3 applying common sense. p.C. industry best practices and professional ethics to ensure effective and high quality services at the best price. Effective government protection and provision of security services carries the imperative that public and private entities work together to protect these assets. Legal Frameworks According to the United States Government Accountability Office (2008). One specific regulation provides for protection of information considered as Sensitive Security Information. regulations. Stemming from the ECPA. and mandatory standards that pertain to securing privately owned IT systems and data in our nation’s critical infrastructure sectors (GAO. public health. which if disclosed. The same partnerships among private industry and government agencies directly support effective provision of private home security and monitoring services through a framework of federal laws. Many critical infrastructure components are owned by the private sector. The Act also imposes the duty to avoid disclosure to people unless they have a need to .2). 114. security service provisions and contractual implications which are useful in constructing state and local laws to regulate the home monitoring and management services industry. energy. The Government imposed specific duties on agents and private citizens such as taking reasonable steps to safeguard SSI in that person's possession or control from unauthorized disclosure. 1). or could reveal information which contains trade secrets or privileged information. to include public and private functions such as banking and finance. Our nation’s reliance on computerized information systems and electronic data make it essential that the security of these systems and data is maintained (p. There are over 30 federal laws. and standards considered essential to the security of privately owned information technology systems and data. known by the acronym ECPA and discussed in a later section of this paper. our Government has enacted rules governing how agencies are allowed to handle personal and private information. and safety. Federal policy identifies eighteen infrastructure sectors that are critical to the nation’s security. public health and healthcare.

For review. The law provides remedies if a promise is breached with the goal to make the breached party return to their prior position." 2004). discerning responsibility and then carrying out the decision (p. Numerous facets of IT related management within home security and monitoring are simply the result of contract performance.com.Ethical and Legal Dilemmas 4 know. the federal government does require certain information held on non-government systems to be protected against unauthorized access and disclosure (Motef. Federal agencies generally do not mandate controls for the security of non-government computer systems.d. However. the parties must rely on specific language and clauses being standard across the industry. or refrain from doing a specific act or obligation. Security considerations. Contracts are agreements that are legally enforceable which may involve a duty to do. By employing Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development and Education and the axioms expressed by Professor Kenneth Laudon. As many home computing systems and those held by private home monitoring and management service providers can potentially contain sensitive Government information either created by a private entity or that which is inadvertently or deliberately downloaded. rather than punish the breaching party (USLegal. the information technology professional can develop ethically driven business rules for operating within the home monitoring and management services industry which set their business apart from those who set ethics behind profit. there is a duty imposed to protect the information once discovered. or operated systems. as if the contract had not been breached. Private concerns have adopted similar standards in order to have an approach which keeps their corporate interests in mind and serves to shield them from litigation. leased. Lawrence Kohlberg (1984) believes moral action flows from a three step process involving a deontic judgment of what is right. 258). Ethical Value Systems The effect of principled behavior strengthens cyber security. Kohlberg (as cited in Wahlberg and Haertel. Non-performance of this duty is considered a breach of contract. Contract compliance. which can be defined as the requirement to understand pieces of information in the normal performance of their duties ("Protection of sensitive.). 1997) understood that moral judgments may be . 2004). n. The government’s role and responsibility in computer security relates primarily to securing federally owned.

Thus. Professor Kenneth Laudon (1995) believed that from his study of 2. contrasted against those who would rather take action that tend to produce the best outcome whether results or consequences. to a supervisor immediately while another employee with similar technical training would investigate and correct the cause of the suspicious activity without a report. 34). like BitTorrent or Morpheus. 2009). Phenomenology versus positivism which asks what is good in the given situation derived from the logic and language of the moment or by observing the real world and inductively deriving the ethical principles. Practical Application of Ethical Considerations in Information Technology The home monitoring and management industry is increasingly dependence on internet connected services and wireless interconnections to process tremendous volumes of data and to provide real time monitoring and control of home services which integrate into operations and call centers. 57).000 years of writings there emerged three critical arguments. The final distinction being a contrast between individuals and collectivities which focuses on belief systems the locus of moral authority and stresses that belief in an individual’s power of self-analysis versus community or society consensus could result in moral relativism based on whatever the group believes is the best rule (p. intuition and aesthetics. . plus those applications which directly impact life affirming medical services such as real time heart monitors which report to clinics or emergency responders or fire control systems which sense temperature or flames and respond with activation of fire suppression and warning systems. Of particular interest to the ethicist are those systems which provide direct control of safety and security systems. a strong moral drive to produce ethically based judgments are divided according to ones intention to pursue the acts. these ethical foundations motivate one employee to report suspicious activity such as the existence of peer-to-peer software. and as judgments that oblige an individual to take action (p.Ethical and Legal Dilemmas 5 defined as judgments of value. in some cases. Privacy and Security Practices In practical application within the information technology industry. simply deemed as the right thing to do by those individuals (Chong and Opara. Rules versus consequences which positions those who believe good actions result from following the correct and generally accepted rules of behavior based on religion. as social judgments.

Within the home security and monitoring industry.1). The Effects of Law on the Information Technology Profession The effects of local and state legal actions. the seemingly limitless effects of tort law and crusades by individual legislators often result in greater losses within the industry. lamented that state bills in California and New York have a tendency to be copied by other states in rapid order (p.S. the application of Kohlberg and Laudon’s theories are found in the amount of personal information coincident to providing the service that can be gathered on celebrities and public figures. Within an industry with sales exceeding $2. consultants and installation firms could be significant should an accident or incident result in death or harm to an individual or significant loss of property. and subsequently revealed to cause damage or erosion of the image is but one aspect that provides incentives to protect on near equal measure to incentives to publish. 2011). the Electronic Security Association’s Director of Government relations. designers. Designing solutions to fit a validated requirement provides the opportunity to solve a problem instead of the opposing search for a problem to fit a tool. John Chwat. 2007). Kohlberg suggests that the individuals continue to change their decision priorities over time. The Right Product at the Right Time for the Right Cost The ethical dilemma in applying technology to solve problems is that despite what a designer is comfortable with. In an article by technology columnist Gerald Kohl (2010). is that the purpose of designing technology is most often to make it serve a certain function (Albrechtslund. and security systems accounted for nearly 58% of the U. whether through case law or legislation. Those who specialize in technology applied within a private home should guard against designing a fit for their favorite or most abundantly stocked tool or application. peer or environmental influences. or desires to be challenged to achieve. or exempt designers and installers from liability associated with manufacturer defects. lighting. instead they should apply the available technology or engage in design of new technologies to meet a need or desire of the customer. home entertainment.1 billion in 2010 with potential to reach more than $3. 52). growing confidence or willingness to take risks based on experiences along with changes in values of ethical behavior (Chong and Opara. p. home automation market in 2010 (BCC Research. are far reaching. While many contracts include clauses that indemnify manufacturers from installation defects. . through education.Ethical and Legal Dilemmas 6 Within the home security monitoring and management services industry.8 billion by 2016. the liability of manufacturers.

Consumers who do not read the contract carefully are often victims of not only the incident or accident. The device then uploads readings to the patient's electronic medical record EMR. including the monitor service (Kohl. These features and policy rules built within the architectures and designs of information systems can carry the effect of law and are every bit as important as the rules promulgated by traditional government institutions (Richards. seller. privacy and safety. the responsibility for managing. are slowly evolving but tend to focus the areas of liability. with a return on investment in more robust communications networks reflected in lower Medicare costs (Versel. 40-43). 2010). religion and philosophical systems of ethics (Tavani. monitoring and security concerns seem to fall outside the normal arguments of morality. According to the summary of NY Senate Bill 2074. State laws. privacy features can be built into computer systems to guarantee personal data will be processed using fair information practices. sellers and/or monitors of burglary protection systems from liability for negligence should not be enforceable and existing contracts with the indemnification should be voided. 2006). . such as New York’s laws relating to home monitoring services. 2010). The committee examined the use of broadband technologies in healthcare. terms used in a contract to indemnify or exempt manufacturers. but they become victims of the contract as well. Committee members applauded the technologies available for home medical care highlighting an automatic insulin dispenser that wirelessly communicates adjustments to dosage as the patient's condition changes. Underlying the utility of such devices is the need for widespread availability of broadband Internet service. p. Other experts assert that digital environments can be regulated by their technological capabilities and the design choices made by computer systems engineers. intuitively. with emphasis on mobile and wireless devices. Continued Federal legislation and support for improving broadband Internet technology and infrastructure for non-standard home management services such as home medical monitoring with heart monitors. For example. service and maintenance provided by the manufacturer.Ethical and Legal Dilemmas 7 Legislation Experts argue between the ethical basis for establishing laws even when. At the Federal level. the lengthy debate leading to passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act included discussions by the Senate Committee on Aging. The proposed language states that such terms must provide for recovery of costs associated with the installation. 2001.

Such specificity in legislation is a trend expected to continue as citizens react to advances in technology which increase access to the home and more services are offered.Ethical and Legal Dilemmas 8 insulin delivery systems and other portable medical technologies can significantly influence the direction of home management systems. In George Demarco’s (2004) article concerning the cost of local government response to false alarms. California. The Impact of Legislation The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. Noting that properly managed alarm systems provided opportunity cost savings of more than 80 percent in Los Angeles. was enacted to extend federal wiretap laws to new forms of communication and has direct applicability to the home security monitoring field. 2006). As technology improves and services response stabilizes. 17). monitoring management proves its value in greater measure than legislation or the effect of case law outcomes. 2010).000 per year to respond to false alarms while smaller localities like Hercules. The ECPA is based on the privacy rights derived from the protection against unreasonable . Local Law Enforcement and Monitoring Industry Partnerships Local governments incur costs in responding to false alarms generated by security monitoring systems with the mechanical controls industry reporting similar cost incurred responding to abnormal conditions reported to operations centers. Ohio and Kingman. Countries outside of the United States also regulate the services related to home monitoring and management. Section 71). Arizona have instituted fines of between $75 and $200 to offset costs incurred when police are required to respond to a false alarm (Anonymous. further breaching the boundary of privacy within homes and private offices. South Africa’s government regulates wages for private security firms engaged in monitoring and responding to alarms at premises which are guarded by persons or by electronic means (Badenhorst. California and 90 percent in Salt Lake City. improvements in the relationship between law enforcement and the alarm industry has brought a measurable effect on the community through accurate reporting and adjudication of service calls when home monitoring technology delivers a false alarm. Utah (p. 2004. or ECPA. Astubula. Australia’s Private Security Act (2004) requires that country’s Chief Commissioner to register those in the business of acting as security equipment installers or security consultants (Australasian Legal Information Institute. Municipalities such as San Rafael. California report costs of $250.

Constitution. 2010).d. There is little accessible Federal law speaking directly to the home monitoring and management industry beyond that which is common to all businesses. and the Homeland Security Act with the legislation providing for government surveillance of private telephone or internet based communications and to encourage private entities to share information with the government by alleviating legal liability.). practitioners need to be concerned with the technologies used for conducting electronic surveillance. n. 2003). Likewise. such as webcams or other video monitoring without an audio component (Privacy Rights Clearing House. lighting and sound isolation. As many home security systems communicate with monitoring operations centers over standard telephone lines. but not the dialing information (Electronic Frontier Foundation.S. while trap & trace devices record the numbers that call you. pen registers and traps. The Supreme Court decided in the 1979 case of Smith v. Surveillance using wiretaps. only with proper showing on the part of law enforcement should breaches of privacy rules be allowed (Mitrano. wiring. . The lack of specific legislative intervention could be due to the long-standing principles of constitutional law and to more recent principles of civil privacy legislation. wiretapping is any interception of a telephone transmission via the telephone signal while electronic eavesdropping is the use of an electronic transmitting or recording device to monitor conversations without the consent of the parties. Maryland that because telephone users knowingly exposes phone numbers to the phone company when they dial them. the Fourth Amendment doesn't protect the privacy of those numbers against pen trap or trace surveillance by the government. Signals traversing the home’s physical and logical telecommunications boundary can be subject to monitoring under the Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act. One facet of the ECPA is the legislation regulating the practice of conducting surveillance using wiretaps or the less intrusive pen registers and so called trap and trace devices. The contents of a telephone conversation are protected. Other aspects of legislation including the Patriot Act. Pen registers are electronic devices that record the phone numbers that you call. known as the USA-PATRIOT Act.Ethical and Legal Dilemmas 9 searches and seizures found in the Fourth Amendment and Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce granted in Article I of the U. It is important to note here that federal law does not currently regulate silent video communications. Local building codes and regulations vary and generally speak to building construction.

Chapter 19 and Section 2510 of the United States Code was codified as the Wiretap Act. 4-5) .Ethical and Legal Dilemmas 10 How Case Law Impacts Home Monitoring and Management Services While specific applications in case law related to private home monitoring services is rare. and light poles and used for a multitude of legitimate purposes including security. Part I. parents. The Senate Judiciary Committee determined at the hearing that since Lower Merion's actions to include the use of a laptop microphone and therefore were ruled as not covered by the Wiretap Act. and scientists into serious criminals (p. and electronic communications gathered without consent unless under a court order. changes in the Wiretap Act could have two chilling effects. As stated by Zwillinger. security professionals. Second. 2010. 2010). electromagnetic. Further defining electronic communications. gas stations. the law is badly out of date (Zwillinger. traffic analysis. so it does not currently regulate silent video communication. data. crime fighting. The images were used to determine the identity of the user and take disciplinary action (Andersen. Section 2510(12)). Zwillinger’s (2010) testimony urged caution with any law change that would make all silent video communications subject to Wiretap Act rules. the Wiretap Act covers any transfer of signs. images. casinos. or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire. March 29). doorsteps. wireless CCTV cameras. it could turn wellintentioned journalists. The act bans oral. writing. signals. and cell phones that can take video. First. Zwillinger pointed to other cases where the public is are comforted by the notion that video surveillance helps keep our children safe. it would likely make illegal the array of public and private remote surveillance and security cameras found today at most ATMs. sounds. photo electronic or photo optical system (The Wiretap Act. radio. The law also requires that communications have an aural component. and scientific observation. Title 18. wire. The United States Senate’s Judiciary Committee conducted a field hearing in March of 2010 and among the witnesses was Former Justice Department prosecutor Marc Zwillinger who urged caution with any law change that would make all silent video communications subject to Wiretap Act rules stating that in an age of webcams. the application of wiretap laws were highlighted in a recent case when Pennsylvania's Lower Merion school district installed remote control anti-theft software on student laptops which enabled the school district to access the video camera of a stolen laptop and recover an image of the user.

amended in 2010 and known as SOX.Ethical and Legal Dilemmas 11 The extent of coverage for the Wiretap Act is sufficient to provide law enforcement latitude in conducting legitimate investigations. Such actions served to challenge the business aspects instead of setting any overwhelming precedent which forced specific changes.000 in loss and damage (Weiss. most of the legal evolution in the home monitoring industry has been through establishment of local ordinance and building codes shaped by subsequent actions involving industry associations and legislatures. While the conduct of legitimate purchased surveillance and monitoring service is not currently impacted. imposed on corporate leadership a framework for responsibility and auditor oversight. n. The Trial Judge deemed it a routine case and awarded Arroyo approximately $8. tools. and that they have met their . Organizing Information Technology to Ensure Regulatory Compliance In general. Additional remedies under the USA-PATRIOT Act provide the means for conducting legitimate and court authorized and duly warranted surveillance over suspected criminals. A majority of case law in the home monitoring industry involves breach of contract cases such as Peter Arroyo v. measurements and support resources to help organizations ensure the safe handling of cardholder information at every step (Security Standards Council. Routine Outcomes of Civil Proceedings Shapes Case Law Probably due to the home monitoring and management services industry’s relative youth. including prior approval for nonaudit services by the auditor and the disclosure of all non-audit services of the auditor approved by the committee. which offer robust and comprehensive standards and supporting materials for enhancing payment card data security to include a framework of specifications. Corporate Chief Executives and Financial Officers are now required to certify that their companies’ annual and quarterly reports as accurate and not misleading. the relevant legislative action bears watching.d. known as PCI-DSS. There continues to be no specific changes in how home monitoring and management services are delivered having been ordered by the courts. regulatory compliance is more challenging and complex for corporations because of the multitude of regulations such as Purchase Card Industry Data Security Standards. The Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. Safe Home Security where the plaintiff alleged Safe Home Security breached of contract arising from an agreement to provide security monitoring services when a burglary occurred and the installed the security system failed to properly operate with the result that his business sustained monetary losses. 2002).).

The activities of the Federal Trade Commission. industry. Organizations such as the National Institute of Standards & Technology and the Center for Internet Security develop and maintain compliance guidelines to manage and protect valuable information assets (Promisec USA. 2003). In order to fully comprehend the complicated demands of some regulations. SOX & ISO 27001-2 are prominent among numerous acts and laws imposed according to a company's location. budget or resources to address every potential threat on every endpoint in the network. Additionally. operating. the processes employed based the size and structure of the organization (The ISO 27001 Directory. promotes compliance while serving the customer and ultimately increasing profitability. implementing. maintaining. 2002). properly employed. there has been a ban on new personal loans by companies to their directors or executives (Lander. and countries with which it conducts business. Corporate policy compliance may be seen as somewhat easier to define than regulatory compliance because it is dictated inside a company and not by external bodies. 2009). The inefficiencies and complexities of networks and endpoint management are well known. reviewing. and improving an Information Security Management System which can be guided by an organization’s needs and objectives. companies and organizations employ specialists and consultants and produce special documentation to assist with documenting proper regulation deployment procedures. PCI-DSS. monitoring. Most organizations understand the impact of maintaining compliance and some have even developed and deployed unique solutions to address compliance issues since most commercial solutions fail to provide sufficient protection and management guarantees needed to tackle threats caused by a the continuing growth of Internet usage and rapid advancements in consumer technologies. security requirements. IT teams are still hit hard with security incidents due to a lack of visibility and control. 2007). but IT departments often lack the manpower. Despite concerted efforts to establish a sound security policy. which has been intensely involved in the Internet privacy debate and has worked with various parties to examine and learn about privacy issues and has made recommendations to Congress about new legislation (Swindle. The right technology. .Ethical and Legal Dilemmas 12 responsibility for evaluating internal controls. Each organization decides for itself what employees can and cannot do based on the security risks involved. International Standard 27001-2 provides a model for establishing.

information systems and professional practices of service providers. Personal and Professional Accountability It is natural and intuitive that those who own. develops and offers in the way of systems. Using the established law and ethical frameworks discussed in this paper. the need to maintain privacy and keep personal information in close hold with security considerations creates a natural sense of shared responsibility while placing a burden of highly ethical conduct on the service provider. When not in conflict with social contracts found in the law. training of practitioners. home owners and vendors can work to establish the parameters and controls necessary to shield both parties and to preserve the privacy of the customer in concert with integrity of IT networks. Keeping pace means establishing professional practices groups or private organizations which codify an industry wide code of ethics would provide for better service delivery. and finally. professional interest groups can serve as a legislative lobbying and advising body to foster more reasonable and useful development of law within Federal. Data security within the home is the responsibility of the owner or occupant while the owner’s information under control of the vendors becomes a shared responsibility with significant liability on the part of the vendor. processes and services.Ethical and Legal Dilemmas 13 Conclusions The principle ethical dilemmas of adhering to a sense of personal privacy and protection of information used to manage services must be recognized by those companies and agencies involved with establishing home management and monitoring services. the needs of the customer must continue to drive what industry invents. systems and technology within the industry must bring the most reliable and effective products to bear. security appliances. operate or manage services. State and Local governments. the future of home monitoring and management services relies on a business sector willing to work continually improve standards and practices. Other Elements Promoting Compliance While not presented as a panacea or the ultimate solution. Providers must respect boundaries within a homeowner’s personal space whether monitoring fire and intrusion detection sensors or providing surveillance of intruders and for illegal activity. . Industry must focus on ethical survival and be prepared to continue delivering the right service at the right cost with mutually acceptable quality. Since home monitoring and management systems penetrate the perimeters established by the home’s physical and internet boundaries.

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