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Ethical and Social Issues in Information Systems

Refers to the principles of right and wrong that individuals, acting as free moral agents, use to make choices to guide their behaviors.

The Relationship Between Ethical, Social, and Political Issues in an Information Society

Technology trends that raise Ethical Issues

Computing Power doubles every 18 Months Dependence on systems and susceptible to system errors and poor data quality have increased Routine violation of individual privacy both cheap and effective

Data storage cost rapidly declining

Technology trends that raise Ethical Issues

Data Analysis advances Companies and government agencies are able to find out much detailed personal information about individuals What you thought was private, can quickly become public

Networking advances and the internet

Basic Concepts
Responsibility: Accepting potential costs, duties, and obligations for your decisions. Accountability: Determining who should take responsibility for decisions and actions. Liability: Legally placing responsibility with a person or group. Due Process: ensuring the laws are applied fairly and correctly Responsibility

Some Real World Ethical Dilemmas

Is it okay to run a personal commercial Web site from your workplace computer using the companys computer resources Is it okay to e-mail discriminatory jokes over the companys network that wouldnt be allowed over the water cooler? Is it ok for the company to use technology to monitor your computer usage every minute youre on the job? Should a company be allowed to remove Solitaire from employee computers?

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

Information Rights-Privacy and freedom in the internet age

Privacy is the claim of individuals to be left alone, free from surveillance or interference from other individuals or organizations, including the state Fair information practices (FIP)- Set of principles governing the collection and use of information about individuals.

Cookies-Tiny files deposited on a computer hard drive when a user visits certain web sites. Web Bugs-Marketers use tool to monitor online behavior. Designed to monitor who is reading the e-mail message or web page and transmit that to another computer Spyware- Calls out to web sites to send banner ads and other unsolicited material to the user and it can also report the users movements on the internet to other computers. P3P- Users can select the level of privacy they wish to maintain when interacting with

Property Rights-Intellectual Property

Trade secret Copyright Patents

Challenges to Intellectual property rights More than 1/3 software worldwide are pirated $29 Billion yearly losses from software

Accountability, Liability and Control

Computer related liability problems

System quality-Data quality and system errors

At what point should system managers say, Stop testing.

Quality of life-Equity, Access and Boundaries

1. Balancing Power 2. Rapidity of Change: Reduced Response Time to Competition 3. Maintaining Boundaries: Family, Work, and Leisure 4. Dependence and Vulnerability 5. Computer Crime and Abuses 6. Equity and access: increasing racial and social class cleavages 7. Health Risks: RSI, CVS and