Chapter Five Ethical and Social Impact of Information Systems
Understanding Ethical and Social Issues Related To Systems • Ethics – principles of right and wrong that can be used by individuals acting as free moral agents to make choices to guide their behavior • Information rights – the rights that individuals and organizations have with respect to information that pertains to themselves
Five Moral Dimensions of the Information Age • Information rights and obligations • What information rights do individuals have with respect to information about themselves? • Property Rights • How will traditional intellectual property rights be protected in a digital society in which tracing and accounting for ownership is difficult.
Five Moral Dimensions of the Information Age • Accountability and control • Who can and will be held accountable and liable for the harm done to the individual and collective information and property rights? • System Quality • What standards of data and system quality should we demand to protect individual rights and the safety of society? • Quality of Life • What values should be preserved in an information and knowledge-based society?What institutions should we protect? What cultures and values?
Key Technology Trends that raise Ethical Issues • The doubling of computing power increases power, but system errors and poor data quality. • Advances in data storage helps companies and individuals to obtain and store more private or protected info/material • Advances in datamining enable people to find much more information than before • Advances in networking greatly reduces the cost of the obtaining information and moving information.
Basic Ethics Concepts • Responsibility – accepting the potential costs, duties, and obligations for the decisions that one makes • Accountability – the mechanisms for assessing responsibility for decisions made and actions taken • Liability – the existence of laws that permit individuals to recover the damages done to them by other actors, systems, or organizations • Due process – a process in which laws are well-known and there is a system to appeal to higher authorities to ensure that laws are applied correctly
Ethical Analysis • Identify and describe clearly the facts • Define the conflict or dilemma and identify the higher order values involved. • Identify the stakeholders • Identify the options that you can reasonably take. • Identify the potential consequences of your options.
Candidate Ethical Principles • Golden Rule • Immanual Kant’s Categorical Imperative • A principle that if an action is not right for everyone to take than it is not right for anyone • Descates’ Rule of Change • A principle that states if an action cannot be repeatedly taken than it is not right to be taken at any time.(also known as the slippery slope rule)
Candidate Ethical Principles • Utilitarian Principle • Principle that one assumes one can put values in rank order and understand the consequences of various courses of action. • Risk Aversion Principle • Principle that one should take the action the produces the least amount of harm or incurs the least cost. • Ethical ‘no free lunch’ rule • Assumption that all tangible and intangible objects are owned by someone else unless there is a specified declaration otherwise, ie the creator.
Professional Codes of Conduct • Associations comprised of people wishing to be called professional and recognized for their expertise and knowledge. • AMA • ABA • DPMA • ACM
Fair Information Practices Principles • Privacy – the claim of individuals to be left alone, free from surveillance or interference from other individuals, organizations, or the state • FIP – 1973 • There should be no personal record systems that are kept secret • Individuals have rights of access, inspections, review, and amendment to systems that contain information about them.
Fair Information Practices Principles • FIP (1973) Continued • There must be no use of personal information for purposes other than those for which it was granted without prior consent • Managers of systems are responsible and can be held accountable and liable for the damage done by systems for their reliability and security • Governments have the right to intervene in the information relationships among private parties. • Know Table 5.2 page 135
Property Rights • Intellectual property • Intangible property created by individuals or corporations that is subject to protections under trade secret, copyright, and patent laws • Trade secret- any intellectual work or product used for a business purpose that can be classified as belonging to that business, provided it is not based on information in the public domain • Copyright – a statutory grant that protects the creators of intellectual property against copying by others for any purpose for a period of 28 years • Patent – a legal document that grants the owner an exclusive monopoly on the ideas behind an invention for 17 years
Internet Challenges to Privacy • Spamming – the practice of sending unsolicited email and other electronic communication. • Web pages, content and framing issues
Accountability, Liability, and Control • The EDS ATM example • The Shell Oil Example • Questions, who is at fault? Who should pay?
Computer Crime and Abuse • Computer crime • The commission of illegal acts through the use of a computer or against a computer system. • Computer Abuse • The commission of acts involving a computer that may not be illegal but are considered unethical
Internet Crime and Abuse • Taken from table 5.4 page 147 • Hacking – exploiting weaknesses in Web site security to obtain data or insert viruses. • Jamming – using software to tie up computers hosting web sites so visitors cannot access site • Malicious software – viruses sent to disable computers or cause harm • Sniffing – using software to electronically eavesdrop on communications transmissions • Spoofing – setting up false web sites with the purpose of obtaining information from unsuspecting visitors
Health Risks of Computers • Repetitive stress injury (RSI) • Occupational disease that occurs when muscle groups are forced through repetitive actions with high-impact loads or thousands of repetitive actions with low-impact loads. • Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) • Type of RSI in which pressure on the median nerve through the wrist bone carpal tunnel structures produces pain • Computer vision syndrome (CVS) • Eye strain condition related to computer display screen use with symptoms including headaches, blurred vision, and dry, irritated eyes. • Technostress • Stress induced by computer use whose symptoms include aggravations and hostility towards computers and human
Finale: Corporate Code of Ethics • Addresses • Information rights and privacy • Property rights and information • Accountability and control • System quality • Quality of Life