Ethical Issues in Information Systems - Essay Example

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On one hand, it can create new opportunities for benefits. On the other hand, it allows people to manipulate others’ benefits or to break laws. Information systems have created pressing issues. One of the questions is the ease…
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Ethical Issues in Information Systems Ethical Issues in Information Systems Information Technology is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can create new opportunities for benefits. On the other hand, it allows people to manipulate others’ benefits or to break laws. Information systems have created pressing issues. One of the questions is the ease of using technology in assembling, integrating, and distributing information without facing legal consequences. The issue has created various problems related to management of communication technology. For example, it has unleashed new concerns about the correct use of client information, protecting the rights of personal privacy, and the protection of intellectual property. The issue has also posed a problem of accountability for the consequences of information systems and set standards to safeguard system quality.
The extensive use of internet technology has posed new challenges for the safeguarding of individual privacy. Information set over the vast network may have to go through many different computer systems prior to reaching the intended recipient. Each of the systems can monitor, capture, and store the information that go through it. The new technologies can allow a person to record all online activities and Internet usage of employees, customers (both potential and existing), and the general mass around the globe. In most cases, the people do not know that their activities are carefully monitored (Zhang, 2011). The organizations can use cookies, web bugs, spyware and other intrusive software to spy on people (Williams, 2002). The U.S. has allowed organizations to collect transaction information via systems for the sole purpose of marketing. However, user privacy during interaction with websites needs protection. Thus, technical solutions exist for this purpose. Many specialized tools offer encryption of email and surfing activities to make the online activities anonymous. Others allow the client computers to reject cookies. Still, other devices detect and eliminate spyware. Some tools also help users to determine the type of personal data that websites can extract. The technological tools are helpful since they ensure that personal data of the user does not leak all over the network.
Modern information systems have challenged current laws and social properties that safeguard private intellectual property. According to Williams (20020, it is because ill-intentioned persons can easily copy and distribute computerized information. Unlike physical media (like books, CDs, and journals), digital media is easy to replicate, transmit, and change. As a result, it is hard to establish the uniqueness of software work and to classify it as a program, music, or book. Software works are also more compact, making theft easy. All these have posed a problem in protecting trade secrets, copyrights, and patents. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 is offering some copyright protection. Other mechanisms are underway to enable the sale and distribution of intellectual property legally on the internet (Salehnia, 2002). The arrangements will make it illegal and hard for unscrupulous people to circumvent technology-based protections of copyrighted materials.
Another issue that arises in management of information systems entails liability laws and social practices for holding persons and organizations accountable (Zhang, 2011). For instance, if a consumer’s personal data leaks to a third party, should the organization or the software developer be held accountable? If an institution outsource its information processing to an external party, can the party be responsible for any injuries done to the customer? Thus, the solution is to create and strengthen policies and laws dealing with Internet liability issues. This will ensure that organizations and software developers are held accountable for such an incident. Finally, challenge is hacking or security breach, which puts clients’ personal information at risk. A solution for system breach is to install security measures that can help prevent and counteract attacks by hackers such as encryption and contingency planning.
Salehnia, A. (2002). Ethical issues of information systems. Hershey: IRM Press.
Williams, S. (2002). Ethical and Social Issues in Information Systems. In Modern Information System Management (pp. 125-149). New York: Prentice-Hall.
Zhang, J. (2011). Ethical Issues in Information Systems. Information sharing, 2(23), 23-28. Read More
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