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Amanda Parkinson
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AmandaParkinson|United States

I'm a writer, historian, and passionate series movie watcher. I used to lifestyle blogging and solo traveling.


Ethical Issues Regarding Information Technology

 

Ethics is a unique aspect of the social life due to its impact on all the spheres of human activity. Defining the moral basis for “right” and “wrong” actions and their consequences, it regulates such spheres as law, medicine, education, politics, and others. Moreover, the development of human knowledge and progress in technology has introduced one more field of moral regulation. Thus, there is a need for ethics to regulate social relationship in the branch of information technology. Consequently, one connects this need with ethical challenges relating to fraud, right to privacy, social responsibility as well as trade restrictions among others.

Due to the fact that technology provides numerous ways of violating law, there is a possibility for its misuse by people. That is why one needs to evaluate the threats endangering ethics in the sphere of information technology to provide complex solutions of the issue. Thus, the paper investigates social and ethical changes caused by IT, the ethical malpractice in this sphere, and discusses the enforcements related to moral code. Additionally, it interprets the usage of the means of the establishment of the code of ethics in academic setting. Consequently, one presumes that there are numerous ways of response to ethical challenges in the sphere of information technology.

Societal Ethical Changes Caused by Information Technology

Almost half a century ago, the society was not aware of digital technology. Computers were merely the domain of scientists and engineers. The huge computing machines of those days were not portable and there was no way of connecting them into networks. That is why one could observe the ethical dilemmas facing the human and the machine only in sci-fi movies. However, the evolution of the digital electronics led to the fact that the contemporary society is more “digital” than one could think. For instance, massive storage pools bear data of different companies and individuals around the world and the factories have various robots working on assembling lines. Moreover, almost every computer has the connection to the Internet that endangers private and corporate data by the possibility of unauthorized access. Likewise, people have mobile phones and tend to store their private data in the cloud services. In this respect, the stages of the evolution of IT as the introduction, the permeation, and the power stage. The latest stage indicates that the appliance of digital technology has consequences in reality.

Consequently, the modern society depends on the information technology more than ever. In this perspective, numerous ethical issues may arise. For instance, one may talk about the information transparency connected with the fact who gains access to information. Thus, the authors assume that it depends on the availability of information, the conditions of its accessibility, and the ways it may support the user’s decision-making process. Information providers decide on the factors that regulate the disclosure and availability of the information as well as its condition and legislation. Such possibilities involve various ethical restrictions and repercussions. Thus, the information providers should have the moral “toolkit” and experience by enhancing fast and productive decision-making. Consequently, they should estimate the probability of possible ethical and unethical access, disclosure or usage of information.

The Problem of the Appliance of Ethics in Information Technology

Ethical implications in the sphere of information technology may have various consequences. Due to the fact that there is a legal responsibility for the misuse of information, the society needs to apply the moral code properly. Moreover, the typical examples of ethical principles applied to the regulation of IT are privacy, anonymity, and copyright. The treatment of private and corporate data should define the extent of granting privacy and anonymity. At the same time, similar ethic regulations should assure the proper usage of information regarding its copyright and appliance. Furthermore, modern views on privacy and anonymity may produce misbelieves. Consequently, wrong assumptions in the sphere of IT ethics may lead to prejudice in accountability or justify the feeling of false security. These issues lead to the general problem regarding the most effective ways of ethical evaluation of actions and their consequences in information technology.

Furthermore, the new technology allows performing activities in new ways. This may lead to situations that lack adequate policies to guide the society. One of the resolutions of this problem is that the society has enough ethic presumptions in the other spheres and can transfer it to the new ones. At the same time, resolution through analogies may be unproductive or harmful due to the unexpected consequences that might affect the society. That is why the society has to evaluate the arising situations and develop adequate ethical resolutions shaping the ethical concept in the sphere of IT.

The Development of the Ethical Code in IT and its Enforcement

Apart from purely theoretic studies and assumptions, one can state that some scholars propose various acts aimed at the ethical regulation of the information technology. For instance, Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002 in the US. It aims at the improvement of the corporate governance and ethical business practices through legislation in areas such as increased accountability and strengthened financial control. Thus, many aspects of the Act have a direct effect on IT practitioners. At the same time, scholars indicate that information system practitioners still face numerous challenges in meeting the raised expectations of the act. They doubt the possibility of the provision of accurate, visible, and timely information ensuring the protection, privacy, and security of the information assets of their organizations. Therefore, ethical issues in the outsourcing of the corporate information remain one of the most critical aspects for businesses.

The successful regulation of ethical processes in IT requires the definition and description of the involved parties. Additionally, the debatable aspect of this task is the definition of the position of information within the ethical code. Thus, the information can bear two ethical forms, which are moral agents and moral patients. Consequently, the scholar generalizes the concept of morality of information talking about its macroethical aspect. The scholar mentions that IT can be more impartial than many other theories which discriminate between living and non-living beings, or human/rational and non-human/non-rational agents. Thus, he presumes that the society can frame any kind of information, whether it is digital or biological, into a single ethical paradigm. Furthermore, macroethics defines the ethical adequacy of a moral action with information justifying whether it is right or wrong. One presumes such approach prospective because of its logical reasoning arising from all the existed practice of ethical appliance towards the society. Likewise, one may introduce similar approaches to an academic setting that combines education and IT.

The Code of Ethics within an Academic Setting

One should state that the sphere of information technology has blended with education and academic community. For instance, the society has seen an overwhelming technology infusion affecting education in the last 25 years. The development of the technology affects even poor communities. For instance, the global IT outsourcing processes in India lead to the emergence of computers and rapid spread of networks in schools and universities. Scholars say that social networks established outside of the formal work environment on CSR projects tended to lead to esteem between individuals and friendly relationships. At the same time, there is no guarantee of the malpractices of the students’ using the information technology.

Thus, the academic setting frames the ethical issues of the IT by stimulating the emergence of additional ethical issues. Additionally, higher education needs to take some responsibility in preparing students for the ethical usage of information technology and the underlying information within those systems. Consequently, the basic challenge areas in the usage of IT at schools and universities include the cases of academic malpractice. Among such cases one can name cheating, problems with copyright and unauthorized access, and the spread of information. To avoid such cases, the educational facilities should introduce additional subjects enhancing the understanding of ethics in the sphere of IT. It is important to focus on actual practices before their abstract rules such as ethics application and approval paperwork. As a result, the awareness of ethical dilemmas followed by the evaluation of their threats to scientific community would reduce the cases of academic malpractice.

 

Summarizing the presented information, one comes to the conclusion that the evolution of information technology has not only bettered the life for the society. One of the drawbacks of this process is the introduction of ethical dilemmas into this sphere. Typical ethical challenges include the right of access or restriction of information, unauthorized access to private and corporate data, copyright, etc. Reacting to these challenges, scholars introduce different theories and approaches, which better the understanding of dilemmas and their regulation. Due to the introduction of the IT into academic setting, it has also faced with ethical challenges in it. As a result, the academic community faces with the issues of copyright, and students cheating with online education resources among others. To manage this issue, the education facilities should introduce comprehensive discussions raising the awareness of students and scholars. Such measures would enhance the understanding of the issues in the academic setting and foster their positive resolutions.

Written by Amanda Parkinson, a historian, passionate series movie watcher and a writer at https://qualitycustomessays.com/

 

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