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|← Ethical Decision Making||Ethical Choices for Information Technology Students Memo →|
Ethics is the standard of human conduct to distinguish right from wrong, good or bad, fair or unfair. It is a general knowledge of good moral behavior. The new developments in the computer technology for collecting, keeping, manipulating and communicating needs proper manners in the way they are handled. The new global and local networks have forced people to face an entirely new responsibility concerning the way they behave when using these new advancements. We must therefore make sure that the information that we handle using the information technology is for the enhancement of human dignity and not for destroying it.
Information is very important as it increases the power of knowledge of a person. We should therefore maintain good ethics and the needs to balance the needs and legal rights of everyone that uses the electronic system to gather information, (Anderson, & Goodman, 101).
These networks are widely stretched and the people in these different regions have different values and cultures. These might affect the way people use the network. Others might find your use of the network annoying or improper while others might like the way you use it.
The ethical issues that must be observed include netiquette. Netiquette is the use of common sense and bearing in mind the moral values that one needs to have. Although many networks allow the right of free expression, one should be conscious of the information the share on the internet as it might be offensive to the other users. A part should be kept aside for those who like using verbal hassling and the site regulated so that those who might be offended cannot access them. Some of these activities include; sending rambling messages to everyone’s e-mail, sending advertisements to a persons’ e-mail without the person’s request. This can be solved by respecting other people’s rights. One should not waste other users time or threatening them. Avoid looking at other people’s files or system without their authorization. All the files that one has stored in the network space should be downloaded to reduce congestion and give space for other people to use the network store. Use of capital letters while being they are online is a sign of rudeness and is just like shouting had you been face to face with the person. The messages that are sending to a person who does not know you should be signed and your e-mail address should included, (Schultz, 66).
Plagiarism is the situation where a person copies the work of another person and presents it as hers or his work. This is practice is very common when one is looking for certain information using the internet. It is very unethical and people tend to do it most of the time. There are many ways that can be used to detect whether the work that has been presented is original or not. People should practice good ethics by ensuring that the work they have presented is their own. Plagiarism can also be in the form of how one cites the references. A person may copy the work that has been cited by another person. We should ensure that we follow the correct formatting style to avoid plagiarism.
Piracy is the illegal duplication of software from somebody. Most of the programs on PC are pirated. The people who design these programs spend a lot of time and energy using elaborate codes. Another person just waits for him or her to complete the hard work then goes ahead and copies the work. Although this can lead to production of better computer knowledge, it leads to losses to those who put in many resources to develop them.
Hackling is a situation where a person breaks into another person’s system. Such a person may have different reasons to hackle into the system. Some may want to destroy the system. Although some hackle to improve the security system of companies, it is still unethical to access another person’s system without their knowledge. Some hacklers may be useful as they can alert people of insecurities in their systems and the measures that need to be taken to improve the situation. It is a moral dilemma as it has positive and negative effects. Some want to access your system to destroy it while other does it to help you. Hackling may help improve the security system, but it may also lead to great losses. It is therefore upon us to practice good morals and do things that will benefit others, (Anderson, & Goodman, 95).
Some people may use the computers to commit crimes such as publishing, creating, coping, or altering official documents. Others may copy official documents, which is no different from stealing. Access to computers and the internet can sometimes be difficult. There are new policies, which limit the information one can be allowed to use or see. Those people who cannot get access to such information may feel that they are being left behind and may miss many important chances in life. The network is a major key to political, economic, and social networks. The information available in such sites such as those concerning politicians may be made unavailable to many who may want to. The internet has many advantages and this can be of importance only to those who can access the information. As the network grows, a common access should be created so that all the citizens can have equal access to the resources offered in the network. If the situation is not rectified then the gap between the rich and the poor will continue increasing. This is because the rich have an easy access to new ideas while the poor do not even have the slightest idea of its existence and cannot afford the expensive computers. This digital divide is a violation of the rights to equality for all as it favors a small percentage of the world’s population.
Some people may create or spread virus programs to other peoples systems. This may cause loss of data or force an organization to stop operating for sometime as their systems may fail to work for a while. Viruses may interrupt the systems of hospitals causing the deaths of many people. Even though there are, many anti-virus programmers’ to fight the viruses it is not ethical for a person to send virus to someone else’s system knowingly, (Anderson, & Goodman, 119).
There is obviously a lot of anti-virus software on the market now though that helps to deal with this ever-growing problem. We should however ask ourselves why a normal person with all his five senses functioning normally would send virus to another person’s system knowing the effects it has on them.
Information technology entails the use of a computer. Most employees have to spend a lot of time on the computer typing. Employees should not put them under much pressure and should always give their employers time to rest. The screens used should comply with the required regulations. The positions, which the computers are placed, should be comfortable so that the employees feel comfortable. Long hours in the screen with inadequate lights and poor sitting postures may lead to health problems. To avoid this it is better to teach the employees of the correct sitting postures.
Nanotechnology is improving or advancing the existing things. Much advancement is being taken in regards to the information technology. People are coming up with more reliable soft ware’s that will make the use of the internet more reliable. However, the same Nanotechnology now presents a dilemma in the ethics of Information technology. In the recent past, nanotechnologists have made life easier by being able to provide more food and shelter. This however is not the case nowadays as they have started coming up with things that are destructive to the environment. They are expected to make things that will make the world a better place but this might not be the case as there are some who may end up making things that might cause destruction to man. Good morals and bear in mind should guide some people that whatever they come up with would have an effect on the lives of the people around them, (Reynolds, 98).
Gender imbalance is also seen in the IT sector. Many women feel discriminated by their male counterparts. The male dominate in this area and only a small percentage of female students take any course that has anything to do with information technology. Those who master enough courage to pursue a course in IT feel that the males look down upon them. They do their work faster than the females, after completing their work they mock them by bragging on how fast they completed the work. This tends to lower the confidence in the ladies as they feel that they chose a career which should be taken by men only. This is unethical and such men should instead try to encourage more women to take the course.
Another issue in the information technology that poses ethical questions is the expert systems where a client can post questions concerning a certain thing then the expert replies by posting on the wall. Some organizations include their workers into their expert system without consulting them or others are even forced to join the system. This system has its positive side as a person’s life could be saved if a person is ill and a doctor makes the correct diagnosis. In other cases, face-to-face meetings are better as the doctor will be sure to make accurate diagnosis. This is also the case in on-line learning. A student may not be able to understand everything in an online class compared to a class teaching where they are face to face with the teachers.
The emergence of computers has changed the lifestyle of people. The computer has now replaced those who used to do manual work. It can perform tasks that were earlier performed by many people. This has made many people jobless. The few that have remained are under a lot of stress to cope with the recurring changes in the technology. The question is whether this technology is helping at all. Many are now jobless, some are retrenched with little or no compensation, yet they have bills to pay. Before any employees are laid off, they should be well compensated to make sure that they do not end up living miserably at the expense of the new technology, (Schultz, 69).
Web communications are prone to eavesdropping by anyone who may want to monitor you. They may log into your file and check your activities or collect information about you using cookies. These parties may sell the information about you. Is it ethical for employers to gather information and the things that their employees do. They may be collecting the information without the knowledge of their employers. Everyone has the rights to their privacy and everyone should respect this. Ethical issues in the information technology also affect musicians. Many have had their music downloaded to make them famous. Those who do not want their music downloaded ban it from the people and warp what people say. This is not fair as the internet is meant to be available to everyone.
There are many ethical issues in the information technology. The existence of this technology has brought many changes in the world. Information can now be shared and people can communicate easily. However, a major step that has greatly changed the world is causing many ethical issues that need to be resolved.
We have to work hard in ensuring that we maintain good ethics when using the internet. We should create rules and regulations that will guide people in the way they interact with others using computers. It can be very easy to access the system of another but person the question is what you are doing right. It is the same as sneaking into your neighbor’s house and going through his/her things without their knowledge. We should learn to respect the feelings of other people and by so doing we will also learn to respect and value their privacy.
Computers have become a part of our lives whether we are working or at home with our families. It is therefore up to us to make sure that these machines are responsibly and make sure that we avoid health problems by positioning them correctly.
The information we save in our systems should be protected from any authorized access. We may blame the speed of the computers for one to perform an unethical thing, but the person should be able to control ourselves from doing things that we might end up regretting.
If used properly information technology can take us far and help us do great things. So let us all observe good morals and respect each other by practicing good ethics.