Ethics are the moral principles by which we govern our lives. Ethics are an important part society because without them the general population that we call society would behave no better than the general population in prison. With this said, Ethics in computing and information systems are the behaviors that are considered acceptable by users and the functionality of the system being used. The information that passes through an information system must be handled ethically to ensure the safety of the user and sensitive information. In addition to ethically handling, the information users must use the system ethically and the systems must be designed to protect against unethical usage.
Computers and information systems are constantly growing changing the face of how we do business and interact in the word. In the early 90’s it was said “In the comparatively short space of forty years, computers have become central to the operations of industrial societies” (Forester, 1994, p. 1). This is noteworthy because in a short time not only have we witnessed the evolution of computers evolved but also the system of ethics and policies that govern their usage. With computers becoming mainstream and access to them growing, new ethical dilemmas arise. These dilemmas vary in nature from computer crime to intellectual property and copy right infringement.
The data contained in computer information systems must be handled ethically for the safety and privacy of those that use the system. For example, PayPal a system designed to make secure transactions online stores credit card and banking information. What would happen if PayPal did not consider ethics and safety of the safety of information stored in their databases? The information stored therein would be easily accessible, consumers would suffer financial losses, and identity theft and PayPal would undergo several lawsuits as a result of not handling information ethically.
Organizations such as PayPal, Educational Testing Service, and many others have a need for ethics. In addition to unethical access to information, let us take a look at Educational Testing Service (ETS). ETS provides testing for graduates, non-English speakers, and teachers. How do ethics affect this organization? First, there is a need to protect information. Although it may seem as though test scores are not sensitive, there is information along with those test scores that is considered very sensitive. For example, the identities of the persons to whom those test scores belong. If test scores were delivered to the wrong person, it is highly possible for the receiver to use the personal identifiable information to gain access to other information such as bank accounts or medical records. Second, if the wrong person receives the wrong scores it is also highly possible to alter the transcript and use those scores as their own.
The only option to overcome these new problems and dilemmas that we are faced with is to develop and implement...