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Ethics In Cyberspace Essay

956 words - 4 pages

Cyberspace is a global community of people using computers in networks. In order to function well, the virtual communities supported by the Internet depend upon rules of conduct, the same as any society. Librarians and information technologists must be knowledgeable about ethical issues for the welfare of their organizations and to protect and advise users.What is ethics? Ethics is the art of determining what is right or good. It can also be defined as a general pattern or way of life, a set of rules of conduct or moral code. Ethical guidelines are based on values.The Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) is one national organization which has developed a statement of its values. Every member of ACM is expected to uphold the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct which includes these general moral imperatives:1) contribute to society and human well-being2) avoid harm to others3) be honest and trustworthy4) be fair and take action not to discriminate5) honor property rights including copyrights and patents6) give proper credit for intellectual property7) respect the privacy of others8) honor confidentiality.The very nature of electronic communication raises new moral issues. Individuals and organizations should be proactive in examining these concerns and developing policies which protect liabilities. Issues which need to be addressed include: privacy of mail, personal identities, access and control of the network, pornographic or unwanted messages, copyright, and commercial uses of the network. An Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is recommended as the way an organization should inform users of expectations and responsibilities. Sample AUPs are available on the Internet at gopher sites and can be retrieved by using Veronica to search keywords 'acceptable use policies' or 'ethics.'The Computer Ethics Institute in Washington, D.C. has developed a 'Ten Commandments of Computing':1) Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people.2) Thou shalt not interfere with other people's computer work.3) Thou shalt not snoop around in other people's computer files.4) Thou shalt not use a computer to steal.5) Thou shalt not use a computer to bear false witness.6) Thou shalt not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not paid.7) Thou shalt not use other people's computer resources without authorization or proper compensation.8) Thou shalt not appropriate other people's intellectual output.9) Though shalt think about the social consequences of the program you are writing or the system you are designing.10) Thou shalt always use a computer in ways that show consideration and respect for your fellow humans (Washington Post, 15 June 1992: WB3).The University of Southern California Network Ethics Statement specifically identifies types of network misconduct which are forbidden: intentionally disrupting network traffic or crashing the network and connected systems; commercial or fraudulent use of university computing resources; theft of data, equipment,...

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