Ethical issues regarding the use of information technology are changing rapidly in our advancing modern society. Historically information technology had seen limited applications and impacts on society in general. More recently, however, this has been changing as information technology has become a part of nearly every business, and personal activity (Brooks, 2010). As a result, there are more opportunities than ever to engage with information technology in an unethical manner. Thus, it has become essential for businesses, and education systems to address the ethical concerns of information technology usage, and to develop a practical code of ethics to prevent, or at least mitigate, ethical issues and potential infractions.
Societal Ethical Changes Caused by Information Technology
The societal ethical changes caused by information technology are extensive in nature. In prior generations, information technology was limited within specific industries, there was an elitist segregation related to who worked with information technology, and what types of specific information could be impacted by information technology (Brooks, 2010). The nature of information technology changed during the timeframe of the 1990s when information technology emerged as a rapidly evolving industry. Within a matter of what encompassed a few years, the world transitioned from a manual world to a digitally controlled world (Lor, & Britz, 2007). Today, nearly every individual interacts with some form of information technology on a daily basis. For many, this interaction is practically non-stop from the time the individual wakes up in the morning until they go to sleep at night. As a result, a large number of people today have greater access to information that can be used in unethical manners.
The extent to which employees of companies, and the general public have access to sensitive information, and to non-sensitive information has led to a number of society ethical changes. These unethical actions include accessing private information for personal gain, reverse engineering programs to gain trade secrets and using information technology to harass or victimize other individuals (Brooks, 2010). These new ethical concerns have led to the development of some new laws and security measures that have been implemented by companies that are intended to protect people from the vulnerabilities caused by the mass usage of information technology; however, these protective actions have not solved the problem (Gercke, 2012). Information technology has led to an increase in ease of the ability for individuals to embezzle money from their companies, to steal other people's identities. Another social ethical change due to online social media anonymity has been the increase of bullying of individuals on social networks (Brooks, 2010).
Ethical Usage of Information Technology
The ethical usage of information technology includes two types of information technology usage. The first...