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Chapter 4 Summary - Ethical and Social Issues in
Information Systems
Ethical and Social Issues in Information Systems
Ethics:
Principles of right and wrong that individuals, acting as free moral agents, use to make
choices to guide their behaviours
Information Systems and Ethics:
Information systems raise new ethical questions because they create opportunities for:
a. Intense social change, threatening existing distributions of power, money, rights, and
obligation
b. New kinds of crime
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
o
o
1.
2.
3.
4.
Five Moral Dimensions of Information Age:
Information rights and obligations
Property rights and obligations
Accountability and control
System quality
Quality of life
Key Technologies and Trends in Ethical Issues:
Doubling of computer power - More organizations depend on computer systems for
critical operations
Rapidly declining data storage costs - Organizations can easily maintain detailed
databases on individuals
Networking advances and the Internet - Copying data from one location to another
and accessing personal data from remote locations are much easier
Advances in data analysis techniques
Profiling
Non-obvious-relationship awareness (NORA)
Basic Concepts for Ethical Analysis:
Responsibility
Accountability
Liability
Due Process
Ethical Analysis –Five Step Process:
Identify and clearly describe the facts
Define the conflict or dilemma and identify the higher-order values involved
Identify the stakeholders
Identify the options that you can reasonably take
5. Identify the potential consequences of your options
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Ethical Principles:
Golden Rule
Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative
Descartes' rule of change
Utilitarian Principle
Risk Aversion Principle
Ethical ‘no free lunch’ rule
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Moral Dimensions:
Information rights – Privacy and freedom in the internet age
Privacy (Ball, 2001)
Fair Information Practices (FIP)
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Federal Trade Commission Fair Information Practice Principles:
Notice/awareness (core principle)
Choice/consent (core principle)
Access/participation
Security
Enforcement
Technical Solutions: – P3P
Ways to Protect Intellectual Property:
1. Trade Secrets
2. Copyrights
3. Patents
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Challenges to Intellectual Property Rights:
Availability of Software
Proliferation of electronic network – internet
Pirating and file sharing
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Accountability, Liability and Control:
Computer related liability problems
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System Quality: Data Quality and System Errors:
Software bugs
Hardware failures
Poor input data quality
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Quality of Life: Equity, Access and Boundary:
Balancing Power; Centre versus Periphery
Rapidity of Change; Reduced response time to competition
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Maintaining Boundaries; Family, work and leisure
Dependence and vulnerability
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