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Chapter 4


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Nicole Wagner

CHAPTER 4 SOCIAL ETHICAL AND LEGAL ISSUES IN THE DIGITAL FIRM Understanding Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues Related to Systems Ethics - refers to the principles of right and wrong that individuals, acting as free moral agents use to make choices to guide their behaviours - The principles and standards that guide our behaviour toward other people - Ethical issues in IS  rise of the internet and e-commerce - the appropriate use of customer information - the protection of personal privacy - the protection of intellectual property - establishing accountability for the consequences of IS - setting standards to safeguard system quality that protects safety of individuals - preserving values and institutions Five Moral Dimensions of the Information Age: 1. Information Rights and Obligations - Information Rights - The rights that individuals and organizations have with respect to information that pertains to themselves. - What rights to individuals possess, what can they protect, what are their obligations 2. Property rights and Obligations - How will traditional intellectual property rights be protected in a digital society - Intellectual property - Intangible property created by individuals or corporations that is subject to protection 3. Accountability and Control - Who can be held accountable for harm down to information and property rights 4. System Quality - What standards should be demanded to protect rights 5. Quality of Life - What values should be preserved, which practices values should support new information technology, what institutions should be protected Key Technology Trends That Raise Ethical Issues Trend Impact Computing power doubles More organizations depend on computer systems for critical operations every 18 months  increase in vulnerability of systems system error and poor data quality Data storage costs rapidly Organizations can easily maintain detailed databases on individuals declining very cheap and effective Data analysis advance Companies can analyze vast quantities of data gathered on individuals to develop detailed profiles of individual behaviour Networking advances and Copying data from one location to another and accessing personal data the Internet from remote locations are much easier Profiling - The use of computers to combine data rom multiple sources and create electronic dossiers of detailed information on individuals Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness (NORA) - Technology that can find obscure hidden connections between people or other entities by analyzing information from many different sources to correlate relationships. - NORA technology scans data and extracts information as the data are being generated. Ethics in an Information Society Responsibility - Accepting the potential costs, duties, and obligations for the decision one makes Accountability - The mechanisms for assessing responsibility for decisions made and actions taken. Liability - The existence of laws that permit individuals to recover the damages done to them by the actions of others Due Process - A process in which laws are well known and understood and there is an ability to appeal to higher authorities to ensure that laws are applied correctly. Ethical Analysis Information technologies are filtered through organizations  Responsibility for consequences of technology falls on organization  an ethical political society and others can recover damages done through set of laws characterized by due process 1. Identify and describe clearly the facts - Find out what happened, finding facts helps define solution 2. Define the conflict or dilemma and identify the higher order values involved - Issues always reference higher values e,g, freedom, privacy 3. Identify the stakeholders - identify who is involved and what they want 4. Identify the options that you can reasonably take - satisfy stakeholders may not always be a balancing of consequences to stakeholders 5. Identify the potential consequences of your options - some options may be ethically correct but disastrous from points of view. Candidate Ethical Principles 1. Golden Rule - " Do unto others as you would have them do to you" 2. Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative - if an action is not right for everyone to take then it is not right for anyone 3. Descartes' rule of change - If an action cannot be taken repeatedly then it is not right to be taken at any time 4. Utilitarian Principle - once can put values in rank order and understand the consequences of various courses of action 5. Risk Aversion Principle -one should take the action that produces the least harm or incurs the least cost 6. Ethical "no free lunch"- assumption that all tangible and intangible objects are owned by someone else Professional Codes of Conduct - Professional groups take responsibility for the partial regulation of their professions by determine entrance qualifications and competence Code of Ethics - promises by professions to regulate themselves in the general interest of society The Moral Dimensions of Information Systems Information Rights: Privacy and Freedom in the Internet Age Privacy - The claim of individuals to be left alone free from surveillance on interference PIPEDA - Personal Information Protection Electronic Documents Act - Established principles to govern the collection use and disclosure of personal information: Ten Guiding Principles of PIPEDA Accountability An organization is responsible for personal information under its control and shall designate an individual or individuals who are accountable for the organization's compliance with the following principles Identifying Purposes The purposes for which personal information is collected shall be identified by the organization Consent The knowledge and consent of the individual is required for the collection Limiting Collection The collection of personal information is limited tot hat which is necessary for the purposes identified by the organization Limiting use, disclosure, and Personal information should not be disclosed other than those t was retention collected for except with consent. Information will be retained only as long as necessary Accuracy Personal information shall be as accurate as necessary Safeguards
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