Ethics… Who Needs Those Anyways?
When you think of computer ethics, what is the first you think of?
Do you think that ethics is just following a bunch of silly rules? The main way to define computer ethics is a set of moral principles on how one should govern his or herself online. They are not considered illegal, but are viewed as being a code of conduct with a version established by the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). Think of normal ethical issues that aren’t “illegal”, such as lying, cheating, and stealing. If you take those to the next level (ex taking a giant TV from Wal-Mart) or in terms of in the Internet, copyright infringement, you are crossing the line into the illegal side. However, the fine line between an ethical (legal) and illegal action is very broad.
In regards to the actual ethics, a reason that ethics may be compromised is because people aren’t interacting in person and feel like they don’t have to follow rules and act virtuous. Although there aren’t many computer ethics classes out there, all programmers and people who have to often use the computer should be required to take at least a brief ethics class in order to know the basics and the fine line between ethical and unethical. That way, people can be more familiar of the fine line between ethical, rude, and illegal.
On social networking sites, there can be issues of breeching ethics because of posting information and having others steal it and use it to make money. Also, people download music for free without paying for it sites such as isohunt.com, which is known as piracy. What do you think of that if you were the artist and having people download your music improperly?
A couple of major ethical issues are the protection of intellectual property, as well as personal information such as social security numbers. What would you do if yours or your company’s important information got LEAKED? That’s what Internet control is for… sort of. Your information is NOT safe… People can make these “malicious programs”, called malware, designed to hack your computer. Unfortunately, hacking isn’t necessarily considered illegal because it’s technically known as social engineering, or manipulating a file to be harmful to one’s computer. Did you know that you could write programs to bypass encryption? What that means is if you need to enter a password to access a list of 500 people’s social security numbers at a bank, you would basically skip the password screen and have full access to classified data.
One way to help prevent hacks is to continuously update your software and not “X” out of the software updates because you don’t feel like “wasting time” installing them. When you update the software, you install patches that make your software more secure. Without new software updates, it is like you’re basically running your car on a recalled engine. If your engine doesn’t work properly, a series of other problems can occur. If your computer doesn’t have the new patches, you are very susceptible to malware. If a fortune 500 company gets hacked or the data is compromised, a plethora of issues will occur, such as losing employees, scandals, legal issues, and spending tons of money on having a third party company check to make sure you have all of the data. That’s why you need to be very careful with all personal information, data, music, and everything else you have on your computers. You never know what can happen.
Don’t forget to take the quiz if you’re in Math120!
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