Ethical Issues in IT
With advancement in technology, many advanced computer and information technologies have emerged. This has enabled individuals to have easy access to any type of information from all over the world. However, such tremendous growth of technology has also come up with various new challenges and issues.
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Rights and responsibilities regarding the ethical use of information have given rise to various ethical dilemmas that significantly affect a business organisation. For example, ideally, information created by a person is his/her intellectual property. If this information is used by anybody without the permission of that person, it is considered to be unethical.
Let us discuss some major ethical issues involved in IT as follows:
The word ‘plagiarism’ has evolved from a Latin word ‘plagiarius’, which means ‘kidnapper’. Plagiarism implies stealing ideas, thoughts, expressions or writings of other persons. It is a type of intellectual theft where the work of others is duplicated. This is an immoral practice. Due to IT revolution, data and information are easily accessible on the Internet.
Piracy and Hacking
Piracy and hacking have emerged as two major threats to the security of software applications and digital information sources. Piracy is related to an unlawful replication of software without the owner’s permission.
For example, in the US in 2002, 39 per cent of business application software were pirated that caused a loss of around $13 billion to the country. Hacking, on the other hand, is gaining unauthorised access to another’s computer for stealing or destroying information.
Invasion of Others’ Privacy
IT, with its massive power to store, communicate, analyse and retrieve information, can be used as an easy medium to invade others’ privacy. As the role of information in decision-making is increasing considerably, the risk of invading others’ privacy is becoming more serious.
These include illegal activities such as theft, financial fraud, embezzlement, online harassment, virus infection and sabotage, which are performed through a computer. Organisations, specifically small businesses, suffer the most in computer crimes as, unlike big companies, they cannot afford to implement security measures to prevent such crimes.