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ICS 417: The ethics of ICT 4.2 The Ethics of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Business by Simon Rogerson IMIS Journal May 1998.

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Presentation on theme: "ICS 417: The ethics of ICT 4.2 The Ethics of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Business by Simon Rogerson IMIS Journal May 1998."— Presentation transcript:

1 ICS 417: The ethics of ICT 4.2 The Ethics of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Business by Simon Rogerson IMIS Journal May 1998

2 Considerations for Ethical Sensitivity of ICT how to set up a strategic framework for ICT that recognises personal and corporate ethical issues how the methods for systems development balance ethical, economic and technological considerations the intellectual property issues surrounding software and data the way information has become a key resource for organisations and how to safeguard the integrity of this information the increasing organisational responsibility to ensure that privacy rights are not violated as more information about individuals is held electronically

3 the growing opportunity to misuse ICT given the increasing dependence of organisations on it and the organisational duty to minimise this opportunity whilst accepting individuals have a responsibility to resist it the way advances in ICT can cause organisations to change their form - the full impact of such change needs to be considered and, if possible, in advance how to cope with the enormous and rapid change in ICT, and how to recognise and address the ethical issues that each advance brings

4 Guidelines to Set and Address the ICT Ethical Agenda Decide the organisation’s policy, in broad terms, in relation to ICT, using corporate objectives and values Form a statement of principles related to ICT that would probably include: – respect for privacy and confidentiality – avoid ICT misuse – avoid ambiguity regarding ICT status, use and capability – be committed to transparency of actions and decisions related to ICT – adhere to relevant laws and observe the spirit of such laws – support and promote the definition of standards in, for example, development, documentation and training – abide by relevant professional codes

5 Identify the key areas where ethical issues may arise for the organisation, such as: – ownership of software and data – integrity of data – preservation of privacy – prevention of fraud and computer misuse, etc… Consider the application of policy and determine the approach to each area of sensitivity that has been identified Communicate practical guidance to all employees, covering: – the clear definition and assignment of responsibilities – awareness training on ethical sensitivities – the legal position regarding intellectual property, data protection and privacy – security and data protection, etc…

6 ICS 417: Examples of Codes of Ethics ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

7 Preamble Commitment to ethical professional conduct is expected of every member The Code consists of statements of personal responsibility The Code is supplemented by a set of Guidelines, which provide explanation to assist members in dealing with the various issues contained in the Code The aims of the Code and Guidelines are: – to serve as a basis for ethical decision making in the conduct of professional work – to serve as a basis for judging the merit of a formal complaint pertaining to violation of professional ethical standards

8 Fundamental Ethical Imperatives Contribute to society and human well-being – minimize negative impacts of ICT systems, including threats to health and safety – be alert to, and make others aware of, any potential damage to environment Avoid harm to others – don’t use computing technology in ways that result in harm to users, public, etc – follow generally accepted standards for system design and testing – consider potential impacts during design & implementation – avoids unintended harm – report any signs of system dangers that might result in serious personal or social damage – taking into account all relevant facts e.g. assessment of risk and responsibility

9 Be honest and trustworthy – provide full disclosure of all pertinent ICT limitations and problems – be honest about your qualifications, and about any circumstances that might lead to conflicts of interest Be fair and take action not to discriminate – uphold the values of equality, tolerance, respect for others, and the principles of equal justice Honour property rights including copyrights and patent Give proper credit for intellectual property Respect the privacy of others Honor confidentiality of others’ information

10 Specific professional responsibilities Strive to achieve the highest quality, effectiveness and dignity in both the process and products of professional work Acquire and maintain professional competence – participate in setting standards for appropriate levels of competence, and strive to achieve those standards Know and respect existing laws pertaining to professional work – but compliance must be balanced with the recognition that sometimes existing laws and rules may be immoral or inappropriate and, therefore, must be challenged Accept and provide appropriate professional review – seek and utilize peer review as well as provide critical review of the work of others

11 Give comprehensive and thorough evaluations of ICT systems and their impacts, including analysis of possible risks – be perceptive, thorough, and objective when evaluating, recommending, and presenting system descriptions and alternatives – report any signs of danger from systems to those who have opportunity and/or responsibility to resolve them Honor contracts, agreements, and assigned responsibilities Improve public understanding of computing and its consequences Access computing and communication resources only when authorized to do so

12 Organizational Leadership Imperatives Articulate social responsibilities of members of an organizational unit and encourage full acceptance of those responsibilities Manage personnel & resources to design and build IS that enhance the quality of working life Acknowledge and support proper and authorized uses of an organization's computing and communication resources Ensure that ICT systems meet requirements of all stakeholders as per requirements Articulate and support policies that protect the dignity of users and others affected by a computing system Create opportunities for members of the organization to learn the principles and limitations of computer systems


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