Ethics - Rajat Singla

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  • 8/9/2019 Ethics - Rajat Singla


    Ethical & Social Issues in

    Information Systems

    Brought to you by:Rajat Singla

    Roll No. 21

  • 8/9/2019 Ethics - Rajat Singla



    Responsibility, Accountability, and Liability

    Computer-Related Liability

    Ethics and System Quality: Data Quality andSystem Errors

    IT and Quality of Life Issues: Equity, Access and


    Health Risks: RSI, CVS, and Technostress

  • 8/9/2019 Ethics - Rajat Singla


    Basic concepts: Responsibility, Accountability, and Liability

    Responsibility: Accepting the potential costs, duties, and

    obligations for decisions

    Accountability: Mechanisms for identifying responsibleparties

    Liability: Permits individuals (and firms) to recover damages

    done to them

    Due process: Laws are well known and understood, with an

    ability to appeal to higher authorities

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    Accountability, Liability, and Control

    Many of our laws and court decisions establishingprecedents in the area of accountability, liability, andcontrol were firmly in place long before computers wereinvented. Many of them date back to the early 1900s, and

    some simply don't make sense in this day and age. That's what we were referring to when we talked about new

    questions for organizations, companies, and the workplace ingeneral. No issue makes this subject more important than theInternet laws our government has tried and still tries to pass.

  • 8/9/2019 Ethics - Rajat Singla


    Accountability, Liability, and Control

    New technology challenges existing liability law and social

    practices for holding individuals and orgs accountable for

    the creation and sale of new IS/IT products and services


    n If a person is injured by a machine controlled bysoftware, who is liable?

    n Should electronic services like America-On-line be held

    accountable for offensive material on their Web site?

    n If you outsource your information processing, can youhold your external vendor liable for damages to your



  • 8/9/2019 Ethics - Rajat Singla


  • 8/9/2019 Ethics - Rajat Singla


    Liability of Electronic Information Services

    Are such services liable for the content of their transmissions?

    Telephone companies are not liable for their transmissions

    Radio and television are liable What should we do with respect to the Internet, America-On-

    line ?

    What happens when one company provides telephone, cable,

    and Internet access services over one wire?


  • 8/9/2019 Ethics - Rajat Singla


    Levels of the Accountability, Liability, and

    Control Issues Ethical issue (individuals)

    Are individuals and organizations that create, produce,and sell information systems morally responsible forthe consequences of their use?

    If so under what conditions? Social issue (society)

    What should our expectations be? Should thedeveloper of the service be responsible for harm orshould the organization that purchased the service beheld accountable?

    Political issues (laws)

    Should legislation impose liability or restrict liability onservice providers?


  • 8/9/2019 Ethics - Rajat Singla


    Who is Liable?

    The producer ofSW code?

    The producer of the machine who should test the code?

    The organization/facility (e.g. Hospital, Bank) where thedamage was done?

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    Computer-Related Liability

    Information Systems executives are responsible for harm done bysystems developed by their staffs.

    When SW is a part of a machine, and the machine harms someonephysically or economically, the producer of the SW and theoperator can be held liable for damages.

    If the SW acts like a book by storing and displaying information,then it is very difficult (if not impossible) to hold SW producer liablefor their products.

    Historically, print publishers have not been held liable inaccordance with freedom of expression (with the exception of

    fraud and defamation) Telephone Systems have not been held liable for the messages

    transmitted, but Internet Service Providers (AOL, MSN, etc) can beheld liable for the offensive content of the postings by their users.

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    IT can challenge our ability to identify who is responsible

    for actions involving systems that injure people.

    IT can make it difficult to assign liability and restore

    injured persons.


    raises issues about who should control informationsystems that have the potential for injuring citizens.

    IT: Accountability, Liability, and ControlIT: Accountability, Liability, and Control

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    Yahoo Case in France

    Yahoo case in France in 2000, auctioning Nazi-

    related materials

    The court ruled that even the server in the US

    should stop auctioning Nazi-related stuff (fine: US

    10,000 per day)

    Advocate of freedom of speech, and the rule of the

    Internet as an open source media.

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    Example: is a leading provider of decision-

    making information to businesses and government

    agencies that helps reduce fraud and mitigate risk. It lost tocriminal business firms 130,000 personal records of

    California residents in February 2005. This loss may result in

    the victims losing credit, being denied an apartment, losing

    employment, or experiencing an identity theft.

    What are the issues of accountability, liability, and control

    in this case?

    IT: Accountability, Liability, and Control

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    No software program is perfect, errors will be made, even if the

    errors have a low probability of occurring. Errors in Windows

    operating systems were notorious. At what point should softwarebe shipped? What kind of disclaimer statements might be


    No database is without errors. In fact, most consumer and

    government personal information databases have errors rangingfrom 10-20% of the data records being either inaccurate,

    incomplete, or ambiguous. How should decision makers treat this

    kind of information in order to be fair to data subjects?

    Ethics and System Quality:

    Data Quality and System Errors

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    System Quality: Data Quality and System Errors

    Three principal sources of poor system performance:1. SW bugs and errors (there is no perfect SW, no industry testing

    standards for producing SW of acceptable performance)

    2. HW or facility failures

    3. Poor quality ofinput data

    Ethical Issues: At what point to release the software/services forconsumption? What are you obliged to know about the quality of yourSW?

    Social Issues: Should people be encouraged to believe systems areperfect?

    Political Issues: Laws of responsibility and accountability. The Standards Council ofCanada sets Canadian standards, including the

    international ISO 9000 and ISO 14000. (penalties for failure to abide bythe standards are unclear)

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    System Quality: Data Quality and System


    As we rely on Information Systems more, data quality issuesare gaining importance. These issues affect you as aconsumer and as a user. When the credit reporting agenciesmess up your credit record and you can't get a car loan,

    whose fault is it? Yours or the credit agency's? If the Electric Company doesn't get its Y2K bug fixed and you

    lose power on January 1, 2000, whose problem is that?What if you're driving down the road, the computer chipcontrolling your brake system fails, and you have a rather

    nasty crash? Who is at fault? You, the car company, or thecompany that made the computer chip?

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    Balancing Power: Center Versus Periphery: Is IT

    centralizing decision-making power in the hands of a few,

    or is it allowing many more people to participate in

    decisions that affect their lives?

    Rapidity of change: Reduced response time to

    competition: The business you work for may not be able

    to respond to rapidly changing IT-enabled market places.

    There goes your job offshore!

    Maintaining boundaries: Family, work, and leisure: Do

    anything anywhere environment blurs the boundaries

    between work, vacation, and family time

    IT and Quality of Life Issues: Equity, Access,

    and Boundaries

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    Dependence and vulnerability: There are few regulatory

    standards to protect us from the failure of complex

    electrical, communications, and computer networks upon

    which we all depend.

    Computer crime: Commission of illegal acts through the

    use of a computer or against a computer system is on the

    increase. Spam is now illegal (a federal and state felony

    offense), and phishing to defraud people is also a felony.

    But 70% of e-mail is now spam, and phishing crimes are

    the fastest growing Internet fraud. China has developed a

    team ofCyber hackers and they can hack any computer.

    Example: Hacking, Sniffing

    IT and Quality of Life Issues: Equity, Access,

    and Boundaries

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    IT and Quality of Life Issues: Equity, Access,

    and Boundaries

    Computer abuse:

    Unethical but not necessarily illegal acts. Adware programs that

    alter a persons browser are not illegal but most of us would not

    want this to happen (without knowing about it).

    Commission of acts involving a computer that may not be illegal

    but are considered unethical. Example: Spamming

    Productivity drain at work: Use of computer and Internet access

    for non-work related purposes

    Question: Does employer have the right to monitor employeesemail and internet activities?

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    IT and Quality of Life Issues: Equity, Access,

    and Boundaries

    Employment: Trickle-down technology and reengineering job loss:

    Workers lose their jobs due to automation, re-engineering the workforce

    and outsourcing

    The rapid development of the Internet has made it possible to offshore

    hundreds of thousands of jobs from high-wage countries to low- wage

    countries. Reengineering existing jobs using IT also results in few jobs

    (generally). While this benefits low-wage countries enormously, the

    costs are paid by high-wage country workers.

    Equity and access: While 500 million people worldwide are on theInternet, billions of others are not. Within the United States, the digital

    divide has declined among ethnic groups, but still persists. The divide

    between men and women has largely disappeared.

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    Health Risks: RSI, CVS, and Technostress

    IT has been the source of several diseases.

    As managers, you should be acutely aware of the health issues

    caused by computer usage.

    Question: Why?

    Because these health issues cost businesses huge amounts of

    dollars each year in medical treatment claims and lostproductivity.

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  • 8/9/2019 Ethics - Rajat Singla


    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS):Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS):

    Type of RSI

    Pressure on the median nerve through the wrists bony carpal

    tunnel structure produces pain.

    The pressure is caused by constant repetitions of keystrokes.

    Symptoms ofCTS include numbness, shooting pain, inability to

    grap objects and tingling.

    Millions of workers have been diagnosed with CTS.

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    Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS):Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS):

    Eyestrain condition.Eyestrain condition.

    Related to computer display screen usage.Related to computer display screen usage.

    Symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, and dry and irritatedSymptoms include headaches, blurred vision, and dry and irritated


  • 8/9/2019 Ethics - Rajat Singla



    Stress induced by computer use.

    Symptoms include aggravation, hostility toward humans,

    impatience, and fatigue.

    According to Experts, humans working continuously withcomputers come to expect others humans and human institutions

    to behave like computers, providing instant responses ,

    attentiveness, and an absence of emotions.

    Related to high levels of early retirements from computer intenseoccupations and elevated levels of drug and alcohol abuse

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    Technological trends are posing new situations and questions wehaven't had to deal with before.

    Since it's your world and your future, you should be concerned andbecome involved in their resolution. Ethics in an informationsociety holds each person responsible for his or her actions.

    Each person is accountable for everything he or she does, nomatter how anonymous the action may seem. Each person is liablefor the consequences his or her actions may inflict on other peopleand society as a whole If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

    If it's illegal or immoral or unethical outside the computing arena,it's probably illegal, and immoral and unethical in thecomputing arena. If you are aware of a problem or are a victim

    of unethical, illegal actions, and you don't do something about it,you're part of the problem.

    Managers have an obligation to ensure policies are in place to helpguide their employees inthe ethical and legal use of technology.

    It's your new world - use it wisely.

  • 8/9/2019 Ethics - Rajat Singla


    Wikipedia ( need less to say !! )

    Some great Hollywood Flicks like The Bourne Series

    Management Information System Tenth Edition

    Kenneth C. Laudon, Jane P. Laudon


  • 8/9/2019 Ethics - Rajat Singla


    Open to Questions / Comments /Compliments ( ) !

    Thank You !