Ethics Essential for ICT Professionals

Discuss about the Ethics Essential for ICT Professionals.

Due to the ever-changing technological environment in the world today, there have been increased ethical concerns in equal measure. Information and communication technology, ICT has introduced new ethical alarms regarding the protection of intellectual property, personal privacy, piracy, access and use of information, user responsibility, cybercrime, social inclusion among others (Edewor, 2011). The rapid growth of ICT and its technologies has contributed to great impact in the society. As such, this has raised many ethical concerns to both individuals and among organizations (Mclean, 2011).  The main issues of ICT include inversion of corporate and individual privacy, people’s rights, intellectual property rights, accountability and preservation of values due to the use of ICT.  As a result of the emergence of ethical issues in ICT, there have been many challenges relating to areas of employment, individuality, and working conditions. Despite these issues, there has been little progress to address the challenges and issues associated with ICT (Edewor, 2011).This essay analyzes a media article, Ethics essential for ICT professionals by Brenda Aynsley, the ethical issues that are associated with information and communication technology are discussed based on Deontological and Teleological theories.

Article Summary

In this article, Brenda Aynsley explains ethical concerns and ICT professionalism. It reveals that about 85% of systems administrators will use ICT to create damage to an organization if they are sacked. Besides, it reveals that ICT experts have been charged with hacking offenses, theft, and corruption.  In the recent past, Sydney University, Commonwealth Bank, and the NSW TAFE sued their respective senior ICT managers with assorted crimes. In addition, there has been a court case of Queensland Health against IBM over a deceptive and misleading conduct. Also, the Ashley Madison Saga is a case in which customers personal details were hacked and put online, though the company had promised that they had been deleted. In light of the above issues, Aynsley (2015) raises concern about the need to regulate ICT profession. Finally, the act by face book to conduct an experiment to manipulate content feed with the aim of testing its effect on people’s emotions. As a result, the study was considered an inversion of privacy which is a breach of ethical principles of informed consent.

Article Analysis of the Ethical Issues in ICT

Deontological and Teleological theories are the two main classical schools of thought use in philosophy. Deontology is concerned with the ethics of the act without necessarily taking into account the impact of the action.  Teleologists, on the other hand, are concerned with the morality of the consequences of an action. The following ethical concerns are analyzed based on deontological and teleological principles.

Privacy: Privacy and data protection is a basic right that is applicable in all studies including ICT research (Weert & Munro, 2003). Regarding the act on privacy, the participants have the rights to remain unknown, and researchers need to comply with the legislation that concerns data protection. Informed consent is considered both legal and ethical requirement for research involving human participants.  It helps the participant to assess the potential risk and benefits associated with the study. In such cases, the participants are informed of the details of the trial for decision making on their willingness to participate (Musmade et al., 2013). However, in this article an immoral action has been observed; the Facebook research on people’s emotion by manipulating feed content without informed consent. As per deontological ethics, this act is a serious ethical issue that infringes individual’s privacy.  Use of social media in academic research pose great ethical concerns because the enormous information collected by private organization describes today’s aspect of daily life.

ICT Professionalism: Since ICT has a role in improving people’s lives, the importance of professionalism is critical. Having a professional attitude is the most important factor in ICT (Weckert & Lucas, 2013). Willingness to accept and take responsibility for one’s action is particularly an important quality of ICT professional. ICT either creates the benefit or risk that can either be political, economical, social or physiological (Wattal & Kumar, 2014). Therefore, ICT experts and professionals have the duty of care. In the media article, Brenda Aynsley indicates the possibility of 85% of ICT experts causing damage to the organization if they are sacked.  In computer ethics, computer professionals use the code of ethics as well as standards of good practices in the profession. According to deontological theory, the act of causing damage to an organization’s information system either through the introduction of malware or damaging the infrastructure is ethically wrong. In addition, teleological ethics is revealed when the ICT expert admit their intention to cause harm to the organization if they are sacked.  Also, the court case between Queensland Health and IBM owing to deception and a misleading conduct is in itself a lack of professionalism and unethical. The act of deceiving and misleading one another is ethically wrong. Ethically, professionalism is essential despite the situation (Weckert & Lucas, 2013).

Cybercrime: The biggest cyber threats that banks encounter are criminal activities in which hackers trace customer customers’ information and scanning their cards and steal from their bank accounts. Infecting banks computers and spreading the virus in the entire network is also a malicious act of cyber crime (Heesen, 2012). In this article, the Ashley Madison Saga whereby the customer’s information was hacked and put online is an act of cyber crime that is considered unethical. In this case, the act of hacking customer’s information is unethical as per the deontological theory. On the other hand, the act of putting online the customer’s hacked information hence infringing customer’s privacy is unethical as per the teleological theory.  Besides, the recent act of cyber crime witnessed among the senior managers of Commonwealth Bank, and Sydney University is an excellent example of a cyber crime which is indeed unethical.

Conclusion

Summing up, The ICT code of ethics outlines a benchmark for ICT experts who observe professional standards.  In this regard, ICT experts must observe primacy of public interest, honesty, professionalism, competence, professional development and improvement of the quality of life. Ethical considerations require that ICT expert to take into account the impact of their actions on customers, staff, and other interested parties. Ethics must be embraced where there is a legislative gap; ICT professionals need to ensure that no one is negatively affected by their actions. Regarding the issues highlighted in the article, the conduct of ICT experts requires a greater scrutiny. Such professionals must conduct themselves responsibly and ethically all the time in addition to observing the respect of the law.

References

Edewor, N. (2011). Ethics and Social Issues Related to Information Communication Technology (ICT).Government, Social and Legal Issues Frameworks for ICT Policy, 135-147. doi:10.4018/978-1-61692-012-8.ch009

Heesen, J. (2012). Computer and Information Ethics. Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics, 538-546. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-373932-2.00059-4

Aynsley, B. (2015, September 29). Ethics essential for ICT professionals. The Australian; Business Review. Retrieved September 9, 2016, from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/opinion/ethics-essential-for-ict-professionals/news-story/78307af0586683a61e7a0d537c5f6cf8

Mclean, A. (2011). Ethical frontiers of ICT and older users: Cultural, pragmatic and ethical issues. Ethics and Information Technology Ethics Inf Technol, 13(4), 313-326. doi:10.1007/s10676-011-9276-4

Musmade, P., Nijhawan, L., Udupa, N., Bairy, K., Bhat, K., Janodia, M., & Muddukrishna, B. (2013). Informed consent: Issues and challenges. J Adv Pharm Technol Res Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research, 4(3), 134. doi:10.4103/2231-4040.116779

Wattal, S., & Kumar, A. (2014). Cloud computing – An emerging trend in information technology. 2014 International Conference on Issues and Challenges in Intelligent Computing Techniques (ICICT). doi:10.1109/icicict.2014.6781273

Weckert, J., & Lucas, R. (2013). Professionalism in the information and communication technology industry. Canberra, ACT: Australian National University E Press.

Weert, T. J., & Munro, R. K. (2003). Informatics and the digital society: Social, ethical, and cognitive issues. Boston: Kluwer Academic.

 

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