Ethical, social, and political issues are closely linked. The ethical dilemma you may face as a manager of information systems typically is reflected in social and political debate. One way to think about these relationships is given in Figure 4-1. Imagine society as a more or less calm pond on a summer day, a delicate ecosystem in partial equilibrium with individuals and with social and political institutions. Individuals know how to act in this pond because social institutions (family, education, organizations) have developed well-honed rules of behavior, and these are supported by laws developed in the political sector that prescribe behavior and promise sanctions for violations. Now toss a rock into the center of the pond. But imagine instead of a rock that the disturbing force is a powerful shock of new information technology and systems hitting a society more or less at rest. What happens? Ripples, of course.
The introduction of new information technology has a ripple effect, raising new ethical, social, and political issues that must be dealt with on the individual, social, and political levels. These issues have five moral dimensions: information rights and obligations, property rights and obligations, system quality, quality of life, and accountability and control.Suddenly individual actors are confronted with new situations often not covered by the old rules. Social institutions cannot respond overnight to these ripples?it may take years to develop etiquette, expectations, social responsibility, politically correct attitudes, or approved rules. Political institutions also require time before developing new laws and often require the demonstration of real harm before they act. In the meantime, you may have to act. You may be forced to act in a legal gray area.? We can use this model to illustrate the dynamics that connect ethical, social, and political issues. This model is also useful for identifying the main moral dimensions of the information society, which cut across various levels of action?individual, social, and political.
FIGURE : THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ETHICAL, SOCIAL, AND POLITICAL ISSUES IN AN INFORMATION SOCIETY
The Internet boom has provided many benefits for society, allowing the creation of new tools and new ways for people to interact. As with many technological advances, however, the Internet has not been without negative aspects. For example, it has created new concerns about privacy, and it has been hampered by spam and viruses. Moreover, even as it serves as a medium for communication across the globe, it threatens to cut off people who lack access to it. New solutions in information and communication technologies (ICTs) are constantly emerging, and, for good or for ill, the changes they bring may open up our societies and our world to a greater extent than did the first phase of the Internet revolution.
1. Identify several ethical issues in how the use of information technologies in business affects employment, individuality, working conditions, privacy, crime, health, and solutions to societal problems.
2.Identify several types of security management strategies and defenses, and explain how they can be used? to ensure the security of business applications of information technology.
3. Propose several ways that business managers and professionals can help to lessen the harmful effects and increase the beneficial effects of the use of information technology.
Emerging? technologies that will usher in the future Information Society in particular:
1.???????????? The Semantic Web and Other Metadata ? Metadata, or data about data, enables greater automated analysis of information; the Semantic Web promises to use Metadata to create an environment in which computers can serve as intelligent agents rather than mere tools.
2.???????????? Digital Identity Management and Biometrics ? Digital identity management allows the amassing and automatic processing of personal data; biometrics provides means by which human beings can be uniquely identified.
3.???????????? Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Sensors ? These technologies monitor the physical world, using communications technology to distribute information about a specific location.
4.???????????? The Geospatial Web and Location-Based Services ? Both of these technologies serve to associate digital data with physical locations.
5.???????????? Mesh Networking ? Mesh networking facilitates the formation of networks across areas without existing communications infrastructures. As such, it can help connect underserved areas.
6.???????????? Grid Computing ? This technology may allow the world?s computing power and data storage resources to be pooled for people to access as needed.
7.???????????? New Computing Technologies Combined with the technologies listed above, a powerful mix of optics, quantum computing and other new technologies has potential to bring about a ?global brain.? Because choices in their design and use carry moral consequences, these technologies pose significant info-ethics challenges.
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