Emerging Technologies With Ethical Implications Term Paper

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Technologies with Ethical Implications

The effect of information revolution in changing many facets of life in varied fields like banking and commerce, transportation, health care, entertainment, work and employment and national security is clearly visible in the developed countries of the world. As a result, information technology has started influencing relationships, family and community atmosphere, democracy, freedom, etc. (Computer Ethics: Basic Concepts and Historical Overview) Being an exclusive technology, computers bringup uncommon ethical matters. Computer ethics refers to the study of the characteristics and communal bearing of computer technology and the subsequent creativity and explanation of policies for the ethical utilization of such technology. This vigorous new field of computer ethics, in present modern years, has sprung new university courses, workshop, conference, curriculam materials, professional organizations, articles, books, journals and research centres. In addition, the age of WWW.hasaltered computer ethics into a field of world-wide information ethics. (Moor, 1985, p.267)

Computer ethics takes into account the interactions between data, theories, strategies and principles with respect to continually altering computer technology and hence it is an active and intricate field of study. Computer ethics is neither a rigid collection of policies that can be written on a piece of paper nor a mere employment of ethical principles to a valueless technology. A fresh thinking about the characteristics of computer technology and our values is what Computer ethics demands from us. Computer ethics is a field having its own standing even though it relies on both science and ethics and offers theoretical models for comprehension and guidelines for utilizing computer technology. As there is no policy on how to use computer technology, this leads to appearance of a standard problem in computer ethics. As computers offer fresh abilities to us, we are open to innovative choices for activity. (Moor, 1985, p.267)

In these circumstances, we face either insufficient policies or no policies to guide us. The main role of computer ethics is in devising procedures to guide our actions on what we should do in such circumstances. Obviously we need to tackle few ethical issues as a human being or as a community. Both individual and social policies are taken care by computer ethics for the ethical purpose of computer technology. It may appear that a routine deployment of an ethical theory to develop the suitable policy is what is all needed. However, this is typically not feasible. This is because we encounter no-concept situation along with no-policy situation. (Moor, 1985, p.268)

On first sight, a difficulty involved in computer ethics may look unambiguous; but a small insight will open out a theoretical chaos. In such circumstances, a thorough investigation that presents a logical theoretical structure is required to develop a policy for activity. In fact, computer ethics mainly deals with putting forward theoretical structures for comprehending ethical matters which is based on computer technology. The sign of fundamental difficulty in computer ethics is a situation where computer technology is effectively drawn in without a clear picture on how to comprehend the situation and what to do. Thus, core of computer ethics does not include all ethical situations involving computers. (Moor, 1985, p.270)

The troubles related to Computer ethics are of a simple type. Computer security is the visible major concern in these modern years in the field of Computer ethics, as there are computer viruses and worldwide intelligence work by hackers who are stay at a very huge distance. The logical security is the main problem, which according to Spafford, Heaphy and Ferbrache has been classified in to five parts: (1) Secrecy and confidentiality, (2) Integrity- which necessitates that the data and the programs are not altered without correct authority, (3) Unimpaired service (4) Continuity- which makes sure that the information and behavior which is found today will be the same tomorrow and (5) having control over the accessibility of resources, and the concern is not the physical security of the hardware. A major threat to the computer security is the spiteful kinds of software or the programmed intimidations. Some of the problems of computer security are the "worms" which can travel from machine to machine through networks, and may have their own parts being functioning on several machines; "Trojan horses" appear like a part of the program but are really causing harm behind the scenes; "viruses" are placed into other computer programs and they cannot run on their own; "logic bombs" look for certain situations and then work when they are favorable; and "bacteria" or "rabbits" grow fast and take up the computer's memory. (Computer Ethics: Basic Concepts and Historical Overview)

Usually, the faithful persons, who have the approval to use the computer system, cause computer crimes such as misappropriation or installing of logic bombs. The alleged hacker who infringes into others computer system without consent is another main threat to the computer security. Usually the hackers search the system to know how the system functions and what files are present, while some deliberately cause damage or pilfer data. The hackers usually shield themselves as emissary of government bodies or as benign protectors of freedom and defenders against cons by important corporations. The self-styled messiahs of the cyberspace assert that they are helping the society by revealing the security dangers and their activities do not cause any damage. The owner should carefully verify his computer system for any flawed or lost data once he knows that there has been an infiltration into his computer system, and any act of hacking is detrimental. The owner of the system should make a pricey and extensive search of the compromised system, even if the hackers have done no damage. (Computer Ethics: Basic Concepts and Historical Overview)

The sufferers are made to spend time and money in verifying and rescuing the system after the felony by the hackers. Due to this the services are also broken up. As long as it is not changed, they think it is good to burglarize and enter other's files. They feel no felony is done. The hackers share the unlawful accessibility codes and passwords by pilfering the computer time and telephone. The pilfering is mostly of very low technology. The functions which do not work and cause break down are smashed by the hackers. (What is a Computer Crime?) Usually the agent considers his actions as role-models for others and considers computer crimes as games or intellectual activity which normally others can't do. (Information Ethics: On the Philosophical Foundation of Computer Ethics)

The information aspect is easily imagined as a magical, political, social, financial dream-like setting, due to the aloofness of the process, the irrelevant nature of information and the virtual communication with undisclosed persons, so a person faultily assumes that his/her actions are illusory and inconsequential as the murder of enemies in a virtual play. The result is that he/she may be wholly ready to accept the universal saying, and take responsibility for his/her actions and expand the regulations of the play to all agents. As, in a moral game, universality without any botheration for the real outcome of an activity is ethically weak as the hacker can be a real Kantian. (Information Ethics: On the Philosophical Foundation of Computer Ethics)

Privacy was first subject of computer ethics which stirred public interest. The computer technology is considered to be intimidating to a person who wishes to keep various types of information which is sensitive like medical records out of the public realm or out of the reach of those who are considered as possible dangers, due to the ease and efficiency with which computer and computer networks can be used to collect, store, search, make comparisons, retrieve and share personal information. New privacy concerns like data-mining, data-matching, recording of "click trails" on the web etc. have arisen due to the commercialization and fast progress of the internet; the rise of WWW; expanding user-friendliness and the authority of processing of computers; and reducing expenses of computer technology in the last 10 years. The philosophers and other thinkers are made to re-consider the idea of privacy due to several problems connected with privacy which are caused by computer technology. (Computer Ethics: Basic Concepts and Historical Overview)

As of today, the most clearly seen difficulties in computer networks is the larceny of intellectual property and software. (Peace, A. Graham; Galletta, dennis. F; Thong, James, p. 154). The physical manifestations of thoughts which are enclosed in music, books, plays, movies and computer software is defined as intellectual property. These valuable properties are available on the Internet, and the computer pirates lift them when they copy music, software, graphics/pictures, movies, books etc. A question may crop up as to how a person is affected, who initiated or manufactured these forms of entertainment? Is pilfering computer hardware innovated and produced by someone equal to stealing a product? Who will pay for this robbery? (What is a Computer Crime?)

By fixing a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing software program it may be easy and safe to copy movies, recordings and computer programs. But,…[continue]

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