December 4, 2010
As advancements in technology become more widespread, so do the ethical issues that come with these advancements. Computer ethics boils down to a “what is right and what is wrong” mentality. While one person’s view on computer ethics may differ from another person’s view, one basic idea should always be kept in mind when making ethical decisions, “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” If everyone obeyed this “golden rule” we would not have nearly as many issues with computer ethics. To better understand some of the computer ethics issues surrounding us today, I will explore the ...view middle of the document...
Many of the burnt copies of CDs today are created through file sharing. The most notorious of these file sharing sites is Napster. Although Napster operates under the letter of the law today and is under different ownership, a decade ago Napster felt the heat of the music industry when it was sued for copyright infringement and order to remove all copyrighted files from its file sharing site (Vance, 2000). DVD copying, as well, has faced scrutiny in recent times. In 2008, RealNetworks of Seattle released their RealMedia DVD copying software. This software was short lived. Later that year U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, who was the judge in the Napster case, ordered that the software be taken off the market (Brownlee, 2009). Some do not get off as easy as Napster or RealNetworks. In the spring of 2009 four Swedes were tried for running the file sharing site “The Pirate Bay.” The Pirate Bay is used for illegally trading music. The four involved were sentenced to pay more than $3 million in fines and serve a year in jail for their crimes (Juskalian, 2009). In another case in June of 2009, a Minnesota woman was ordered to pay close to $2 million in fines for her part in illegal file sharing. These types of crimes can carry heavy fine and even prison in some cases.
Opponents of software piracy are fighting an uphill battle. In 2007 large software vendors, such as Apple and Microsoft, funded a survey focused on revenue lost due to software piracy. The survey was performed by the International Data Corporation, or IDC, and the results of the survey were staggering. An estimated $40 billion in revenue worldwide was lost in 2006 from software piracy (Blau, 2007). The IDC also forecasted that in 2010 that businesses and consumers would spend $350 billion worldwide on software, while more than $180 billion will be pirated at the same time (Blau, 2007). As long as we see new software, so shall we see unauthorized copies of this software being pirated around the world.
Social Network Sites
Social Networking site have become overwhelmingly popular in recent years. Some of the more popular social networking sites are: Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. Facebook alone has more than 550 million members worldwide and growing. No other site is even close in terms of members. With so many people using these sites it is no wonder that ethical issues would become apparent.
One of the ethical issues with these sites lies with potential employers. Some believe that it is unethical for an employer to disqualify an applicant because of their social networking site. Is it illegal? If a jobseeker posts personal or embarrassing information about themselves on Facebook, then the information is made public and therefore available for anyone, including potential employers, to view (Potter, 2008). No law is broken if the employer uses information off of your Facebook page in making hiring decisions, that is, as long...