Ethics In It Essay

2694 words - 11 pages

Ethics in Information Technology
Dustin Hughson
Kaplan University


Ethical theories date back to the times of Socrates and Aristotle, the problem with ethical and moral theories is that information technology was not even a possibility when first developed. Lines can be crossed and personal ambiguity can help people act bolder then he/she may normally want too. Ethical theories are being used more and more to help the professional and computing world handle the rapid change while government and legislation try to catch up. Law and guidelines have been made, but in the haste to create them many are poorly designed and implemented, hurting people that have seemed to do ...view middle of the document...

Copyrights are for artistic works including: paintings, books, poems, music, and movies. Copyrights can extend past words and can protect the theme, thoughts, ideas, and future work derived from the original (Nelson, personal communication, 2014). Copyrights are debatable when it comes to software, because is software really a creative work of art? While copyrights allow original creators to produce future work on the original claiming that a patch or “new version” is future work falls under a very grey area.
Pirating is another growing issue and has been around for a very long time, ever sense people were able to copy cassette tapes and VHS movies. However in the beginning copying a copy would produce declining quality making pirating less problematic. The growth of the Internet, CD’s, and DVD’s created an era for pirating, because diminishing returns is a thing of the past. However, is pirating really the right term to be using, and is stealing really even the correct path? Most individuals will say walking into a store and stealing a CD or DVD is wrong and law can punish you. However the Internet offers a cloud of concealment, thus through its vastness can hide identities of thieves. In an article Peter Singer discussed ethics behind receiving scanned pages of a book, he debates the relevance of if he is stealing the book or not (Singer, 2014). He goes into great debate on whether he’s depriving any individuals of the book and even digs deeper into what if he had to go out and get the book for himself or even by borrowing a book from library and then possibly depriving it from someone else who could’ve easily needed it.
Is software piracy really piracy? Ethically a person could look and theorize that because nothing is stolen and the owner is still has product than is a crime really happening? A person could argue pirating goes against copyright protection, but the counter argument is how copyright and patent law struggle to protect software and intellectual property. One last thing to think about is how the Internet is free for all and for the people and all information on the Internet should be free and open to all. Ideally the only way a person can truly keep intellectual property safe is to keep it off the Internet.

Ethical Theories

Information technology cases are becoming more frequent everyday. Current laws and regulations are outdated and have allowed for the government to target a normal citizen. Aaron’s Law Act of 2013 was a very important case and can be used to debate ethical theory in information technology. Aaron’s Law was introduced in light of Aaron Swartz committing suicide when facing 35 years in federal prison because according to CFAA law he was in violation when systematically downloading academic journal articles from JSTOR (Lofgren & Wyden, 2013).
Aaron, in the eyes of the law and CFAA rules, was abusing and misusing resources to collect information. When Aaron would download the...

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