Legal and Ethical Dimensions

 Information technology and electronic information: an ethical dilemma.

By Desai, Mayur S.,von der Embse, Thomas J.,Ofori-Brobbey, Kwadwo Publication: SAM Advanced Management Journal  Date: Sunday, June 22 2008

The role of Information technology (IT) ethics is undoubtedly indispensable particularly in this in the 21st century. However, there have been numerous concerns over ethical issues that relates to the use of computer technology. Any form of data is generated using some kind of Information technology tools. The resulting information is also stored and later disseminated using various IT tools and techniques. The process of generating and distributing the information is characterized by various challenges. Hence, need for ethical measures. This paper seeks to: 1) take a comprehensive analysis on the ethical challenges faced IT personnel; 2) to conduct an assessment on IT and El policies and propose a practical approach in dealing with ethical and legal issues.

Sojka, Jacek (1996) "Business Ethics and Computer Ethics: The View from Poland." In Bynum and Rogerson. (1996) Global Information Ethics, Opragen Publications, 191-200.

 Privacy and Anonymity

The fast rate  and efficiency at which computers and computer related application tools process information, store, search, and enable for sharing is certainly a threat particularly in situations where confidentiality is of essence for instance in the banking and financial sectors.  There is a danger of information getting into wrong hands.  Commercialization and rapid growth of the internet that have been witnessed in the recent past years, is posing a threat to the privacy. The realization of user-friendly world web and the increased speed at which computers process information, have increased the concern for privacy. Perfect examples of such privacy concerns include: data-mining, data matching, recording of "click trails" on the web, among other threats a new, practical--yet value-based--proactive, ethical and legal approach providing both specific and broad policy guidelines.

Perrolle, Judith A. (1987) Computers and Social Change: Information, Property, and Power. Wadsworth.

Intellectual Property

This concept has been one of the most controversial subjects connected with ownership of software. There is a sharp division among the scholars as relates with whether software programmes should be free and available for copying and modification by the public or the manufactures should retain the intellectual property rights. Currently, the software industry is a multibillion-dollar part of the economy. However, it is claimed that companies are losing billions of cash every year through illegal copying ("piracy of software"). The concept of software ownership still remains a complicated issue as there arte different levels of ownership and different aspects of software, which can be owned

Gotterbarn, Donald (2001) "Informatics and Professional Responsibility", Science and Engineering Ethics, Vol. 7, No. 2.

 Professional Responsibility

Experts in Computers possess special knowledge and by virtue of this, they command respect in the society and also hold lucrative positions. Because of this they are mostly looked upon by the society to provide direction on important IT issues. These professionals will inevitably find themselves in working relationship with other people at their  place of work.  These associations constitute a range of interests, which at times may be antagonizing to each other. This therefore requires one to be more careful so as to be able to detect the differences and hence know how to avoid or overcome them. This has resulted into emergence of Professional organizations with defined professional ethics that guide the industry

(Developed from: Paterson , W D O and T Scullion, 1990. Information systems for road management: draft guidelines on systemdesign and data issues. Infrastructure and Urban Development Department Report INU 77. Washington DC:The World Bank.

Data requirements

What Effective Management requires

In order to realize effective management, two main aspects are important: first, the objectives must be well defined and clearly stated in the policy framework. The second aspect is that there should be a regular input of new and updated information upon which management decisions should be made. The information should inform on such items as network details, traffic and axle loads, costs, the condition of the road, among others. This however, will, also depend on the available data, which will supply the required information. Continuous review of the information would result into improvement of the physical condition of the infrastructures, its safety, quality services and efficiency of its operation.

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