Ashley AzikeProfessor TundeComputer Science 113 8 December 2017Ethics in Computer Science As the use of computers continues to increase, many ethical issues are arising. It is important that these ethical issues are addressed in order to prevent any further damage as well as to ensure user safety. Computer ethics refers to any moral practices or procedures that regulate the use of computer applications. Some of the most common ethical issues involving computer are copyright infringement, computer crimes such as computer hacking, internet privacy, and job displacement. Due to ethical concerns regarding computers, there are specific ethical codes put into place that all computer users must abide by. One ethical issue in computer science is copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is defined as any violation of the rights secured by the copyright owner. Some examples of copyright infringement include downloading a song online without paying for it, prerecording films, pornography, and software piracy.
During my research, I discovered that there were five famous cases involving copyright infringement. In one of the cases, “Rogers vs. Koons”, a photographer by the name Art Rogers, shot a photograph of a couple holding their line of puppies and proceeded to sell this photograph on greeting cards. Jeff Koons, an artist, saw Rogers’s photograph and decided to recreate this image on a set of statues. After Rodgers saw these statues, he sued Koon for copyright infringement and Koon was forced to pay a monetary settlement to Rodgers. In another case, “Vanilla Ice vs. David Bowie/Freddie Mercury, Vanilla Ice sampled a hit song by David Bowie and Queen but did not given them credit. Ice now faced a lawsuit and was ordered to pay Bowie/Queen a large amount of money.
In order to reduce copyright infringement, it is important to have copyright protection. This ensures that the creators are protected from getting their own ideas stolen and having someone else claiming it as their own. Another popular ethical issue in computer science is computer crime. Computer crime refers to any illegal activity performed usually by a hacker in attempt to steal private information. Some examples of computer crimes include identity theft, fraud, cyberbullying, and wiretapping. In the United States Department of Justice, the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section is responsible for implementing strategies that combat computer and intellectual property crimes worldwide. They also help to prevent, investigate, and prosecute computer crimes by working with other government agencies and foreign counterparts.
Within computer crimes, the most prominent crime is computer hacking. Computer hacking refers to the practice of altering computer software and hardware to accomplish a goal that is deemed to be outside of the creator’s original objective. In order to cease computer crimes, it is important that all computer users are aware of the different ways to prevent computer crimes from occurring. One possible way to prevent or avoid computer crime is by protecting your computer with a firewall.
This is a virtual blockade that rejects information from making its way into another network without the proper authorization. Another way is to use an anti-virus software. Often, the spread of computer viruses are the prime causes for the loss of data. Therefore, with an anti-virus software this will help prevent harmful programs from getting onto a network. In addition, properly restricting access to all terminals on a network or on a computer in homes or offices is a way to prevent computer crime as well having a password on your computer in order to avoid any physical intrusions. Internet privacy is also an ethical issue within computer science. Privacy is becoming a major concern for internet users as it is becoming easy for outside parties to access or control data.
Some internet privacy risks may include phishing, pharming, spyware, and malware. Phishing is a type of internet hacking activity used to steal user data. Pharming is another internet hacking activity that redirects a legitimate website visitor to a different IP address. Spyware is an offline application that allows someone to obtain data for a user without their authorization. Malware is an application used to illegally destroy or harm online and offline computer users through Trojans or viruses. The key to protecting a computer user’s privacy online is to think before sharing personal information online.
There is no need to share more than what you have to. It is important to refrain from posting information that you would not want to be made public. In addition, when registering for social networking sites, only include the required information, which is often marked with an asterisk. Another way to protecting a computer user’s privacy would be to protect your IP address. Almost anyone can find your IP address and can use that to locate where you are. However, by using a proxy service such as TOR, this will help protect your IP address.
Job displacement is becoming another major ethical concern for individuals as technology continues to advance. As a result, to this advancement there has been a decrease in the need of actual labor. This ethical issue forces companies to reduce their workforce resulting in an increase in unemployment.There are rules of ethics known as the ten commandments of computer ethics that were established for computer users to abide by.
The first commandment states, “Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people”. This means that a user should not harm or corrupt another user’s data or steal personal files. It also refers to sending viruses in order to hack or spam another user’s computer. An example of this commandment would be cyberbullying, which is the act of threatening or bullying a person online typically by sending hurtful messages.
The second commandment states, “Thou shalt not interfere with other people’s computer work”. An example of this would be deleting one of your friend’s paper and then saying you were just playing. Another example of this commandment is using computer software that contain viruses in order to disrupt another user’s work. Viruses interfere with the normal functioning of a computer and are meant to harm a computer. The third commandment states, “Thou shalt not snoop around in other people’s computer files”. This means that a user should not spy on another’s user computer data. An example of this would be opening and reading another person’s email or illegally snooping through his or her network connection. The fourth commandment states, “Thou shalt not use a computer to steal”.
This refers to stealing or leaking sensitive and confidential information. An example of this would be stealing patient history from a hospitals database. The fifth commandment states, “Thou shalt not use a computer to bear false witness”. This means that a user should not use the computer to contribute to the spread of false information. This would include spreading false news and rumors. The sixth commandment states, “Thou shalt not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not paid”. This means that users should refrain from copying software or buying pirated copies.
Instead, users should pay for the software unless it is free. The seventh commandment states, “Thou shalt not use other people’s computer resources without authorization or proper compensation”. This refers to a user breaking and intruding into another user’s private space.
The eight commandment states, “Thou shalt not appropriate other people’s intellectual output”. This means that it is wrong to claim ownership on a work that is the output of someone else’s intellect. An example of this would be posting a new movie that just came out on YouTube, which is unethical and could potentially lead to the owner taking legal actions due to copyright infringement. The ninth commandment is “Thou shalt think about the social consequences of the program you are writing or the system you are designing”.
This means that before developing a software, it is important to think about the social impact it could have. For example, an educational game for children should not have negative content or explicit graphical images. The last commandment states, “Thou shalt always use a computer in ways that ensure consideration and respect for your fellow humans”. This refers to being respectful and courteous to other users. This would include not using abusive language online or intruding another user’s privacy. By following these ten ethical commandments, this will ensure a safe environment for users and promote positive moral behavior. Ethical issues in computer science will always be an ongoing topic of discussion as the amount of computer users continue to increase each day.
It is important that all computer users are aware and well educated on the ethical rules regarding computers in order to prevent any further issues. These issues will only stop if all computer users take the appropriate actions and attempt to improve the world of technology in order to forth a change.