Due to the dynamic pace with which technology keeps popping up in the information and communication sector, developing codes of conduct for regulating ethics in the industry continues to face a difficult task.
Markedly, the moral codes of conduct help in regulating the culture of information dissemination and sharing. The moral codes play a critical role in nurturing a morally upright society.
Unchecked information within the internet and other social network forums jeopardise the ability of controlling information that require discretion (Drahos & Braithwaite, 2003).
Therefore, developing an information technology code of ethics require close analysis of the ethical theories and attributes that regulate other professional disciplines.
Since different technological advancement touch on different sets of regulatory frameworks, it is vital to solve computing dilemmas based on ethical theories in each of the specific case in question.
Ethics and intellectual property
Technology, especially in the military and communication arena remain vulnerable to unethical use and exploitation. From development of weapons such as drones to introduction of malware in enemies’ systems, the unethical use of technological advancement jeopardises proper employment of technological advancements.
With rising rates of computer literacy across major economies in the world, unchecked use of technology does not only present an awkward position to economic development, but also to progressive use of force in times of war and other conflicts.
Collateral damage and other mass destruction initiatives becomes easy when technological developments override the human aspects of ethics and moral codes of conduct (Allen, 2008).
What we should build
Adequate policy elaboration to control ethics
Access to certain critical and easily misused technological resources needs restriction to appropriate functional unit heads. In such as setting, the functional unit head ensures proper control and management of the technology to regulate the chances of such technological resources landing on wrong hands (Freeman, 2005).
Correspondingly, such a confined system of access ensure functional unit head takes the unit members through adequate orientation on the use and management of such resources before the team members take over responsibilities. Insufficient mastery of technology advancements can be fatal.
For example, a simple mistake in test launching of atomic weapons presents the risk of millions of death. In the process of defining access codes of conduct, inclusion of proper measures for prosecution in cases of violation remains necessary (Doyle, 2009).
Practical and content-based control
Institutions with sensitive technological resources need to develop rights to impose technical restrictions on the access to their networks, especially in cases that such access compromises the ability to use certain devices, programmes, and protocols.
In teleology, ethics assume that the moral standing of an action relies on the consequences of such action. In order to control the consequences of exposing sensitive technological resources to unwarranted individuals, institutions require controlled content systems that regulate resource availability and use.
Likewise, institutions must develop warnings on the repercussions that come with infringing on the limited content use to ensure that such culprits face the law.
Availing technological resources such as pornographic and violent videos within an institution’s website need confinement to the rules and regulations that govern such resources. Uncontrolled accessibility and content-use of such resources compromise ethics and societal morals (Vaidhyanathan, 2003).
What we should not know
Access and security codes
Security access codes and personal passwords help in controlling use and dissemination of technological resources. In such a setting, institutions with sensitive technological resources accord each employee a personal identification accounts.
In case of unauthorised access and use of any device or resource, users of the accounts take full responsibility. Negligence in the protection of such access code comes with dire consequences.
Even though codes offer protection from unwarranted access, hackers continue to access information and technological resources with ease from institutional websites and networks. Proper layers of password with complicated security nature help in controlling access through hacking.
Users of such institutional account must respect the privacy of other users. Institutions must define policies against installation of spywares that can snoop around individual privacies (Doyle, 2009).
What are we not allowed to do?
Close to the concept of access and security codes, lies the issue of privacy. With advancement in technology and online storage of personal data, people have their personal information lying in various social networks sites.
Despite placing such information on the social internet at will, electronic databases enable easy transfer and storage of such data. The quantity of personal data available within an information system includes financial, medical, educational, and employment statements.
Such an avalanche of personal information within the reach of administrators and hackers require adequately controlled access for privacy and security reasons. Individuals, governments, and employment institutions have detailed systems of personal information.
Even though several laws like the 1986 Electronic Communication Privacy Act of the United States aims at controlling the use and access to such personal information, there exists a wide range of gaps that need proper legislative control.
Most unstable technology
Genetic engineering presents plausible prospects for the technological ambition. With the abilities of the future parents to dictate the genes of their children, the financially stable members of the society will have the power to determine their children’s sex, height, eye colour, hair, and even skin colour (Sandel, 2007).
Equally, they will dictate the type of traits in their offspring depending on their likes and preferences. Despite these developments, it is vital to note that the choice of preferences chosen come with relatively unknown consequences.
Genetic modification of genes coupled with the consumption of genetically modified foods further cripple the natural state of human existence.
Just as the discovery of DDT in the 1950s presented a great step towards the control of insects and insect-related illnesses, genetic engineering comes with a wide array of negative consequences.
Intrusion into the natural settings of plants and organisms through genetic modification in plants, animals, insects, bacteria, and viruses compromises the ability of the human body to react to the illnesses (Drahos & Braithwaite, 2003).
Similarly, several bacteria and viruses causing human and animal illness continue to mutate while others recombine to effectively deal with human defence systems. Use of genetically modified organism raises questions on the importance of environmental and human ethics in the use of technology.
For example, scientists touted invention of DDT as a breakthrough in the fight against invasive insects and their related illness. However, a few years later, results showed that the negative impacts of the use of DDT outweighed the positive impacts.
Scientists require moral standing in exploring both the positive impacts and negative implications associated with any technological advancement (Dumas, 1999).
Technology plays an important role in making work easier for human beings. For instance, the speed at which individuals can send bulk messages to multiple recipients across the world remains high due to the internet and other technological advancements.
However, there exists a thin line between positive and negative impacts of the technological advancement. As it is easy to send texts to multiple recipients, intrusion into such mails and messages remains relatively easy. This calls for ethical management systems within technology management systems to control the misuse of such advancements.
Allen, A.L. (2008). The Virtuous Spy: Privacy as an Ethical Limit. The Monist, 91(1), 3-22.
Doyle, T. (2009). Privacy and Perfect Voyeurism. Ethics and Information Technology, 11(4), 181-189.
Drahos, P., & Braithwaite, J. (2003). Information feudalism: Who owns the knowledge economy? London: Earthscan.
Dumas, L. J. (1999). Lethal arrogance: Human fallibility and dangerous technologies. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Freeman, L. (2005). Information ethics privacy and intellectual property. Hershey, PA: Information Science Pub.
Sandel, M. (2007). The case against perfection: Ethics in the age of genetic engineering. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Vaidhyanathan, S. (2003). Copyrights and copywrongs: The rise of intellectual property and how it threatens creativity. New York: New York University Press.
Forbidden and Dangerous Information Technology