As much as information technology is important to our lives, it is facing some serious ethical challenges and it is up to the IT experts and users of information technology to be ready for these challenges. As more emerging information technologies pop up on the market, most of the IT experts and users do not know how to go about the challenges brought about by these technologies. Information technology is facing major challenges which are lack of privacy, security, copyright infringement and increased computer crimes. Criminals have been eagerly utilising the many loop holes technology offers . Since information technology greatly aid the speed, flow and access of information, cyber crime has become an ever rising profession. Many businesses and organizations are at risk of becoming a cyber victim on a daily basis, as most, if not all business are based on some digital network.
There is also the possible threat of unfaithful or vengeful employees that can use information technology to achieve their personal goals which might be harmful to an organization. IT is not bad in itself, but the way humans use the tools provided by information technology has brought some serious challenges. Below I have detailed topics on 5 Ethical Challenges of Information Technology
- Security: With tools like the internet, hackers have found it very easy to hack into any computer or system as long as it is connected on internet. Hackers can easily use an IP (Internet Protocol) address to access a user’s computer and collect data for selfish reasons. Also the wide spread of internet cookies which collect information whenever we use the internet , has exposed IT users to high risks of fraud and conflicting interests. Many big companies use these cookies to determine which products or service they can advertise to us. When it comes to online banking, the transfer of money can easily be interrupted by a hacker and all the money will be transferred to their desired accounts , which affects both the bank and the customers who is using online banking technology.
- Privacy Issues: As much as information technology has enabled us to share and find relevant information online,. It has also exploited our freedom of privacy. Their so many ways our privacy is exploited, (1) use of internet webcams, experienced computer users can turn on any webcam of any computer online and they will have access to your private life, many celebrities have been victims of these online stalkers. A good example is Dharun Ravia former Rutgers University student who was spying on his roommate through a webcam. Read more on this story here ……. (2) use of social networks, the main concept of these networks is to connect with new and old friends then share your life with them, however, the loop hole in this , is that when ever some one access your shared life data like photos , they can like it and send it their friends who are not your friends, which might expose you to users with wrong intentions to use your data, also some companies are known for spying on their employees via these social networks.
- Copyright Infringement: Information technology has made it easy for users to access any information or artifact at any given time. With the increased development of music sharing networks and photo bookmarking sites, many original creators of these works are losing the credibility of their works, because users of IT can easily gain access and share that data with friends. Free music and file downloading sites are popping up on internet every day , lots of original work like music albums, books , are being downloaded for free. In this case one legitimate user will purchase the book , software, web template or music album, and they will submit it to a free download site where others will simply just download that data for free. It is good news for the users because it saves them money, but it harms the original creator of these works. The government has closed some of these sites like Megaupload.com, but many are popping up using funny URLs.
- Increased pressure on IT experts. Since information technology systems have to run all the time, pressure is mounted on IT experts to ensure the accuracy and availability of these systems. Many big organizations which need to operate 24 hours will require a standby IT team to cater for any issues which might arise during the course of operation. This pressure results into stress and work overload which some times results into Imperfection.
- Digital divide: Information technology has many opportunities and it has shaped many industries in developed countries; however, developing countries have difficulties of enjoying the same benefits of Information technology. To get these benefits they have to train their labor and users should also adopt the new culture which is a bit costly in these developing countries. In some remote areas they do not even have power, so information technology tools like computers can not be used. In other sectors like education, most of these developing countries have poor old education systems, so a student will not be aware of new information technologies.