Ethics on the Web
Ethics would seem to be the last topic to be covered in a technical
discussion of the Internet. But, as with any democratic society, the
Internet depends on agreed-upon rules of behavior to survive.
As the computer era evolves each day, our society is gradually forming
into a gigantic chain through the increasing use of the Internet.
Human beings interact with each other every day by using the Net.
Just as ethics evolve as human societies grow and change, so
similar ethical questions are raised during the evolution of this
global electronic community.
How can ethics be defined? They are our moral code. Ethics describe
how we determine what is good and right from what is bad and wrong.
They are somewhat abstract yet definitely the art of the human race. They
distinguish us from other creatures in nature.
As electronic communication becomes essential to the daily lives of
more and more people, ethical questions take on a practical
urgency. For sometimes the hacker can kill.
According to Britain's Scotland Yard, someone broke into the weather
computer network, interrupting the weather forecast for the English
Channel. In this case, this unauthorized entry led directly to the
loss of a ship at sea. (John Markoff. The New York Times,
Vol. CXLI II, page E7, October 24,1993. Cited on:15).
Some examples of unethical and criminal behavior:
and credit for intellectual property.
You and people you know may already have experienced the results of
unethical computer behavior. The professor of this class was recently
the victim of a thief who used her credit card number for a
telephone shopping spree. Luckily, some companies acknowledge such
purchases by mail, and my professsor was able to take action right away.
She suspects that the thief may have obtained the card number through
Intercepting private e-mail.
Display of pornographical material.
Deliberate public misinformation.
Misuse of research material.
Improper commercial/personal use of network.
Stealing credit information.
Surely, we should adopt a more serious attitude toward the ethical
issues raised as our computer techonology progresses. How can we refine
the art of ethics? It depends on how much we want to respect one
other on the Net. And how much we want to take it seriously.
The Ten Commandments from the Computer Ethics Institute:
Ethical, Legal, and Security
Ethics in Cyberspace
Legal and Ethical Internet Resources
Internet Ethics and Etiquette
Ethical WEB agents
Ethical Sites on the WEB
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This page was designed and developed in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for Baruch College, Graduate Course "Networks and
Telecommunications" -- CIS 9350. The information provided in these
pages is accurate and up to date (as of December 1995) to the best
of our knowledge and abilities. The page was designed and created
for educational purposes only. Any opinions represented on this
page are from the students' perspective as they researched the
opinions of the faculty or the Baruch College School of Business.
Security Project Members.
Please send comments about this page to Stephanie Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified 16 Dec 95