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Ethical Ussies Related To Privacy And ICT

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1.0 Introduction

The internet is unregulated and uncensored hence anybody who has an e-mail address is able to distribute information widely and rapidly and the evaluation of the web page material/content distributed is questionable. The responsibility for the accuracy of the web page information rest with the creator but this obligation has often been breached and has resulted in many socially unethical issues hence in the recent years this issues have become very important as related to research and technology.

2.0 Research question

The European Union parliament decision states that research activities supported by the framework programs should respect the fundamental ethical principles [Computer and Information Technology for HKCEE (Core Module)]. This presentation therefore discusses the ethical issues related to privacy and ICT.

3.0 Personal information

Chrisanthi Avgerou explains in her book referred to as ‚ÄúThe Perspectives and Policies on ICT in Society‚ÄĚ (Computers and Society Handbook) that companies should be committed to protect personal information under their control in accordance with the Personal Information and Electronics Document Act (PIPEDA) and adhere to the privacy principles. She is the professor of Information Systems in London School of Economics and Political Science. She is a British scholar in the field of Social Study of Information Systems and she focused on the Information Systems in the developing countries.

Her work focuses on the personal information that are collected by companies in order to administer their promotions and other activities and she says that they may obtain information directly from individuals, rebate/claim forms, surveys, registration and via online entry forms. Also they obtain it whenever one submits information/entry to a contest or game or a response to a survey question/questionnaire, companies collect the information that one volunteers. The kind of information collected may include date of birth, address, telephone number, email address, names etc as she claims in her book.

This author says that the personal information that is collected may be utilized by companies to contact selected entrants and to fulfill the promotional sponsor’s obligations but she stresses that they should be in accordance with the promotion regulations and rules and that they may also use them to award prizes and fulfill the rebates offered by their surveys, games or contests.

3.1 Safeguard of privacy

She concludes by saying that the privacy of customer’s personal information should be safeguarded regarding the online promotions and they should institute variety of precautions to prevent unauthorized access to the information and should be stored on secure networks and be accessed by limited responsible persons who are expressly authorized by company. Actually it’s ethical for organizations to handle individuals’ information with confidentiality and should not use the information for other unprescribed purposes in the privacy policy statement and this is applicable to all information including those from telephone, mails etc. The companies should also avoid the use of cookies and should not accept third party advertising on their web sites.

4.0 Non-personal information

 Avgerou on the other hand argued that companies may also collect certain information about ones computer hardware and software when one visits their sites and this information may include browser type, type of operating system, access times, IP Address and web site addresses. She gave the definition of cookies that they are small files that are placed on ones hard disk /drive that assist one in site traffic monitoring and she said that these cookies should not be linked to any personally identifiable information. She cautions managers that information should only be used to maintain and improve the quality of the sites and to provide general statistics that regard the use of company web sites.

She continues to elaborate that the length of time that a company retains ones personal information varies and that it depends on the promotion in relation to which the personal information was collected and also the nature of the information. She says that this length of time may extend beyond the end of the relationship but should be legally sufficient to respond to any arising issues and they should develop procedures to delete, erase, destroy or convert it to anonymous forms.

4.1 Privacy principles

There are ten privacy principles that companies need to comply with and they include:

-Accountability-the company should be responsible for the information under their control and should designate a privacy coordinator accountable for the compliance with the PIPEDA principles.

-Purpose identification- the company should identify the purposes for which personal information is collected before the information is obtained. The individuals’ consent and knowledge is needed for the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information except whenever required by law.

-Limiting collection- the personal information should be limited only to that which the company needs for the identified purposes.

-disclosure/retention- the information should not be used/disclosed for purposes other than those purposes it was collected for unless an individual’s consent is sought or permitted by law and the information should be retained as long as it’s necessary for the purpose fulfillment.

-Accuracy- the personal information should be complete, accurate, and updated to be able to fulfill the purposes for which it was collected.

-Safeguards-the companies should make arrangements to safeguard the personal information and be protected by the security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information.

-Openness- the company should make it readily available to the person’s specific information about its practices and policies that relate to the management of the personal information under their control.

-The individual access- the company should inform individuals of their existence, use, and disclosure of their personal information upon their request and should be given access to the same information and he/she may challenge the completeness and accuracy of the information and may have them amended appropriately.

-Challenging compliance- the companies should allow individuals address their challenge that concern compliance with the above principles to the designated individuals accountable for the company’s compliance.

  1. 0 Intellectual property rights

5.1 Copyrights

            Dr. Knezek, being an Associate Professor of Technology and also holds the Matthews Chair of Research in Education at the University of North Texas and was a Fulbright Scholar at Tokyo Technology Institute and The Japan’s National Center for University Entrance Examinations in the 1993 to 1994 and having received  a B.A in Mathematics  and Social Sciences from Dartmouth College and his PH.D in University of Hawaii, he has been able to conduct extensive research on the intellectual property rights (IPRs) and he defines them as the rights in which inventors are entitled to for their work like in artistic work, writing etc.

He assessed that the authors/ publishers are worrying about their work in the internet that they may lose their incomes as other people may sell them without their knowledge/consent and he discovered that, the information users and the technical experts favor this free access of these materials in the internet hence he reiterates that intellectual property rights have become significant for those seeking to protect their properties by registering them to maximize their security. The professor explains that the patents on the other hand refer to the rights that have been granted by the government to legal entities like corporations and partnerships or individuals to exclude other entities from selling an invention for a specified period hence he says that these would protect the property of inventors. The proprietary right on the other hand is the information that is protectable property owned by an entity or a corporation according to description in his book.

He goes ahead to explain that the copyright policies should be adhered to whenever rights are reserved hence the images, graphics, texts, sound files, video files, animation files, and the web site arrangements should all be subjected to copyright and other intellectual property protection. The materials that are displayed on web sites may be downloaded for personal and non-commercial purposes only provided that the proprietary notices and copyright materials are not removed.

5.2 Trademarks

 He warns that the web contents of an individual should not be modified, distributed, reported or transmitted for commercial reasons without the express written permission of the owner company and that all the trademarks displayed on the company internet site should be subjected to trademark rights including the corporate logos and emblems hence he says one should not construe as granting license/right to use any trademark/intellectual property of the company as displayed on the website. The computer programs therefore should also be protected on the same basis and the copyrighted owners alone should sell, reproduce and distribute the copyrighted software to be able to earn them the income they deserve.

6.0 Software licensing

As far as software licensing is concerned, Dr. Knezek says that it should be adhered to as they define the ways in which users should perform activities through computers offered by the software publishers whenever one purchases a copyrighted software hence one may obtain a single- user license that limits an individual to only use the software in one machine at a time since its illegal to allow several users to use single-user version soft wares [Interstitial Cystitis Network ICN].

  1. 0 Unauthorized access

The unauthorized access to web sites is common hence there is need to increase security to prevent illegal access to computers and this has been aggravated by the increased use of broadband internet access by companies to permanently connect to the internet. There is a lot of hacking and cracking where hackers gain unauthorized access to data held in a computer system. It may occur as a result of political or social activisms where the criminal hackers are known as crackers [Cyber Snoop]. Some common types of hacking include:

-stealing valuable information like credit card data and passwords.

-damaging/defacing internet web sites.

-launch of service denials attack on networks/sites.

-bypassing of passwords etc.

             The companies should protect computers from unauthorized access to avoid falling victim which may be very costly by the use of strategies like:

-learning to use encryption and passwords correctly.

-checking for spy-wares on computer systems.

-use tests and firewalls regularly

-use anti-virus software, download and install updates regularly etc.

8.0  Indecent and deceitful materials

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Christopher Lee is the of research department in the university of Victoria where he has been able to perform lots of research as regards internet and its safety and he argues that the internet allow young people and children to access indecent materials he suggests that filtering software should be installed to screen out unsuitable/indecent materials. He asserts that parental guidance is important to protect children from indecent internet materials and that governments should also regulate obscene materials circulated/published via internet according to the ‚ÄúControl of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance‚ÄĚ [Family connect]. He goes a head to explain that untrue and deceitful remarks/materials/statements are mostly common in the internet made with the intention to deceive/fool other people and that they are also offensive hence the public should be responsible to educate young people to safeguard their interest.

  1. 0 Spam

            Lee describes the spam in the web site/internet as referring to the newsgroup/junk emails posting that advertises commercial services and goods and is forwarded/ redistributed in form of chain letters and can be very convincing. He says that spasm occupy space and utilize a lot of bandwidth and therefore it’s a nuisant to users and wastes time to check and delete hence he advices firms to fight spam using various techniques like spam filtering tools that would permit users to block actions of unwanted mails and suggests that they may use the mailshield, spamagent, spamwasel and the mail washer [Internet filter].

10.0 Conclusion

All the above researchers and professors agree that the countries should develop ordinances to prohibit the unauthorized duplication/ copying and the illegal use of the computer programs and that the companies on the other hand should register to protect their copyrights of their software manuals, programs, and related literature/book. ‚ÄúThis ordinance should create penalties for the unauthorized use of the protected materials and countries should become signatories of the Berne and Universal copyright conventions for their ordinance to have international impacts‚ÄĚ, Professor Lee advices.

References and bibliographies

Adams, Paul and Christopher Lee* (2003) Frank Hardy and the Literature of Commitment. The Vulgar Press, Carlton.

Computer and Information Technology for HKCEE (Core Module) ‚Äď Digital Vision Education Publishing, (2003).¬†

Cyber Snoop. Retrieved on 28th march 2009 from http://www.pearlsw.com 

Internet filter: Retrieved on 28th march 2009 from http://www.turnercom.com/if/press/.html

Interstitial Cystitis Network (ICN):  Retrieved on 28th march 2009 from


  1. Berleur, Chrisanthi Avgerou. (2005). Perspectives and Policies on ICT in Society: Computers and Society Handbook. Springer
  1. Berleur, Markku I. Numinem, John Impagliazzo. (2006). Social Science-Ethical Issues and Privacy. 

Joke M. Voogt, Gerald Knezek. (2008). Social, Legal, Ethical issues, Privacy, Security and Online Safety related to use.

Family connect: Retrieved on 28th march 2009 from http://www.familyconnect.com

Tom J. Van Weert, Robert K. Munro. (2002). ICT- Related Topics, Computer Crimes, The Accountability and Liability 

The charter of fundamental rights of the European Union: Retrieved on 28th march 2009 from http://www.europaarl.europa.e/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf 

X-stop:  Retrieved on 28th march 2009 from http://www.xstop.com

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