Ethical and Social Issues in Information Systems

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Chapter 4

Ethical and Social Issues in Information Systems

After reading this chapter, you will be able to:
1. Analyze the relationships among ethical, social, and political issues that are raised by information systems. 2. Identify the main moral dimensions of an information society and specific principles for conduct that can be used to guide ethical decisions. 3. Evaluate the impact of contemporary information systems and the Internet on the protection of individual privacy and intellectual property. 4. Assess how information systems have affected everyday life.

4.1 UNDERSTANDING ETHICAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES RELATED TO SYSTEMS A Model for Thinking About Ethical, Social, and Political Issues
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public school buses. However, she also worries about the location tracking data being misused. “I don’t want anybody watching them that’s not supposed to be watching them,” she notes. Others feel the same way. Location tracking has benefits, but it also opens the door to potential invasion of privacy. Many people may not like having their physical move125


Part One Organizations, Management, and the Networked Enterprise

ments tracked so closely. Location information might help direct a tow truck to a broken-down car, but it could also be used to find out where the driver went during the lunch hour. For similar reasons, privacy advocacy groups have opposed the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags in consumer items. RFID tags are small silicon chips equipped with tiny antennas that enable them to communicate with RFID readers and track the location of items as they move. When placed on individual products, they allow companies to tell exactly when a product leaves a store or learn more about the actions of consumers buying the products. Designer Lauren Scott had planned to add radio frequency tags to the childrens’ clothing she designed to help parents keep track of their children. An RFID tag sewn into a child’s clothing could store vital medical information or track the wearer’s location to prevent children from being
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