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About this book

This engaging textbook highlights the essential need for a strong ethical framework in our approach to computer, information and engineering science. Through thought-provoking questions and case studies, the reader is challenged to consider the deeper implications arising from the use of today’s rapidly-evolving computing technologies and ever-changing communication ecosystems.

This updated second edition features new material on information security, intellectual property rights, the Internet of Things, and 5G technologies.

Topics and features: introduces a philosophical framework and tools for understanding and analyzing computer ethics in personal, public, and professional spheres; describes the impact of computer technology on issues of security, privacy, anonymity, and civil liberties; examines intellectual property rights in the context of computing, including the risks and liabilities associated with software; discusses such key social issues in computing as the digital divide, employee monitoring in the workplace, and risks to physical and mental health; reviews the history of computer crime, and the threat of digitally facilitated bullying, harassment, and discrimination; considers the ethical challenges arising from online social networks, mobile telecommunications, virtual reality, the Internet of Things, and 5G technologies; includes learning objectives, discussion questions and exercises throughout the book.

This concise and accessible work addresses the critical ethical and moral issues important to all designers and users of computer technologies. The text incorporates the latest curricula requirements for undergraduate courses in computer science, and offers invaluable insights into the social impact and legal challenges posed by the latest generation of computing devices and networks.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Morality and the Law

Abstract
This chapter defines and examines personal and public morality, identifying assumptions and values and the law, looking at both conventional and natural law, and the intertwining of morality and the law. We define morality as a system that, in addition to setting standards of virtuous conduct for people, also consists of mechanisms to self-regulate through enforcement of the moral code and self-judge through guilt, which is an internal discomfort resulting from disappointment in self-mediated conscience. Based on this definition, we discuss moral theories, moral codes, moral standards and norms and how they are used to make judgement of human actions to determine their goodness or badness. With the discussion of moral standards, we venture into concepts of guilt and conscience. We show how moral guilt is a result of self-judgement and punishment by an individual for not living up to the moral standards set for oneself or for the group. We end the chapter discussion with law noting that conventional laws of a society are anchored by the moral beliefs of that society. We look into the heated argument about this statement and observe that both morality and the legal system serve the purpose of keeping society stable and secure.
Joseph Migga Kizza

Chapter 2. Ethics and Ethical Analysis

Abstract
This chapter builds upon Chap. 2 in setting up the philosophical framework and analysis tools for discussing moral theories and problems in ethical relativism. We discusses the moral and ethical premises and their corresponding values in the changing technology arena. In particular, we give two fitting definitions of ethics; the traditional definition of ethics and the functional definition of ethics as involving a value mapping. We discuss ethical decision making as a process of making a decision which may result in one or more moral conflicts. We end the chapter with a list of codes of ethics in use by different professional organizations.
Joseph Migga Kizza

Chapter 3. Ethics and the Professions

Abstract
Examines the changing nature of the professions and how they cope with the impact of technology on their fields. An ethical framework for decision making is developed for professional and ethical responsibilities based on community values, and the law is also discussed. Social issues including harassment and discrimination are thoroughly covered. Discussed in depth are the four pillars of professionalism that include commitment, integrity, responsibility, and accountability. We focus our discussion on professional dilemmas and guilt associated with decision making showing that these dilemmas, which are quite common in the everyday activities of a professional, are caused by questioning the values attached to one’s premises as inputs to the decision being made; that one’s input values may be clouded by conflicting codes of conduct, advances in technology, and/or incomplete or misleading information. We end the chapter with an in-depth discussion of professionalism and ethical responsibilities focusing on whistle-blowing, harassment, and discrimination.
Joseph Migga Kizza

Chapter 4. Anonymity, Security, Privacy, and Civil Liberties

Abstract
This chapter surveys the traditional ethical and privacy issues including security, anonymity and the analysis of how these issues are influenced by computer technology. This dialog also looks at privacy and the protection of civil rights. But in the absence of and agreed upon set of civil liberties by scholars, the discussion focuses on the following four accepted categories: (i) criminal justice that includes police powers, personal liberty, and the right to a fair trial; (ii) basic freedoms of speech, assembly, association, movement, and no discrimination; (iii) freedom of information; and (iv) communications and privacy. With the rapid advances in computer technology, and in particular the advent of the Internet mobile telecommunication technologies, the reader is challenged and brought into the discussion of finding ways, best practices, and in some cases protocols and frameworks to protect these civil liberties. The chapter ends with a challenge to the reader to find a fitting ethical framework to protect us and our ethical and social values against the avalanche of these technologies. What should be included in it? Is there a need for a legal framework also? The reader is prompted!
Joseph Migga Kizza

Chapter 5. Intellectual Property Rights and Computer Technology

Abstract
This chapter discusses the foundations of intellectual property rights and how computer technology has influenced and changed the traditional issues of property rights. The reader is immersed into a discussion of controversial issues of ownership in a rapidly amalgamating global cultures, languages, beliefs and values as a result of rapid globalization technologies like telecommunication that is casting a far and wide net that is likely, in the near future, to create one global commons. The controversial issues focused on here include the politics and psychology of ownership and the changing infringement landscape. Another issue of interest in our focus is the intellectual property crime (IPC), activities that involve infringement, counterfeiting, piracy of products and services for profit without permission from the creator, misappropriation, misrepresentation, corruption and bribery, and espionage.
Joseph Migga Kizza

Chapter 6. Social Context of Computing

Abstract
This chapter considers social issues in computing including the digital divide, workplace issues like employee monitoring, health risks due to computer use, and how these issues are changing with the changing computer technology. The chapter also covers a detailed discussion on a number of obstacles to overcoming the digital divide through digital inclusion within countries and globally. On workplace issues, the discussion focuses on the best practices to deal with the changing workplace issues resulting from the growing army of home-based workers and measuring employee productivity.
Joseph Migga Kizza

Chapter 7. Software Issues: Risks and Liabilities

Abstract
We focus on the issues that arise out of the relationship between the developer and the buyer, including claims, user expectations, and the legal ramifications that may follow an unhealthy relationship. The discussion touches on standards, reliability, security, safety, quality of software, quality of service of software products, causes of software failures, developer and buyer protection, and techniques for improving software quality. Causes of software failures or poor performance of a software product are discussed attributing the causes to a variety of reasons but most notably human error, the nature of software itself, and the environment in which software is produced and used. Finally, historic examples of software caused accidents are given including the Therac-25, the Space Shuttle Challenger, the Indian Bhopal chemical accident, and the Chernobyl nuclear power accident. Both consumer protection and techniques for improving software quality are also discussed.
Joseph Migga Kizza

Chapter 8. Computer Crimes

Abstract
Computer Crimes survey the history and examples of computer crimes, their types, costs to society, and strategies of detection and prevention. In the discussion, it is noted that a great number of computer attacks fall into two categories: penetration and denial-of-service attacks. And these are discussed in depth. Attack motives are also discussed. Are nations, businesses, and individuals prepared for computer attacks? Are they ready to pay the price? We look for answers to these questions as we ponder the costs and consequences of computer crimes. We note also that although it is difficult to estimate the actual costs of e-attacks on physical system resources, progress is being made for better and more accurate estimates. An in-depth discussion of the social and ethical consequences that include psychological effects, moral decay, loss of privacy, and loss of trust follows. We end the chapter with recommendations for educating the computing device users in computer ethics. The need to educate the user to be aware of possible sources of computer crimes and what to do if and when one becomes a victim of these crimes is stressed. It is noted that education can go a long way in reducing computer crimes if the users take crime preventive steps every time they use the computer and computer-related technologies.
Joseph Migga Kizza

Chapter 9. Cyberbullying

Abstract
Cyberbullying discusses the growing threat and effects of repeated and deliberate harm or harassment of other people by using electronic technology that may include devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites. In particular, a thorough discussion of the following critical topics in cyberbullying is given:
  • The differences between cyberbullying, cyberstalking and electronic harassment
  • Types of cyberbullying
  • Current legislation against cyberbullying
  • Effects of cyberbullying
  • Cyberbullying in the work place, and
  • Dealing with cyberbullying
Joseph Migga Kizza

Chapter 10. Evolving Realities: Ethical and Secure Computing in the New Technological Spaces

Artificial Intelligence, Virtualization, and Cyberspace
Abstract
Artificial Intelligence discusses the new frontiers of ethics in the new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, virtualization and virtual reality, and cyberspace. The chapter explores how these new frontiers are affecting the traditional ethical and social values. Our discussion is on based on the premise that artificial intelligence technologies create possibilities to understand and extend human knowledge to create intelligent agents perhaps with a human value base, intended to help solve human problems. We further look at virtualization and virtual reality technologies and how they inform our behavior based on our traditional moral and ethical values through the mediation of interaction through with electronic media. Our discussion of the social and ethical implications and consequences of virtualization is centered on two issues. One is that the anticipated benefit to society of virtualization as it extends known and relatively managed humanity’s social spheres and social networks in an unprecedented way through opening up of virtual domains of social interactions. The second benefit of virtualization to society is to avail tools and make it possible for those in society who want to create new virtual social networks out of the old and dismantle old ones. Finally, we discuss a global mesh of interconnected computer networks, commonly referred to as cyberspace, which makes it possible for anyone using a point-of-entry device like a computer, smartphone, or any other Internet-enabled electronic device to reach anyone else, with the potential to access the mesh, through a one-on-one, one-to-many, and many-to-one communication capabilities or through broadcasting via the World Wide Web. Cyberspace, because of immerse and telepresence capabilities and global reach, creates a potentially dangerous environment where one can do anything with no elegance, no accountability, and no to limited.
Joseph Migga Kizza

Chapter 11. Ethical, Privacy, and Security Issues in the Online Social Network Ecosystems

Abstract
This chapter discusses the new realities of global computer online social network ecosystems, including moral and ethical dynamisms. Because we believe that a sound and details discuss of online social networks is based on a good understanding of the underlying network infrastructure, we start the chapter with a brief discussion of the computer network infrastructure. Based on this communication infrastructure we define a social network and its subset, the online social network. We discuss the types of social networks, their historical development and the different and changing services of online social networks. After discussing the basics of online social networks, we them focus on ethical, social and privacy issues in the online social network noting that while online, we inevitably give off our information to whomever asks for it in order to get services. We note that routinely information collected from online community members, however, is not always used as intended. It is quite often used for unauthorized purposes, hence an invasion of privacy. We discuss known ways we give off vital personal information while online in social networks. We further discuss ways to protect personal privacy. On the central point of ethical implications of life in the social network, we note that unlike in the traditional network, governance is not centralized, but community based with equally shared authority and responsibility by all users. But the mechanisms are not yet defined, and where they are being defined, it is still too early to say whether they are effective. The complexity, unpredictability, and lack of central authority is further enhanced by a virtual personality, anonymity and multiple personality. These three characteristics are at the core of the social and ethical problems in online social networks in particular and cyberspace in general; the larger and more numerous these communities become, the more urgent the ethical concerns become.
Joseph Migga Kizza

Chapter 12. Evolving Cyberspace: The Marriage of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) Technologies

Abstract
Recent technological developments have seen the emergence of two new technologies with the potential to drastically change the way we have viewed and used cyberspace. With the phenomenal development and growth of the fifth generation (5G), a technology that is greatly increasing the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks, and the Internet of Things (IoT), a technology that allowed a high degree of network connectivity where any connected device can talk to each other by sending and receiving data, a new dawn in a remarkable cyberspace was born. Noting that wireless networks are a core component of cyberspace, 5G technology inevitably becomes a fundamental outlier of cyberspace. Also noting that wireless devices form the bulk of the outliers of cyberspace; hence, the many devices that form the Internet of things (IoT), a new marriage between 5G and IoT was inevitable. The resulting environment is the new frontier of cyberspace wherein miniature devices including bread toasters are talking smartphones as the house fridge talks to the garage door opener. It is a wild west and a social, ethical, and security quagmire. All this mayhem is a result of our total dependence on technology, now creeping ever closer into our living and bedrooms. The home front, as the last frontier of defenses, is now the security war front, brought home by the 5G and IoT technologies. In this chapter, we are going to explore these technologies, highlight the problematic issues, comment on the ethical implications, and outline the latest security tools and best practices.
Joseph Migga Kizza
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