The Ethical Issues with Computing

By Alex Cheesman

What are Ethical Issues?

So, you may be thinking; "what exactly ARE ethical issues?". Well, in everyday life, 'ethics' are the capacity to understand the differences between actions that are right or wrong, but very few are backed by the law as they don't tend to be very hurtful. There is often some dispute between the moral alignment of each particular action based upon those in the situation and the extensive number of variables surrounding them, but such decisions can come in the smallest of forms, including acts of kindness.

In terms of Computing, however, there are ethical issues which tend to arise between a company and their customers over the quality and functions of their products or services. For example, one of the largest concerns currently about the ethics of certain online services - and in particular websites that require you to sign up or create an account with them - is the storing of personal information including names, contact details and even financial details in some cases, and whether they are justified.

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What are some of the Ethical Issues that exist?

As mentioned previously, one of the main issues concerning the ethics of computer systems is the security of stored data and the possibility of personal details getting into the hands of a third party, whom may or may not obtain them with criminal intent. For example, one of the largest breaches of data security in history occurred in April 2011 and was aimed at the multinational company 'Sony' as the intruders managed to steal at least some personally identifiable information from every single one of their registered 'PlayStation Network' accounts that had been set up; approximately 77 million at the time.

Other offences, although much less severe and