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Fair Information Practice Principles

After the fall of the communist government in East Germany, people examined the files of Stasi, the secret police. They found that the government had used spies and informers to build detailed dossiers on the opinions and activities of roughly six million people, a third of the population. The informers were neighbors, coworkers, friends and even family members of the people they reported on. The paper files as estimated 125 miles of shelf space. Computers were not used at all. (Jackson, 1992, pp. 32-33) Computers are not necessary for the invasion of privacy.

However, we discuss privacy because the use of computers has made new threats possible and old threats more potent. Computer technology has had a profound impact on what information is collected about us (sometimes without our permission or knowledge), who has access to it, and how they use it. Computer technology allows search and surveillance of huge numbers of people, often without our knowledge. Privacy is probably the “computer issue” that worries people most. There are three key aspects of privacy, a. freedom from intrusion – being left alone, b. Control of information about oneself, c.

Freedom from surveillance (from being followed , watched, and eavesdropped upon). (Baase, 2003, pp. 36). In this research, we will go and understand information technology ethics, the implication of ethical issues for people and practices in information technology and how they can be resolved. What is privacy? In the Internet age, the definition of privacy provided by Alan Westin in Privacy and Freedom seems most fitting: “…the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent information about them is communicated to others.

” Whereas privacy issues used to apply to what Chief Justice Brandeis called “the right to be left alone,” Lumeria believes that privacy is not about hiding from others, but rather about controlling the flow of your personal data. [1] Widespread Concerns about Privacy In the marketplace, companies have routinely had access to better information and better resources which has generally been leveraged against the individual. However, until the last 50 years, the economy was based on manufacturing and so information was an influential factor, but not a product, in and of itself.

Consequently, information gathering was a peripheral activity. Times have changed. The explosion of the Internet demonstrates the power and value of information (which has garnered center stage) and has led to frequent abuses of privacy including corporate espionage, reconnaissance, and counterintelligence missions of consumers, competitors, and suppliers. As the value of information continues to increase, these abuses will remain unabated and consumers will be increasingly hostile to information requests time.

[1] http://www. ftc. gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/. This website is a one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. It provides detailed information to help you deter, detect, and defend against identity theft. Why Do Companies Violate Privacy? A profit driven company will only pursue activities in which the net benefit is positive. Consequently, despite the privacy backlash against companies, there is obviously a positive return from the acquisition of personal data for direct marketing.

In fact, this process is simply driven by the desire to screen out unlikely candidates from a marketing message. This innocuous objective would seem likely to be greeted with enthusiasm from consumers. Unfortunately, the theory is not as pure as the execution. First, even a highly targeted direct marketing piece will only receive a 25-30 percent success rate, i. e. two out of three individuals are still receiving an unwanted advertisement. Secondly, individuals are more concerned with how a marketer attained their personal data rather than the fact that it has been attained.

This is the breach of privacy: the individual has no knowledge or control of this flow of data. He cannot access the information, he cannot change the information, and he cannot delete the information — even if he would like to correct inaccurate information to help the advertiser screen him out! Many times, a company’s acquisition of personal data is not initially perceived to be a violation of privacy. Consumers routinely provide information to companies with the expectation of receiving personalized services or shopping discounts.

In fact, this personalized, one-to-one marketing is one of the most attractive promises held out by Internet technologies. However, the data’s inherent value creates a seductive temptation to abuse the consumer’s trust and utilize the data for other purposes (which GeoCities allegedly did). Self-regulatory Initiatives Self-regulatory proposals, such as TRUSTe and BBBOnLine, attempt to muzzle this temptation. However, the responsibility for privacy assurances sits in the hands of each Web site – designating the proverbial fox to guard the hen house.

As Fred Davis, CEO of Lumeria puts it, “In the morning, the hens have disappeared, there’s blood and feathers everywhere, and the foxes blithely state that the alarms didn’t go off so there must not be a problem. ” The Federal Trade Commission, the European Union, and the entire privacy community have noted that these systems offer minimal recourse beyond the Web site owner. The underlying problem is that a company’s privacy policy is not legally binding. (In fact, some privacy advocates suggest that privacy policies are legal disclaimers!

) Consequently, neither the government nor any other third party entity can step in to assist the individual. Moreover, even the self-regulatory organizations have demonstrated their impotence. For example, after the recent discovery that Microsoft software could track every document a user creates, TRUSTe (which receives considerable funding from Microsoft) concluded that the breach of privacy was not web site related and therefore Microsoft did not violate the terms of its license with TRUSTe. [1] The FTC deals with issues that touch the economic life of every American.

It is the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy. The FTC pursues vigorous and effective law enforcement; advances consumers’ interests by sharing its expertise with federal and state legislatures and U. S. and international government agencies; develops policy and research tools through hearings, workshops, and conferences; and creates practical and plain-language educational programs for consumers and businesses in a global marketplace with constantly changing technologies. [2]

DevX provides the international developer community with the most comprehensive information available on software development for corporate applications. Our network consists of sites that are leaders in their respective vertical markets, such as Windows and Web development, . NET, Java, XML, C/C++, Visual Basic, Database, Wireless, and Open Source. Featured sections include: a. 50 new technical articles each month from leading experts, plus an archive of thousands more, b. Over 60,000 discrete source code files through the DevX Sourcebank directory, c.

18 discussion groups with over 100,000 discussion threads, d. 30 targeted newsletters providing up-to-date news, views and tips e. Thousands of concise programming tips and quick solutions, f. Downloadable software and tools from leading software publishers [3] How can a consumer protect their information? The widespread availability of computers and connections to the Internet provides everyone with 24/7 access to information, credit and financial services, and shopping. The Internet is also an incredible tool for educators and students to communicate and learn.

NCL provides government, businesses, and other organizations with the consumer’s perspective on concerns including child labor, privacy, food safety, and medication information. [4] The National Cyber Security Alliance’s Top Eight Cyber Security Practices are practical steps you can take to stay safe online and avoid becoming a victim of fraud, identity theft, or cyber crime. 1. Protect your personal information. It’s valuable. If you think no one would be interested in your personal information, think again. The reality is that anyone can be a victim of identity theft.

In fact, according to a Federal Trade Commission survey, there are almost 10 million victims every year. It’s often difficult to know how thieves obtained their victims’ personal information, and while it definitely can happen offline, some cases start when online data is stolen. Unfortunately, when it comes to crimes like identity theft, you can’t entirely control whether you will become a victim. But following these tips can help minimize your risk while you’re online: If you’re asked for your personal information – learn how it’s going to be used, and how it will be protected, before you share it.

Don’t open unsolicited or unknown email messages. If you do get an email or pop-up message asking for personal information, don’t reply or click on the link in the message. If you are shopping online, be careful about providing your personal or financial information through a company’s website without taking measures to reduce the risk. Read website privacy policies. They should explain what personal information the website collects, how the information is used, and whether it is provided to third parties. 2. Know who you’re dealing with online.

And know what you’re getting into. There are dishonest people in the bricks and mortar world and on the Internet. But online, you can’t judge an operator’s trustworthiness with a gut-affirming look in the eye. It’s remarkably simple for online scammers to impersonate a legitimate business, so you need to know whom you’re dealing with. If you’re shopping online, check out the seller before you buy. A legitimate business or individual seller should give you a physical address and a working telephone number at which they can be contacted in case you have problems. 3.

Use anti-virus software, a firewall, and anti-spy ware software to help keep your Computer safe and secure. Dealing with anti-virus and firewall protection may sound about as exciting as flossing your teeth, but it’s just as important as a preventive measure. Having intense dental treatment is never fun; neither is dealing with the effects of a preventable computer virus. 4. Set up your operating system and Web browser software properly, and update them regularly. Your operating system also may offer free software patches that close holes in the system that hackers could exploit.

In fact, some common operating systems can be set to automatically retrieve and install patches for you. If your system does not do this, bookmark the website for your system’s manufacturer so you can regularly visit and update your system with defenses against the latest attacks. Updating can be as simple as one click. Your email software may help you avoid viruses by giving you the ability to filter certain types of spam. It’s up to you to activate the filter. In addition, consider using operating systems that allow automatic updates. 5.

Use strong passwords or strong authentication technology to help protect your personal information. Keep your passwords in a secure place, and out of plain view. Don’t share your passwords on the Internet, over email, or on the phone. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) should never ask for your password. 6. Back up important files. No system is completely secure. If you have important files stored on your computer, copy them onto a removable disc, and store them in a secure place in a different building than your computer. If a different location isn’t practical, consider encryption software.

Encryption software scrambles a message or a file in a way that can be reversed only with a specific password. Also, make sure you keep your original software start-up disks handy and accessible for use in the event of a system crash. 7. Learn what to do if something goes wrong. Unfortunately, there is no particular way to identify that your computer has been infected with malicious code. Some infections may completely destroy files and shut down your computer, while others may only subtly affect your computer’s normal operations. Be aware of any unusual or unexpected behaviors.

8. Protect your children online. Children present unique security risks when they use a computer – not only do you have to keep them safe, but you have to protect their data on your computer. By taking some simple steps, you can dramatically reduce the threats. Keep your computer in a central and open location in your home and be aware of other computers your child may be using. Use the Internet with your children. Familiarize yourself with your children’s online activities and maintain a dialogue with your child about what applications they are using.

Implement parental control tools that are provided by some ISPs and available for purchase as separate software packages. Remember – No program is a substitute for parental supervision. Consider software that allows you to monitor your children’s email and web traffic. Know who your children’s online friends are and supervise their chat areas. Teach your children never to give out personal information to people they meet online such as in chat rooms or bulletin boards. Know who to contact if you believe your child is in danger.

Visit www. getnetwise. org for detailed information. If you know of a child in immediate risk or danger, call law enforcement immediately. Please report instances of online child exploitation to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cyber Tip line. Even though children may have better technical skills, don’t be intimidated by their knowledge. [5] For over 35 years, the Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) has been a trusted one-stop source for answers to questions about consumer problems and government services.

Consumers can get the information they need in three ways: by calling toll-free 1 (800) FED-INFO, through printed publications, or through information posted on FCIC’s family of websites. [6] What is Opt-Out? “Opt-out” means that you tell a company that you don’t want them to use your information for certain purposes or sell it to others. Typically, when you opt-out, your are not actually taken off of a list but added to a list of people that do not want their personal information shared with other companies or who do not want to receive telemarketing calls or direct mail.

[7] Steps to Opt-Out 1) In the “Generate Opt-Out Forms” section – We have taken many of the companies that do not allow you to opt-out online and created a system so that you can: a) generate a group of letters, b) print them out individually, c) fill in the particularly sensitive information, and d) mail them in to the proper address (sorry, but you’ll have to provide your own postage). 2) In the “Opt Out Online” section – We have set up links to the companies that do allow you to opt-out online.

We place these links within frames so that you can simply fill out each opt-out form and then move on to the next one. 3) In the “Featured” section – We focus on specific information practices or types of online companies. So far, we have highlighted portals and online profilers. We will periodically add new categories. Alerts on new features will be e-mailed to the CDT activist list, so sign-up if you want to be notified of the latest steps you can take to protect your privacy. [7] How long Opt-Out lasts?

Some opt-outs are permanent, but sometimes your opt-out is valid for a limited amount of time (for example, when you add your name to the Direct Marketing Associations’ op-out lists for telemarketing and direct mail it lasts for five years). Where to go to Opt-out? On the http://opt-out. cdt. org website there is a list of companies that offer the ability to Opt-Out online. Although many of these companies still do not give users ultimate control over their information, they are all ahead of most of their competitors. [7] Conclusion Ethical decision- making is theorized to be affected by several factors.

The proposed model suggest that ethical decisions are influenced by religious values or beliefs, societal or cultural values, personal values, normative beliefs, awareness of the consequences of behavior and the environments within which we live and work – personal, professionals, legal, and business. The purpose of this research was to determine whether factors can be identified which influence the assessment of behavior as ethical or unethical. Based on the result of this research, factors which influence the ethical decision can be identified.

The factors that influence our judgment of ethical or unethical behavior vary y case. In a practical sense, this only provides a starting point for understanding what influences people’s ethical decision making. This research assist management in understanding what the influential factors are and which of these managers could use to guide employees and reduce the misuse of computer technology. With training programs, management examples, the formulation of codes of conduct, and the enforcement of company policies and rules, companies may be able to deter some computer misuse.

(Salehnia, 2002, p. 52) Notes [1] Lumeria Whitepapers, (2001). An Informediary Approach to the Privacy Problem. Retrieved from http://www. lumeria. com/whitepaper. shtml viewed 22 May 2008 [2] http://www. ftc. gov/reports/privacy3 viewed 22 May 2008 [3] http://www. devx. com/opinion/ viewed 22 May 2008 [4] Http://www. nclnet. org/technology/social_networking. htm viewed 22 May 2008 [5] http://www. staysafeonline. org viewed 22 May 2008 [6] http://www. pueblo. gsa. gov/ viewed 22 May 2008 [7] http://opt-out. cdt. org/ viewed 22 May 2008

References Baase, S. (2003), A Gift of fire: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computers and the Internet 2nd edition, Philippine edition, Pearson Education South Asia PTE LTD. pp. 36 Baird, R. M. , Ramsower, R. & Rosenbaum S. , Cyberethics, Social and Moral issues in the Computer Age ISBN # 157392790-2. http://www. ftc. gov/reports/privacy3 viewed 22 May 2008 http://www. staysafeonline. org viewed 22 May 2008 http://www. pueblo. gsa. gov/ viewed 22 May 2008 http://www. ftc. gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/ viewed 22 May 2008

Http://www. nclnet. org/technology/social_networking. htm viewed 22 May 2008 http://www. devx. com/opinion/ viewed 22 May 2008 http://opt-out. cdt. org/ viewed 22 May 2008 Jackson, J. O. (1992 February 3), “Fear and Betrayal in the Stasi State,” Time, pp. 32-33 Lumeria Whitepapers, (2001). An Informediary Approach to the Privacy Problem. Retrieved from http://www. lumeria. com/whitepaper. shtml viewed 22 May 2008 Salehnia, A. (2002), Ethical Issues of Information System, United State of America, IRM Press, p. 52

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