Information Technology (IT) plays a central role in commerce, industry, government, education, entertainment and society at large. Its economic and social benefits hardly need explanation. But like any other technology IT also has problematic implications and some negative impacts on society. It poses and creates problems related to ethics.
Three main types of ethical issues:
(i) Intellectual property rights
(iii) Digital property rights
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
A property means a possession or more specifically, something to which the owner has legal rights. These are the rights of the owner of information to decide how much information is to be exchanged, shared or distributed. Also it gives the owner a right to decide the price for doing so.
Intellectual property is divided into two categories
This includes inventions, trademarks, industrial designs, commercial names, designations and geographic indications( location-specific brands) etc.
It includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, and architectural designs. Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of original work exclusive rights to it, usually for limited period. Copyright law protects only the form of expressions of ideas, not the ideas themselves.
Ethical issue involved with it is that information must not be exchanged without the consent of its owner. The intellectual property rights must be protected because:
It encourages individuals and businesses to create new software and new software applications, as well as improving existing applications.
It ensures new ideas and technologies are widely distributes.
It promotes investment in the national economy.
Plagiarism means copying/stealing someone else’s intellectual work and then representing it as your own work without citing the source of information. In other words, it is copying information and not giving credit for it. For example : copying programs written by other programmers and claiming them as your own could be a act of plagiarism. It involves lying, cheating, theft and dishonesty. Plagiarism can be classified as accidental/ unintentional or deliberate/intentional. The first one includes copying someone else’s work, cutting and pasting blocks of text or any kind of media from electronic source without documenting and publishing on the web without the developers or creators permission. While the second one involves paraphrasing(changing the words or sentence construction of a copied document), quoting text excessively along with poor documentation.
How to avoid plagiarism
Use your own words or ideas.
Always give credit to the source of information.
Cite the name of the website, a URL, or the name of authors and acknowledge them if you have used their work.
Taking information in the form of bulleted notes in your own words.
Use online tools to check for plagiarism.
DIGITAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
Digital property refers to any information about you or created by you that exists in digital form, either online or on an electronic storage device. For example any online personal accounts, such as email and social media account, shopping accounts, photo and video sharing account, gaming account, websites and blogs, domain names registered in your name etc are all digital properties.
Threats to Digital property:
Digital software penetration tool
There are may software penetration tools such as cracks, keygens, tools created by hackers to penetrate your software’s registration system and enable unauthorized users to freely access your software without actually paying for it.
Stealing and plagiarizing codes of your digital properties
Sometimes other developers ateal your software’s source code and use it to build their own versions of it, and then sell it under their own company names.
Digital Property Rights Protection measures
There are many anti-temper solution which use a host of sdvanced technologies to prevent hackers from hacking, reverse engineering or manipulating your digital properties.
A transparent clause must be included in software’s terms of service that prohibits the scraping of software’s source code for reuse.
Limit the sharing of software code
The software’s sourcecode should be shared with trusted individuals who are the part of development team. DRM should be used to protect software from being scraped for source code using decompilers.
DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT
It is a scheme that controls access to copyrighted material using technological means. Digital rights management (DRM) is a systematic approach to copyright protection for digital media. The purpose of DRM is to prevent unauthorized redistribution of digital media and restrict the ways consumers can copy content they’ve purchased. DRM products were developed in response to the rapid increase in online piracy of commercially marketed material. Typically DRM is implemented by embedding code that prevents copying, specifies a time period in which the content can be accessed or limits the number of devices the media can be installed on. DRM technologies makes it easier for auditors to investigate and identify leaks. Digital rights management ensures that digital work remains unaltered. Digital rights management allows authors, musicians, movie professionals, and other creators to prevent unauthorized use of their content.