Information technology has been continuously booming with new technological products that create a more diverse information environment. There have been dramatic changes associated with the IT, and these changes create ethical problems and upheavals that usually have something to do with ethics. True, there has been technological development in the arena—one that occurs “when either the technological paradigm is elaborated in terms of improved concepts, theories, and methods, or in instances of the paradigm are improved” (Moor, 2008, p.
27), such as in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and safety. This creates an enormous social impact, and it has led to a technological revolution that considerably takes time and is difficult to predict. Information technology has gone over the introduction stage and the permeation stage. We are on the power stage wherein the technology is readily available, affecting people directly and indirectly. This creates an impact that is superbly enormous; yet, there are always the ethical problems that springs forth in the arena.
Ethical problems that surround the self-identity, anonymity, and privacy of a person are always attached when it comes to IT. The technological revolution has a large-scale effect that transforms the society, while affecting the manner in which the society functions (Moor, 2008, p. 29). It is evident that open technological revolutions in open societies still need some enhancements, so that the ethical problems would be controlled and maximized. Main Body There are a number of important issues that surround the technological paradigm of IT, especially in relation to ethics.
Some of these are in the form of self-identity, anonymity, as well as privacy. There are also other unethical issues (e. g. , cheating, hacking, wardriving) that are attached to the technological paradigm of IT. Ethical problems in self-identity The self-identity is being constructed according to how the individual interacts with the society and with himself or herself. In the social landscape of modernity, there are numerous major changes in the external social environment that affects the individual during this social transformation.
In the age of the IT, people get to have the capacity to reconstruct the universe through the everyday realities and circumstances that take place in their specific worlds. It is a continuous state of affairs that largely creates the self-identity and the personal feelings attached to this paradigm. This new sense of identity are being formed with the intrusion of the IT in a person’s life, and people get to have personal relationship even with people who are unknown to them—people who suddenly pop out in their computer’s screens, with names that may or may not be factual.
Personal relationships help form the self-identity, offering opportunities for self-expression and the self-renewal. According to Giddens (1991), The modern world is a ‘runaway world’: not only is the pace of social change much faster than in any prior system, so also is its scope, and the profoundness with which it affects pre-existing social practices and modes of behavior. (Giddens, 1991, p. 16) With this, it is apparent that the IT becomes an active component in the continuous transformation of a person’s identity, as it creates and affects the social practices and the modes of a person’s behavior.
Thus, problems that affect the personal life of the individual could affect not only the self-identity, but the social practices and the environment as a whole. Ethical problems in terms of anonymity and privacy, for example, can lead to an identity that is blemished because of unethical conduct. Despite the fact that people always carry discursive interpretations of their behavior, this practical consciousness drives the person into creating or destroying the ontological security of human activity in a culture. As an effect, people tend to write comments anonymously while hiding their true identities.
Ethical problems in anonymity According to the article that Richard Perez-Pena (2010) wrote entitled ‘News Sites Rethink Anonymous Online Comments’, it says that Internet users usually make use of the digital disguise, revealing their power and their sentiments without acknowledging their true identities to the viewers. This constitutes a sort of freedom for the digital users, and this is most typical in news sites, wherein the viewers are allowed to post comments without indicating their true identities, keeping their privacy in a world that is being presented in public.
As indicated in the article, “Anyone could weigh in and remain anonymous” (Perez-Pena, 2010, p. 1), and this leads to the question on whether or not viewers of Internet sites should be allowed to remain anonymous when dictating their comments and suggestions. This is a very significant ethical problem associated to IT, since it has been ethically accepted that any type of idea or sentiment should be associated to the respectful person who has formed the idea. According to Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post,
Anonymity is just the way things are done. It’s an accepted part of the Internet, but there’s no question that people hide behind anonymity to make vile or controversial comments. (Perez-Pena, 2010, p. 1) It has, therefore, been advised that viewers should indicate their factual names, especially when making a significant commentary about the society. They should use their real names, and this may be done by requiring people to register first before posting their commentaries. Ethical problems in privacy
According to the article that Scott Rosenberg (2010) wrote entitled ‘Online Comments Need Moderation, Not Real Names’, there is also the statement that defines how newspaper website managers have been reacting in terms of anonymity and privacy keeping. As stated, “If only they could make people sign their real names, surely the atmosphere would improve” (Rosenberg, 2010, p. 1). Online conversation spaces make media outlets turn the common software on and then leave them as it is, as if the discussions would “magically take care of themselves” (Rosenberg, 2010, p.
1). The problem, however, is that the commenters should not be faceless and should carry identities that are open for the other viewers. This problem is in the identity system, with the Web having no identity system that would ethically reconnect the idea to the person who has declared it. As stated in the article, The Web has no identity system, and though the FBI can track you down if the provocation is dire enough, and if you get editors mad enough they can track you down, too, most media companies aren’t going to waste the time and money.
(Rosenberg, 2010, p. 1) Ethical privacy problems can also be in the form of ‘hacking’ or “using unauthorized access to an information system” (Floridi, 2008, p. 43). This indulges privacy and confidentiality. Conclusion There are other ethical problems associated with the IT of the modern social world, such as using the new technology in order to cheat one’s taxes, or deviating the user from his or her true name or identity. It can also be in the form of wardriving wherein people try to connect wirelessly to other people’s networks (Moor, 2008, p.
33). All these unethical conducts can create an enormous social impact that leads to technological revolution that can contract IT in its power stage. With proper management, it can develop the IT into something that is more powerful and enormous, without the ethical problems that have large-scale effects on the society. It is evident, therefore, that open societies through the IT still need some enhancements, so that the ethical problems would be controlled and maximized. References
Floridi, L. (2008). Information ethics: its nature and scope. In Eds. Jeroen van den Hoven and John Weckert’s Information technology and moral philosophy. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity: self and society in the late modern age. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Moor, J. (2008). Why we need better ethics for emerging technologies. In Eds. Jeroen van den Hoven and John Weckert’s Information technology and moral philosophy.
New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Perez-Pena, R. (2010, April 11). News sites rethink anonymous online comments. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from The New York Times Company database: http://www. nytimes. com/2010/04/12/technology/12comments. html. Rosenberg, S. (2010, April 13). Online comments need moderation, not real names. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from Salon Media Group, Inc. database: http://www. salon. com/news/feature/2010/04/13/newspaper_online_comments_moderation_open2010.
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