We have many laws which govern the use of computer systems and the handling of data. Most of us are aware if our actions are illegal and the majority of us would never consider doing anything that could potentially end up with a huge fine or even a jail sentence.
When we think about the use of technology, we also need to be aware of the moral and ethical issues. Just because something is legal, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is acceptable or right.
Much of the technology we use is still so new that boundaries are inevitably pushed and even when organisations try their best, there is the risk of of something happening which, in hindsight, is later considered as unethical.
So what are ethics and why do they matter?
Ethics consists of the standards of behaviour that are acceptable within our society. They are the moral principles and values, the standards of behaviour, that make society operate effectively.
Unethical behaviour undermines trust and can lead to a loss of respect and goodwill. People often feel anger and hostility towards a person/organisation that has operated unethically.
We have covered a range of topics that touch upon ethical issues and technology. However, this is such a vast subject that in your exam you could be asked about many different scenarios. When answering a question, always try to think about the moral viewpoints and how they affect different stakeholders. You will be expected to discuss both sides of any issue and then conclude with your own opinion.