Computing technology is on the rise with the intensifying implementation of scientific knowledge in the recent world. Information technology ethics is a moral philosophy that studies issues arising from the development and utilization of electronic automation. As stated by Rosha and Manshahia (2017), each technical area presents new ethical challenges which should be seriously considered. Involvement in criminal behavior on the internet, which is on an upsurge, puts businesses especially those whose operations are digitized at a risk. Cyber knowledge should be decently used in order to promote cyber ethics.
Financial crimes have become common in today’s society with individuals aiming to gain maximum monetary benefits with least efforts. Creation of scam websites for sales marketing is practiced to a great degree (Sullins, 2021). The aim is usually for unauthorized users to use one’s credit or debit cards to deceitfully obtain money or possessions. Fraud sales where online retailers sell products to customers and once paid for fail to deliver them are common occurrences in electronic commerce (Rosha & Manshahia, 2017). In order to achieve a healthier environment in the world of computing, larceny which violates ethics should be shunned.
Cyber obscenity is a prevalent cyber offense. Sullins (2021) states that information technology affects morals by providing access to indecent information to users and providing anonymity for those who access the details provided in such websites. Pornographic materials provided in sources such as websites, online magazines, photos, videos, and pieces of writing play a huge role in moral deterioration (Sullins, 2021). That kind of information affects the psychological health of users. Individuals and companies that upload such information on the internet go against ethics in the computing society; technology and technological knowledge should not be used to harm others.
Political crimes are among the delinquent practices that are carried out using computers. Data alteration is often done with an intention of personal gain. In the case of an election, tally results could be changed in order to have another party declared as the winning. Loeber (2020) states that if an electoral management body lacks the technological requirements to manage elections and turns to private companies for assistance, issues of impartiality could be experienced as there may be vested interests in the outcomes of the elections. Denial of voting rights to individuals could also be done using computers through illegal removal of voters from the voter registry list (Loeber, 2020). Financial statements are often altered with an intention of increasing funding in certain sectors which brings about mismanagement of public funds. Tampering with the accuracy of data goes against morals in information technology.
Further, money laundering is a cybercrime that is unethical. Money that is obtained in an illegal way can be given an appearance of having emanated from a legit source. Rosha and Manshahia (2017) argue that emerging technologies greatly assist in online gambling and concealing the origin of ill-gotten money. Similarly, legal money can also be concealed from taxation authorities; criminals could bypass the banking system due to the large volume of electronic fund transfers (Rosha & Manshahia, 2017). Money laundering puts in jeopardy any institutions that are involved.
Phishing is another recurrent criminal activity associated with computers. Lastdrager (2014) describes phishing as the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information such as passwords, credit and debit card pins among others online. Individuals could also be lured into downloading pirated software in their systems which introduce viruses and alters the functioning of computers (Lastdrager, 2014). The consequences of phishing to the parties involved are quite weighty; damage of reputation, business interruption and loss of their creations such as commercial inventions could bring major losses to an organization.
In addition to other cyber-crimes is intellectual property crimes. Sale of pirated software, counterfeit products and thieving of computer codes are on the rise. Piracy is unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted work. Users who unknowingly acquire pirated software are at a high risk of having information on their computers corrupted and viruses introduced into their systems. Counterfeiting details trademarks theft where individuals steal verification codes for a certain producer’s good in order to create similar products. It is unethical to use other people’s resources on the internet without their consent. Intellectual property crimes have serious penalties which include unlimited fines, imprisonment or both.
Spreading computer viruses is a common crime associated with the internet. Viruses are unwanted programs that altar the normal computer functions or corrupt data and spread through networks, sent as attachments to emails often referred to as malware, or through external storage devices such as flash disks. One’s computer could acquire viruses while downloading items due to lack of a firewall that filters the information coming from the internet. Failure to scan external devices before loading them on computers could as well spread viruses. Buying pirated software in the internet is a major cause of viruses which may lead to crashing of computer. Viruses affect computers as they cause slow performance or even malfunctions.
Information technology ethics guide people’s behavior in the use of computers at large. The ethics focus towards the maintenance of privacy and accuracy of data, guide accessibility of data and ensure that cyber knowledge is used in a descent manner.
Lastdrager, E. (2014). Achieving a consensual definition of phishing based on a systematic review of the literature. https://crimesciencejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40163-014-0009-y
Loeber, L. (2020). Use of technology in the election process: who governs? Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy, 19(2), 149-161. https://doi.org/10.1089/elj.2019.0559
Rosha, G. K & Manshahia, M. S. (2017). E-crime behaviour of internet users. International Journal on Future Revolution in Computer Science & Communication Engineering, 3(11), 323-337. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321331151_E-Crime_Behaviour_of_Internet_Users
Sullins, J. (2021). Information technology and moral values. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2021 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Retrieved February 24, 2021, from https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2021/entries/it-moral-values
Vallor, S. (2016). Technology and the virtues: A philosophical guide to a future worth wanting. https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190498511.001.0001/acprof-9780190498511