At one place computer networks have raised an ethical issue of freedom of speech and at another place computers do not protect this freedom of speech. Individuals are free to do whatever they want to do over the internet but with the growth in technology, there has been an ethical issue of violation of privacy rights through the use of computers. Information is easily available to others over the internet. People are afraid of disclosing their information while working on the computers because of the fear that this information might be available to others.
This has become a wide practice by hackers who hack the systems and steal valuable information from them. Hacking involves a major risk to the privacy rights of the individuals. It involves intruding and exploring some one’s computer system without the permission of the authorized person and stealing valuable information. Competitors usually adopt this practice to know about the objectives and plans of their rivals. Because of this users are not able to communicate freely.
(Ermann and Shauf , 2002) Secondly, computers allow the companies to store large of amounts of data related to their customers which was not possible before the invention of computing technology. Increasingly companies are selling the information of their customers which they store in databases in their computers. The greatest ethical concern involved in the usage of computing technology is through the internet. The internet allows the world to connect with each other through a computer system.
The internet administrator of their respective areas can easily have a look on what their users are doing over the computer and can even have access to that information (Johnson and Nissenbaum , 1995). This violates the privacy rights of the users who cannot even work freely over the internet. People do not communicate important information with each other over the internet because of the fear of it getting being leaked to others. There are softwares which pose considerable threat for the computer security. These include viruses which spread into every nook and corner of a computer system and steal valuable of information.
Whenever someone logs on to a website, the cookie stores that information about the user on the website. And there are various other ways through which personal and confidential information can be accessed. (Baase, 2003) This has been a burning issue to most of public. There are several laws enacted to preserve the privacy rights of individuals on the use of computer but they all are taken very lightly. Computing technology including computer networks can very easily gain access to personal information of individuals and store it.
Therefore, individuals refrain from keeping confidential and sensitive information on their computers. The increasing use of internet has also increased this privacy threat for users because internet is the best way through which confidential information is made available to others. Opposing Views There are opposing views to the topic as well. In fact, there are organizations like EEC which fight for the freedom of speech of individuals. They do not regard this as being unethical rather considers it as the right of every individual to express his or her opinions freely.
They believe that there should be no watch over a person’s actions on the internet. These strong opposing views have let these unethical acts to persist and no cure has been achieved for putting a stop to this. Because of this the privacy rights of individuals are endangered. Freedom of speech has allowed people to intrude into privacy of others and have access to their confidential information. Thus, the privacy rights of individuals are violated and they cannot work safely on the computers. CONCLUSION
From the above discussion it becomes clear that computing technology has raised several ethical issues involved in its use. These issues are of serious concern and should not be taken lightly. Every individual has right over his privacy and measures should be taken to protect this privacy as well as freedom of speech. The growing population is adopting the unethical practices of the internet due to the promotion of freedom of speech. The younger generation is becoming devoid of the values and beliefs and increasingly they are getting involved into unethical acts possible only due to the use of computing technology.
These practices should be controlled if one wants to save the younger generation from these immoral acts.
Baase, Sara (2003). A Gift of Fire: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computers and the Internet . Pearson Education, Inc.. Ermann , M. David , & Shauf , Michele S. (2002). Computers, Ethics, and Society. Oxford University Press. Forester, Tom , & Morrison , Perry (1993). Computer Ethics, Second Edition: Cautionary Tales and Ethical Dilemmas in Computing. The MIT Press. Johnson , Deborah G., & Nissenbaum , Helen (1995). Computers, Ethics and Social Values. Prentice Hall.