As ethical issues are raised in various areas, people are becoming concerned about the ethical implications of various issues. Technology is a reality in every person’s life today. Growth in the use of technology however comes with various ethical issues. Computer and information technology are in use in almost every area of human life. As information revolutions become a reality, various implications have come with information technology. Technology does not affect just the technical implications but also has social implications for society. The social implications of technology may result in ethical issues that result from the use of technology as related to other users. Social-technical analysis of ethical issues in technology helps to reveal the ethical issues resulting from technology. Socio-technical analysis of CourseNet will reveal the ethical issues related to the system, cause of the ethical issues and offer guidance on how the system may be improved.
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Socio-technical analysis of ethical issues of technology is different from conventional ethical analysis. While conventional ethical analysis evaluates the ethical issues in isolation, the socio-technical analysis evaluates the ethical issues concerning the technology, surrounding, individuals involved, and another aspect (Why a Socio-Technical System, 2009, par 2). Socio-technical analysis of CourseNet, thus, will not involve only individual ethical issues resulting from the use of the online database in Tui University, but also how the ethical issues are related to the online application and the environment in which it is used.
As an online database for providing course materials and administering courses, CourseNet has various socio-technical issues that should be considered in a socio-technical analysis. CourseNet makes use of the internet and network technology. Students can access the database from any part of the world through the internet. Privacy and security is a major ethical issue that should be analyzed in a socio-technical analysis of CourseNet.
Security is an important issue in online academic applications. CourseNet online database serves many students in the university; the security and privacy of the information in the database is an important ethical issue. Students are concerned about the security of information submitted to the database. At the same time, lecturers are concerned about the course materials, personal information, and access to student information. Privacy and security is also an important ethical issue to the database administrator. The administrators are concerned about the security of the system, protection of personal information from unauthorized access, and the security of the physical database servers.
CourseNet provides online access to course information and materials through the internet. Students can access the database by logging in by use of their user Id and password. After logging in, a student can access information that concerns are the student courses, course material, and online library. The student can also access and submit assignments through the applications. Personal information such as course covered, feedbacks and marks awarded. Disclosure of the user Id and password to another person means that the other person can access the course information. Malicious access to the database can distort important information in the database. Crush to the database servers may lead to loss of important information while an inability to verify the user of the database may complicate course evaluation.
Pitfalls affecting Privacy and Security Analysis
Analysis of security and privacy issue in CourseNet is subject to various pitfalls. Search for a single cause of the issue is one of the pitfalls (Search for a single cause, 2009, par 3). In the analysis, one may assume that there is a single cause to security and privacy issue in CourseNet. Privacy and security issues in CourseNet may result from the software, hardware, surrounding, and relationship between the users. To evaluate the ethical issue of unauthorized access to the database, more than one possible cause should be evaluated.
Understanding ethical issues on privacy and security in CourseNet is not easy when the analysis is made subjectively. For the privacy and security ethical issues to be understood, there is a need for role-playing to be used in the analysis. Role-play enables the person analyzing to have a hands-on experience of the issue under analysis (Subjective in thinking about causes, 2009, par 7).
There is a temptation to affix the blame of privacy and security issues to an individual. Looking for a person to blame for privacy and security issues in CourseNet can divert the person analyzing the actual cause of the problem (The Rush to Legalism, 2009, par 5). In addition, the individuals involved may be more than one while their motive could not be related. It is not proper for the persons involved in ensuring privacy and security in CourseNet to rush for legalism without exhausting all other options for solving the problem. Human error can contribute highly to privacy and security-related ethical issues. For example, a student or a professor may expose access code unintentionally and tempt a curious individual to access the database.
Ethics is an important concern in the use of technology. Computer and information technology can lead to very sensitive ethical issues. Socio-technical analysis helps to evaluate ethical issues in the use of technology. When used in computer and information technology, the socio-technical analysis will reveal the ethical issues that arise because of the computer. Privacy and security is an ethical issue in CourseNet online database. Analysis of this issue provides important information to improve the system and overcome ethical issues.
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The Rush to Legalism (2009). Ethical issues in computing. Computingcases.org. Web.
Why a Socio-Technical System (2009). Ethical issues in computing Computingcases.org. Web.