Ethics in Information Technology

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Ethics originates from the ancient Greek. It is a word meant to relate to one’s character and moral nature. According to Richard Paul and Linda Elder, Ethics is a set of principles and concepts that help the individuals to understand how creatures behave. Ethics can also be defined by philosophers as a moral philosophy and that attempts to be used to answer various ethical questions. In general, ethics is a division of philosophy involving defending, structuring and endorsing concepts of right and wrong behavior. It seeks to answer questions of individual morality like virtues and vices, good and evil, right and wrong and crime (Schwalbe, 2015).

Code of ethics are sets of behavioral programs adopted by companies to lead them in understanding what is right and wrong in making decisions. Code of ethics is formed in levels; codes of professional practice, business ethics, and codes of conducts guiding personnel.

Many Information technology professionals do not have a common rule that regulates their code of conduct. They have different professional organizations that deal with specific specialized groups (Schwalbe, 2015).

These specialized bodies are; Computing Technology Industry Association, Association of IT Professionals, Cyber Security Institute, Information systems Security Associations, Independent Computing Consultants and Association for Computer Operations Management.

The establishment of these bodies is instigated due to the lack of esteem for a code of ethics and violations.

Two bodies of IT code of ethics, SANS IT and ICCP have their own established codes. SANS IT codes are for instance: respect for confidentiality and privacy, striving to distinguish self and honesty, conducting work with integrity and professionalism.IT codes for ICCP are; high quality of knowledge and skills, adherence to ethical codes, confidential relationships with clients, and public reliance (Schwalbe, 2015).

Amanda Nieweler, in her article titled “Common Ethical Violations” discusses various violations of ethical codes regarding IT system operators. She observes various violations of ethical codes like system breakdown, poor working conditions, disclosing client’s information, save violations, and discrimination. Circumstances for instance system hacking, theft, bribery, and forgery are mostly termed as criminal thereby dealt with by prosecuting authorities outside the organization.

Systems hacking: this violation is common in the IT systems operators. This occurs when the operator notes the passwords of the customer thereby accessing the customer’s information without their knowledge. For instance, in the banking sector, millions of customers have been robbed by bank employee conmen and professional IT cons who have the skills to access the client's private accounts.

Corruption and mismanagement of funds: this violation is committed when the company employees who operate IT systems are not transparent when dealing with the funds especially when undertaking procurement, and handling of company revenues.

Conflicts of interests: these involve IT employee who violates the customer's trust and put the customer into the risk where third parties are involved. The circumstance may arise for example when the customer criminal defense lawyer develops a love affair with their customer prosecutor.

Personal experience of Ethics Violation: Poor working condition; I work in the IT department where I experience poor working conditions, for instance, overworking, lack of motivation, low remuneration, lack of merit during promotions, staff harassment, lack of leave days, long working hours without payments and payment delays. Ethically, I consider these unethical codes of conducts (Schwalbe, 2015).

Furthermore, my company recently conducted a staff audit in the IT system and found over 67 ghost workers who have been earning salaries without working. These workers have earned salaries for the last five years. This has deprived the company its resources, I consider this action as being unethical. In addition, the staff audit revealed that my company does not employ staff based on merit. Majority of staff had no proper qualifications for the jobs, others were relatives and friends of the bosses.

The organization needs to prescribe high standards of professional conduct and moral behavior that employees are likely to maintain within the company and in its association with customers.

How to overcome violations of the code of conduct:

An organization may overcome code of conduct violations by ensuring that they set high standards of IT professional ethics that enables their clients to feel comfortable indulging in business activities with them. Nevertheless, the opposite becomes true and the organization determines to have dubious business values (Schwalbe, 2015).

Improvement of the IT systems to keep off hackers: keeping clients information to be highly confidential in order to reduce hacking.

Setting a strong foundation, building a culture of integrity, revise as essential and re-evaluate, assessing the needs and resources fairly, and ensuring that key values are focused on are some of the scientific procedures of dealing with ethical violations.

Building a culture of integrity from top to bottom involves establishing standards of fairness, accountability, and openness. The character is key, effective leadership that happens at all levels from subordinates to the seniors (Schwalbe, 2015).

Conclusively, codes of ethics of IT systems should be adopted by IT managers, individuals, institutions, governments and groups to guide and govern the functioning of system codes of ethics. This should be free from system violations in order to ensure the proper running of the company. System violation of codes of ethics may lead to poor performance in the IT department. There is a need for organizations to train and sensitize its workforce about the code of ethics; what it entails and its importance.

Work Cited

Schwalbe, Kathy. Information technology project management. Cengage Learning, 2015.

September 04, 2023




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