We are living in the era of digital transformation, where a great number of IT-driven innovations are completely changing not only the industry, but also our working and living environments. While these changes are undoubtedly making the world better, they are also introducing new ethical challenges for both creators and end-users of IT. IT has also created new opportunities to commit crimes (i.e. cyber-crimes) such as “phishing”, spamming and on-line fraud. IT systems having access to corporate data and assets, might be compromising an employees’ privacy. Moreover, IT is also raising new social issues as for example when it changes the distribution of power in a corporation, or when it leads to lay-offs due to increased automation. As a result, both IT professionals and users should better understand the ethical implications of the expanded use of IT technology in their working and living environments in order to be able to adhere to ethical policies and act as moral agents that successfully resolve IT-related ethical dilemmas.
Nowadays, IT-related ethical issues are more intense than ever before. Unfortunately, technology acceleration has several negative consequences in the ethical forefront, as is evident in the following characteristic examples:
These wide range of ethical issues, can be classified in the following categories:
In this landscape, IT enterprises and the society as a whole should aim at creating an ethical environment for the development, deployment, operation and expansion of IT technology. To this end, CIOs, corporations and their employees should rely on the following guidelines:
Overall, it’s increasingly important to understand the moral implications of new technology, while at the same time establishing ethic policies for processes involving computing systems and automation. Related ethical standards should address all the above listed challenges including IPR issues, work-life balance, privacy and data protection, equal access and opportunities, health issues, as well as protection against cyber-crime.
Living and acting in an ethical way is an integral element of technology adoption. Much as it is a prerequisite for social prosperity, it can also be a foundation for corporate branding and improving business results. Ethical behaviors are appealing and preferred by colleagues, collaborators, business partners and customers. It’s therefore worth investing and partnering with organization which share your view on establishing an ethical environment in the personal and professional IT sphere.
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