Computers, Information Technology, the Internet, Ethics, Society and Human Values

Philip Pecorino, Ph.D.

Queensborough Community College,  CUNY

Chapter 1. Introduction



 An unknown and ever growing number of people world wide copy software and music and video files without paying for them.  Has the idea of ownership changed?  Has the idea that one should not take what belongs to another changed?

2. Data Mining

Search engines and commercial companies and government agencies collect large amounts of information about people based on their use of computers and entry of information into computers and computer networks.  That information can be brought together so that anyone with access to it would know a great deal about the person attached to that information.  Have our ideas about privacy changed?

3.Using aliases

 People use phony names to post information about people onto websites and chat rooms and bulletin boards.  The information is not always accurate and sometimes false and sometimes hurtful.  Is there something going on in the virtual world where the rules of the everyday world do not apply?

4.The Myth of Amoral Computer Programming

 Software engineers work on programs that they know have flaws that could lead to errors and even to harming people relying on the information being accurate and correct and the computers operating well.  They say nothing about the flaws because the customer wants a cheaper product or they fear loss of a job or for other reasons.  Is there something going on with the notions of accountability and responsibility due to the creation of software programs and their wide availability and the ability to alter them?

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Web Surfer's Caveat: These are class notes, intended to comment on readings and amplify class discussion. They should be read as such. They are not intended for publication or general distribution.                @copyright 2006 Philip A. Pecorino                       

Last updated 8-2006                                                              Return to Table of Contents