Application of a decision making framework to an it-related ethical | IFSM 304 | University of Maryland University College


For this assignment, you are given an opportunity to explore and apply a decision making framework to analyze an IT-related ethical issue.  A framework provides a methodical and systematic approach for decision making. Module 2 – Methods of Ethical Analysis (see LEO Content – Readings in Week 2) describes three structured frameworks for ethical analysis, namely Reynolds Seven-Step Approach, Kidder’s Nine Steps, and Spinello’s Seven-Step Process. There are several ways described in Module 2 to systematically approach an ethical dilemma. Each of the frameworks described has its merits, and each will result in an ethical decision if straightforwardly and honestly applied.

In addition, you will want to consider the ethical theories described in Module 1 – Introduction to Theoretical Ethical Frameworks (see LEO Content – Readings in Week 1) which help decision makers find the right balance concerning the acceptability of and justification for their actions.

For this paper, all of the following elements must be addressed:

  • Describe a current IT-related ethical issue: Since this is a paper exercise, not a real-time situation, it is best if you construct a brief scenario where this issue comes into play, and thus causes an ethical dilemma.  The dilemma may affect you, your family, your job, or your company; or it may be a matter of public policy or law that affects the general populace.  See the list below for a list of suggested issues, which may be a source of an ethical dilemma. It is not necessary to incorporate answers to the companion questions of the list subjects in your paper – they are only there to define the issue.
  • Define a concise and separate problem statement that has been extracted from the above description or scenario. It is best if you define the specific problem caused by the dilemma, that needs a specific ethical decision to be made, that will solve the dilemma.  Be aware that if it is a matter of public policy or law that it may require a regulatory body or congressional approval to take action to implement a solution.  
  • Analyze your problem using one of the structured decision-making frameworks chosen from Module 2. Make sure that you identify the decision-making framework utilized. In addition, the steps in the decision-making framework selected must be used as major headings in your analysis, then,   
  • Consider and state the impact of the decision that you made on an individual, an organization, stakeholders, customers suppliers, and the environment, as applicable, and
  • State and discuss the applicable ethical theory from Module 1 that supports your decision.

Concerning your paper:

  • Prepare a minimum 3- 5 page, double-spaced paper and submit it to the LEO Assignments Module as an attached Microsoft Word file. 
  • Provide appropriate American Psychological Association (APA) reference citations for all sources you use.  In addition to critical thinking and analysis skills, your paper should reflect appropriate grammar and spelling, good organization, and proper business-writing style.
  • Remember to include a cover sheet as specified in General Writing Requirements

For example, Kidder’s approach has nine steps, which are:

  • Recognize that there is a moral issue.
  • Determine the actor (whose moral issue is it?).
  • Gather the relevant facts.
  • Test for right-versus-wrong issues.
  • Test for right-versus-right paradigms (what sort of dilemma is this?).
  • Apply the resolution principles (ends-based, rule-based, or care-based).
  • Investigate the “trilemma” options (look for common ground or compromise).
  • Make the decision.
  • Revisit and reflect on the decision. (Kidder, 1995, p. 183-187)

Reminder: Each of the steps for whatever framework that you select must be a major headingin the Analysis section of your paper.

Here are some suggested issues to start with

1.               Privacy on the Web: What is happening now in terms of privacy on the Web? Think about recent abuses and improvements. Describe and evaluate Web site policies, technical and privacy policy protections, and current proposals for government regulations.

2.               Personal Data Privacy Regulations in Other Countries: Report on personal data privacy regulations, Web site privacy policies, and governmental/law enforcement about access to personal data in one or more countries; e.g., the European Union.  This is especially relevant as our global economic community expands and we are more dependent on non-US clients for e-business over the Internet.

3.               Spam: Describe new technical solutions and the current state of regulation. Consider the relevance of freedom of speech. Discuss the roles of technical and legislative solutions.

4.               Computer-Based Crimes: Discuss the most prevalent types of computer crimes, such as Phishing.  Analyze why and how these can occur. Describe protective measures that might assist in preventing or mitigating these types of crimes.

5.               Government Surveillance of the Internet: The 9/11 attacks on the US in 2001 brought many new laws and permits more government surveillance of the Internet. Is this a good idea?

6.               The Digital Divide: Does it exist; what does it look like; and, what are the ethical considerations and impact?

7.               Privacy in the Workplace – Monitoring Employee Web and E-Mail Use: What are current opinions concerning monitoring employee computer use. What policies are employers using? Should this practice of monitoring, be authorized or not?

8.               Medical Privacy: Who owns your medical history? What is the state of current legislation to protect your health information? Is it sufficient?  There are new incentives with federal stimulus financing for health care organizations to develop and implement digital health records.

9.               Software Piracy: How many of you have ever made an unauthorized copy of software, downloaded software or music (free or for a fee), or used copyrighted information without giving proper credit or asking permission? Was this act illegal or just wrong? How is this being addressed?

10.            Predictions for Ethical IT Dilemma in 2020: What is your biggest worry or your prediction for ethical concerns of the future related to information technology?

11.            Consumer Profiling: With every purchase you make, every Web site you visit, your preferences are being profiled. What is your opinion regarding the legal authority of these organizations to collect and aggregate this data?

12.            Biometrics & Ethics: Your fingerprint, retinal-vessel image, and DNA map can exist entirely as a digital image in a computer, on a network, or in the infosphere.  What new and old ethical problems must we address?

13.            Ethical Corporations: Can corporations be ethical? Why or why not?

14.            Social Networking:  What are some of the ethical issues surrounding using new social networks?  How are these now considered for business use?  What are business social communities?  Are new/different protections and security needed for these networks?

15.            Gambling in Cyberspace: Is it legal?  Are there national regulations and/or licensing?  What are the oversight and enforcement requirements?  Are there international implications?  What are the social and public health issues?

16.            Pornography in Cyberspace: For example, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling protecting as free speech computer-generated child pornography

17.            Medicine and Psychiatry in Cyberspace: Some considerations include:  privacy issues; security; third-party record-keeping; electronic medical records; access to information, even by the patient (patient rights); access to information by outsiders without patient knowledge; authority to transfer and/or share information.  Are there any policies proposed by professional organizations?

18.            Counterterrorism and Information Systems: Your protection versus your rights

19.            Open-source Software versus Closed-source Software: Ethical ramifications and impact on intellectual property law

20.            Creative Commons Licenses:  How do they work and what are the legal and ethical impacts and concerns?

21.            Universal ID card: What is the general position of the U.S. government about issuing each individual a unique ID card?  Which individual U.S. government agencies have already provided a unique ID card?  What steps have been taken to include individual ID information electronically in passports?  How is privacy and security provided?

22.            Federal and State Law Enforcement’s Role: What is their role to enforce computer-based crime?

23.            Video Games: Does playing video games distract from everyday responsibilities?  Do video games correlate with real world violence?  Why do game creators to continually increase the violence of video games?  What is video game addiction?

The Student Score Sheet which will be utilized to score the Learning Portfolio assignment for the Paper A assignment due at the end of Week Two is shown below.

Please submit your Paper A to the LEO Assignments Module as an attached Microsoft Word file by Midnight of September 2nd.

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