What Are Some Examples of Ethical Issues in Information Technology?

Ethical challenges facing the tech industry include issues in areas such as security, privacy, ownership, accuracy and control; for example, the question of whether a tech company has a duty to protect its customers’ identities and personal information is an example of an ethical challenge relating to security and privacy. Some of these ethical issues are defined by laws relating to information security, intellectual property and financial transactions but, as with ethics relating to other areas of the human experience, the law is not necessarily the same thing as a set of ethics. Some information technology professionals feel that ethical behavior is essential for the industry regardless of how that behavior adheres to the law.

The wide availability of personal information thanks to the Internet, data collection and cloud storage presents a set of ethical challenges for the tech sector and IT professionals. A recent scandal involving the “hacking” of personal photographs from celebrities’ iCloud accounts highlights the ease with which personal information can be accessed and distributed with a modicum of IT knowledge. Issues like this one highlight the need for a set of ethical standards within the tech industry. Are companies responsible for protecting their users’ information? This is an ethical question that the tech industry is working to answer as data security becomes increasingly important.