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Computer Ethics

Essay by   •  February 10, 2011  •  Essay  •  903 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,028 Views

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As of September 2003, there were approximately 70 million Americans or about 62 percent of the American population had at least one home computer. Another statistic is that about 55% of people also have internet on there home computers. In everyday life it is important for a person to have good ethics; this is also true about computer usage. Due to the fact that more then half of the American population owns computers, computer ethics are a growing concern in a rapidly changing society. Computer ethics can be broken down in to many topics including piracy, hacking, viruses, spam, phishing, and responsibility of use of software, cyber porn, and invasion of privacy and the use of the computer in the work place. Also there are many issues both moral and professional that a person who uses a computer might face.

Piracy which by definition is reproduction, distribution and use of software without permission of the owner of copyright, poses some serious ethical problems. The free exchange of copyrighted materials is piracy as it undermines the ability of copyright holders (and their representatives) to control the sale and distribution of goods to which they--and only they--own the rights. Probably the best known and most widely practiced form of piracy is the distribution of copyright protected music files via popular file sharing programs such as Kazaa and Limewire. As bandwidth increases, the "sharing" of movies and television shows on the Internet is likely to increase as well. Although file sharing is quite common, that does not mean it is okay.

Another ethical problem with computers is hacking. Hacking is the computer equivalent of breaking and entering. A computer hacker uses his or her skills to gain unauthorized access to another computer or computer network and, once inside, can wreak havoc by altering important information, deleting essential files, or just crashing the whole system. Many hackers who break into commercial Web sites are looking for customers' private financial data including bank account and credit card numbers. A hacker who causes a network to crash can cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost productivity. Also because we are a society that relies on computers so heavily there is also the potential for loss of life is say the police or air traffic control computers were to get hacked. A topic that goes hand in hand with hacking is viruses. A computer virus is a small program that impairs-or simply destroys-a computer's ability to function properly. Most viruses are designed to spread themselves over the Internet often via email programs before they inflict harm on their host computers. Frequently, hackers use viruses to create problems with in a person's computer to get in deeper and cause more problems.

Two more computer ethic topics that go hand in hand are spam and phishing. Spam which is an inappropriate attempt to use email, or another networked communications facility by sending the same message to numerous people who didn't ask for it, can lead to many problems in both a work and non-work environment. Another consequence of spam is phishing which is the act of tricking someone into giving them



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