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REVIEW: "Ethical Issues of Information Systems", Ali Salehnia

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKETHISS.RVW 20020831 Ethical Issues of Information Systems , Ali Salehnia, 2002, 1-931777-15-2 %E Ali Salehnia %C 1331 E. Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 29, 2002
      BKETHISS.RVW 20020831

      "Ethical Issues of Information Systems", Ali Salehnia, 2002,
      %E Ali Salehnia
      %C 1331 E. Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA 17033-1117
      %D 2002
      %G 1-931777-15-2
      %I IRM Press/Idea Group
      %O U$ 800-345-432 717-533-8845 fax: 717-533-8661 cust@...
      %P 301 p.
      %T "Ethical Issues of Information Systems"

      As with any collection of essays, there isn't much of a common thread
      between the pieces. However, in this case, there isn't even an
      attempt to set up a structure, or group the papers into subjects.

      In chapter one, Internet privacy is very poorly defined, and then we
      are told that an opinion poll and an unqualified panel have decided
      that there are five primary privacy concerns. Chapter two points out
      that some companies might not benefit from establishing their own
      global information network. There are some brief thoughts on uniform
      contract codes and jurisdiction in chapter three. A poorly documented
      study, in chapter four, indicates that neural nets do better than
      random chance at predicting moral attitudes from sets of disjoint
      questions. A study in chapter five finds that when you ask people
      ethical questions, and then ask why they decided the way they did,
      morals are a strong factor. Chapter six is much more detailed than
      most of the other papers, and uses stories of the automation of stock
      markets in China, Russia, and Chile to point out benefits and problems
      with electronic auction systems. Poor people, and countries, have
      less technology with which to advance themselves, we are told in
      chapter seven. Chapter eight points out that we should do a proper
      risk management analysis if we are relying on e-commerce. After
      careful study and analysis, chapter nine finds (from self-reports)
      that people who have more opportunities to pirate software are more
      inclined to think that the practice is OK. Chapter ten tells us that
      there are problems with the quality of software. There is a brief,
      but not bad, introduction to information warfare in chapter eleven.
      Chapter twelve is a fictional "conversation" on the ethics of teachers
      and researchers. People who copy or pirate software tend to think
      that it is OK to hurt a big guy (a corporation) because hurting a big
      guy helps the little guy (individual), we are told in chapter
      thirteen. Chapter fourteen asserts the need for public policy in
      relation to e-commerce. Soren Kierkegaard theorized that remote
      information keeps people from forming local relationships, and chapter
      fifteen relates this to the Internet. There are some interesting
      stories in chapter sixteen about competitive intelligence or
      industrial espionage. The examination of the ethics of outsourcing,
      in chapter seventeen, is actually more about fraud. Chapter eighteen
      looks at the Nietzschean concept of authenticity; that moral choices
      need to come from within the individual; but does not examine the
      problems that have been analyzed in regard to the very similar
      concepts involved in Kohlberg's level six of ethical development. A
      variety of views of ethics are listed in chapter nineteen. A
      compilation of the arguments for and against the Australian Internet
      censorship bill is given in chapter twenty. Chapter twenty tells us
      that a couple of researchers asked for an opinion survey on whether or
      not using genetic tests for finding genetic diseases was ethical.

      Aside from the lack of structure and depth, this book has a number of
      problems. Some are technical: the proofreading is a definite problem,
      with famous names being spelled incorrectly and punctuation appearing
      in bizarre places. As demonstrated by the bibliographies attached to
      each paper, the authors are attempting to deal with issues involving
      technology without having read standard technical references. (An
      additional bothersome point is that all of these papers seem to have
      been collected from a very limited pool of resources: all have
      appeared in Idea Group books or periodicals.)

      While the individual papers may raise some issues that might be
      interesting for discussion, ultimately the book does not contribute to
      the computer ethics debate. Pretty much everything in the book is
      either glaringly obvious, or has been discussed to death in other

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2002 BKETHISS.RVW 20020831

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be
      happy. - H. L. Mencken
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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