[ISN] REVIEW: Ethical and Social Issues in the Information Age

From: cult hero (jerichoat_private)
Date: Sat Apr 17 1999 - 16:51:06 PDT

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    0387982752.RVW   990308
    "Ethical and Social Issues in the Information Age", Joseph Migga Kizza,
    0-387-98275-2, U$42.95
    %A   Joseph Migga Kizza
    %C   Springer-Verlag New york, Inc., 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
    %D   1998
    %E   D. Gries, F.B. Schneider
    %G   0-387-98275-2
    %I   Springer
    %O   U$49.99 
    %P   172 p.
    %T   "Ethical and Social Issues in the Information Age: Undergraduate
         Texts in Computer Science" 
    Overview: "Ethical and Social Issues in the Information Age" is an
    excellent foundation and resource for defining ethics and morals in a
    technological world. For any reader interested in exploring this often
    shady area of life, I highly recommend this be your introduction.  Along
    with the clear and concise defintions, each chapter references real world
    examples to help illustrate each point and make the reader aware of the
    real and imaged concerns associated with each.
    Chapter 1 - "Morality and the Law": If you can judge a book by the first
    chapter, this book is a great read. The introduction to morality and the
    law starts out with clear explanation of what morality is, moral theories,
    moral decision making, as well as listing well established and general
    moral codes (such as 'the golden rule').  By defining such concepts as
    'guilt' and 'judgment', the reader is well equipped to move on and explore
    the different facets of ethics, morals, and how they apply to technology.
    Chapter 2 - "Ethics, Technology, and Values": The various definitions of
    ethics and the theories of ethics is explained very well. Providing short
    descriptions of major ethical theories, you begin to realize there are
    many more concerns than may meet the eye. Continuing on, Kizza creates an
    equation to explore the relation between ethics and the human mind. This
    chapter also goes in depth on Codes of Ethics, defines Computer Ethics,
    and explains *why* you should study Computer Ethics.
    Chapter 3 - "Ethics and the Professions": Chapter three delves into
    defining professional requirements and the codes that may apply to them. 
    Kizza describes four codes: professional, personal, institutional, and
    community. From here, the four 'pillars' of professionalism are outlined
    and described: Commitment, integrity, responsibility, and accountability. 
    The rest of this chapter deals with the making of an ethical profession,
    and the attributes that go with it. 
    Chapter 4 - "Anonymity, Security, and Privacy": After defining each of
    these concepts, real world examples are provided to illustrate each, and
    help show the reason each is valuable and noteworthy. Perhaps the
    strongest point is the defintion and breakout of 'privacy', and what it
    truly entails.
    Chapter 5 - "Intellectual Property Rights and Computer Technology": Before
    you can define intellectual property rights, you must qualify what
    property is in the technical and digital world. Once defined, there are
    several factors that affect the value and right of use including 'public
    domain', copyright, patents, 'trade secret' status, trademarks, and more. 
    Last, you must define ownership as well as define what infringement really
    is. This chapter also goes into how you can better protect what is
    valuable to you or your company.
    Chapter 6 - "Computer-Augmented Environments: The Workplace": A few years
    ago, the 'workplace' was easily defined by four walls in a set location. 
    In today's world, travelling, home and virtual offices have replaced that
    idea. Chapter six defines this changing world and considers the effects
    and benefits of each. Section 6.4 goes into explicit detail about the
    implications and considerations of workplace privacy and surveillance. How
    do you monitor virtual workers?  What rights do you have to monitor home
    Chapter 7 - "Software Issues": Since software in one form or another
    controls every computer or computer component, it becomes a more important
    and fundamental part of our life. Even though we may not understand the
    languages that make up the software, we must be aware of the elements of
    software that affect its use. Verification and Validation, reliability,
    security, safety, and quality are some of the major points examined and
    brought to light. Section 7.2 delves into the various reasons of why
    software fails and who is responsible. More importantly, it covers what
    consumer protection exists, the rights of software buyer's, and more.
    Chapter 8 - "New Frontiers for Ethical Considerations: Artifical
    Intelligence, Cyberspace, and Virtual Reality":  Most literature on future
    concepts in computing typically lack material justifying one stance or
    another. This book differs as it provides solid definitions of areas of
    computers barely defined, and more importantly, provides reference to
    existing work in the fields of AI and VR.
    Chapter 9 - "Ethical and Social Issues in Cyberspace": Perhaps one of the
    most obscured and widely (mis?)used words to describe computer culture is
    'cyberspace'. Rather than try to force an unwieldy definition on the word,
    Kizza gives the reader a foundation and quick background for the word. 
    That in mind, he moves on to cover the role of copyright, patents,
    identity, censorship, privacy, and security and how they are affected, as
    well as how they affect cyberspace.
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