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Pandora's Box: Social and Professional Issues of the Information Age

Andrew A. Adams, Rachel J. McCrindle

ISBN: 978-0-470-06553-2 January 2008 666 Pages


Computing technology is constantly evolving and changing, developing and consolidating its position as a vital component of our lives. It no longer plays a minor part in society – it is embedded in, and affects, all aspects of life, from education to healthcare to war. Dealing with the implications of this is a major challenge, and one that can impact upon us, both personally and professionally. As a consequence, it is vital that all in the computing industry make wise decisions regarding their conduct.

Using case studies and discussion topics drawn from entertaining real world examples, Pandora’s Box examines the background of a wide range of vital contemporary issues, encouraging readers to examine the social, legal and ethical challenges they will face in their own careers.

Written in an engaging style and packed with international examples, this book addresses topics which have come to the forefront of public consciousness in recent years, such as online crime, piracy and peer to peer file sharing. Comprehensive coverage is provided of digital entertainment, censorship and privacy issues, presenting a rich source of context in which to consider ethical matters.

Suitable for students on computer science degree programmes, as well as those taking IT related modules on other courses which consider the impact of technology on 21st century living, Pandora’s Box is an essential read and a unique and timely textbook.

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Preface xxi

1 Introduction 1

Lessig's Four Modalities Analysis 6

Prophet and Loss: Failing to Foresee the Future 7

Information System Partition 8

The Law is an Ass 10

Globalization 12

The Digital Divide 13

Servant or Master: Computers Making Decisions 15

2 Emergence and Convergence of Technologies 21

Introduction 21

Emergence 23

Convergence 39

The Big Challenges Ahead 55

3 Digital Entertainment 61

Introduction 61

The Effects of Digital Entertainment Technology 64

Health-Related Issues 69

Power to the Player—Benefits of Computer Games 84

4 Censorship and Freedom of Speech 97

Introduction 97

Censorship by States 101

Censorship by Private Actors 111

Technology for Expression 114

5 Sex and Technology 131

Introduction 131

The Nature of Sexual Material 132

Regulating Sex in Cyberspace 149

Not in Front of the Children: Protecting Children from Sex Online 152

Child Pornography 161

6 Governance of the Internet 175

Introduction 175

The Root of All Evil 185

Commercialization, Ownership and Corporate Identity 189

The Future of Internet Governance 204

7 Privacy and Surveillance 211

Introduction 211

Communication Technology and Eavesdropping 215

Data Protection 222

Big Brother is Watching You: Automated CCTV Processing 231

Privacy After 9/11 234

Technological Privacy and Surveillance 235

8 Information Age Warfare 243

Introduction 243

History of Warfare 245

The Technology of War 248

The Battlefield 258

Information Dominance 263

9 Technology and The Human Body 273

Introduction 273

Health Information Systems 275

Power to the Patient 283

Online Body Trafficking 291

Techno-Medicine 292

New Medical Technologies 309

10 Professionalism In IT 323

Introduction 323

Conduct 327

Practice 333

Whistleblowing 334

Due Diligence 338

Personal Responsibility 340

11 Online Crime and Real Punishment 345

Introduction 345

Malware 351

Computer Security: Cops and Robbers, Poachers and Gamekeepers 363

Laws Against Computer Misuse 387

The Growing Problem of Computer Crime 395

12 Patents and Copyright 401

Introduction 401

Intellectual Property? 402

The Philosophical Basis of Patents and Copyright 404

Patents 406

Copyright 419

Copyright and the Architecture of Cyberspace 449

Free Culture 449

13 Unwanted Electronic Attentions 457

Introduction 457

Types of Unsolicited Communication 459

Types of Communication Media 461

The Economics of Unsolicited Contacts 470

Malicious Unwanted Attentions 494

14 Education and Online Learning 505

Introduction 505

From the Chalkboard to the Virtual Classroom 507

Developing E-Learning Environments 513

Developing and Embracing e-Learning Resources 526

Accessibility of Education in a Wired World 533

Cheating the System 535

15 Living and Working in a Wired World 545

Introduction 545

The Digital Lifestyle 547

Technology and the Individual 563

Communication 565

The Digital Divide 574

Appendix—Ethical Analysis 583

Introduction 583

Traditional Western Moral Philosophy 584

Modern Ethical Theory 589

Computer Ethics 591

Conclusion 596

Discussion Topics 597

Related Reading 607

Index 609

  • Presents a broad range of issues, encouraging development of ethical thinking through class discussion topics and selected case studies.
  • Offers real-world examples, case studies and topics for class discussion.
  • Presents topics from an international perspective.
  • Written by active lecturers in the field working at a respected university.
Written in an engaging style and packed with international examples, this book addresses topics such as online crime, piracy and peer to peer file sharing.