The Ethical and Legal Implications of Information Systems

In this chapter, you will learn how the ubiquity of information systems today compels us to act ethically and legally. As you read, consider the sorts of ethical questions that we must ask ourselves now that did not exist before. How does this affect you personally?

Sidebar: Do Not Track

When it comes to getting permission to share personal information, the US and the EU have different approaches. In the US, the "opt-out" model is prevalent. In this model the default agreement states that you have agreed to share your information with the organization and must explicitly tell them that you do not want your information shared. There are no laws prohibiting the sharing of your data, beyond some specific categories of data such as medical records. In the European Union the "opt-in" model is required to be the default. In this case you must give your explicit permission before an organization can share your information.

To combat this sharing of information, the Do Not Track initiative was created. As its creators explain:

Do Not Track is a technology and policy proposal that enables users to opt out of tracking by websites they do not visit, including analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms. At present few of these third parties offer a reliable tracking opt out and tools for blocking them are neither user-friendly nor comprehensive. Much like the popular Do Not Call registry, Do Not Track provides users with a single, simple, persistent choice to opt out of third-party web tracking.