Introduction to Computer Information Systems and Ethics

This text provides a comprehensive overview of how information systems relate to ethics. While reading, consider the relationship between ethical action and legal remedies. Many people think that the ethical issues raised by new technologies are just the same issues in a new form. Do you agree or disagree? Has technology created a new class of ethical issues? What are the difficulties raised by creating new laws and regulations to solve these issues?

Environmental Issues

Green Computing

Green computing is the study of designing, engineering, and manufacturing using and disposing of computing devices in a way that reduces their environmental impact. This refers to the use of computers in an environmentally friendly manner, but computing is not currently as environmental friendly. According to the guide to greener electronics only 2 out of 18 of the PC are considered on the green rating. The reason is because companies are subjected to make energy and hence cost saving in the face of rising electricity prices. One of the activates that could help environmental savings is existing hardware which can be in place of it there are software's called LittleGreenGenie. This software permit certain individuals to measure reduce and carbon offset from computer use. Its stats that it takes about 1.8 tons of chemicals, fossil fuels and water to produce a typical desktop computer and there's about one billion PCs sold. Although putting a computer on standby or sleep mode will save a lot of power, people are unaware that shutting down a computer doesn't completely turn it off because the computer power supply will remain physically switched on. This leads the motherboard still partially on waiting for a signal to boot up again. The following are certain tasks that can be beneficial in reducing energy consumption which are lower power hard drive, visualization, cloud computing, energy effecting coding, improved repair, re-use recycling and disposable and less pollutant manufacture. The only true, current, disadvantage to green computing are underpowered devices and costs.

Solar Power

Solar Panel

Instead of reducing energy consumption and electricity costs, another option is to use solar power. Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic cells. These cells can be packaged into a frame, and a frame into an array, based on how much solar power is needed for the building or area. The process has slowly become cheaper due to our increase in technology and knowledge of solar power. As of right now, we are considered to be in our third generation of solar power because of our use of new materials like nanotubes, silicon wires, and solar inks. This is a step up from the first generation, which used solely silicon as a material, and then the second generation, which used thin-film solar panels. As the capability of solar power becomes cheaper, more products are incorporating solar power as a power source. Examples of this are the solar powered phone charger and solar powered calculator. Solar powered calculators have been around for a while because calculators do not require much energy, so the solar panel is very small and therefore cheap. The solar powered charger has come out more recently because the newer flexible technology made it feasible to produce. Solar power has been a greener way to consume energy.

Recycling of Computers and Other Electronics

Given the reliance of the commercial world on computer technology it is easy to overlook the inherent unsustainability of computer production. Computers have become embedded in contemporary culture and play a crucial role in the global economy, but as the industrialized world continues to degrade the environment one must become aware of the negative impacts of computer use and consequently work with possible ways to reduce them. The Chicago Recycling Coalition states that, on average, 240 kg of fossil fuels are consumed in the process of producing a desktop PC. In a time when fossil fuel supplies are decreasing at an alarming rate it is important now more than ever to be conscious of consumer decisions. The issue of fossil fuels aside, computers contain arsenic and mercury while computer monitors can contain several pounds of lead. This is one reason why simply disposing computers into landfills is problematic. Instead, the Chicago Recycling Coalition advises consumers to donate computers to various organizations and charities, give older computers to family and friends who need them, and find locations that offer recycling services. The EPA provides a utility that helps consumers and manufacturers know where they can donate or recycle their electronics. Mobile devices, PCs and TVs make up the "Electronic Devices" category, and after selecting a device one can choose a company to see what services are offered.

You should recycle computers. Don't throw them away.

Before recycling your computers you may want to do a few things. In order to protect your information and privacy, you should wipe out your hard drive. However, just deleting files is not enough. Cyber criminals are very capable people and they will find a way to find information on your hard drive that you "deleted" the information. There are programs on the internet that you can use to "sanitize" your hard drive. An even easier way is to just remove the hard drive altogether. Other ways to recycle your devices is to donate them. You could even help your community out by having a fundraiser to collect everyone's technological garbage and then you can donate them. This not only helps the community but also the environment. Now if you're not looking to get rid of your entire computer you do have a printer. You will always come to the problem of running out of ink. Instead of throwing out these old cartridges, you could just have them refilled. Not only is this good for the environment, but it can also help you save money because refilling ink cartridges is worth a fraction of the cost of buying new ones.


Huge amounts of e-waste is not disposed of properly.

E-trash, or e-waste, is a growing problem in modern society. The issue of dealing with the huge amounts of electronics that are being outdated and thrown away asks the question; what do we do with all this junk? Although e-waste only makes up about 2% of America's trash in landfills, it comprises 70% of the country's toxic waste. A lot of this toxicity is because of the huge amounts of lead that can be found in electronics. Between 20 and 50 million metric tons of e-waste is disposed of every year, but only about 12.5% of e-waste is actually recycled properly. It is important to recycle e-waste not just to protect the environment but also to harvest the high amounts of precious metals within the electronics. Just in cell phones alone, over $60 million in gold and silver is dumped ever year. Electronics can be taken to recyclers for support. There are many non-profit groups that offer recycling of old devices. There are also drop-off locations throughout the US that allow you to dispose of devices and batteries. A lot of "e-waste" is actually not waste at all, and can be recycled and reused if dealt with properly. E-waste is unfortunately shipped to developing countries illegally, which is not a responsible or ethical way of managing the waste. In order to ensure that your e-waste is properly recycled you should find a recycling center near you. You can use this website to find a local center and learn how to properly dispose of your electronic waste!

Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005

Movie Copyright Laws

There's no question that copyright laws are pushed to the side when it comes to copying illegal things such as movies, music, and videos. People act as if there is nothing to risk, and it does not matter if you break the law. However, the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, which was passed in 2005, made these offenses just a little bit more serious. The law worked to make three offenses more defined and punishable than they were before. First, it made sure that no one was allowed to bring a camcorder into a movie and record it. This works to stop people from selling movies that they do not have legal copyrights to. Second, it worked to make sure that there was no illegal prerelease of movies that had not yet been released to the public. The act actually states that this offense is punishable by a large fine or even time in jail. Finally, it allowed certain technology to be installed into DVD players that permits the user to automatically skip or mute entire portions of a DVD, allowing them to get passed crude, violent, or inappropriate parts that they would not have wanted to watch. Basically, the law just worked to reinforce previous copyright laws that seemed to be pushed aside without users giving them any consideration.

Other Related Legislation

Don't break the law

The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 is just one example of the several laws surrounding intellectual property rights. The U.S. Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of 1999 makes domain name cybersquatting illegal. This law was targeted at "cybersquatters" who register internet domain names containing trademarks with no intention of creating a legitimate website, but instead plan to sell the domain name to the trademark owner or a third party. For example, if a new trademarked company by the name of Shmauffle wanted to create a website called, a person who bought the domain name, and is doing nothing with it, has to give it up to Schmauffle. Another major law is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act(DMCA), which makes it illegal to circumvent antipiracy measures built into digital media and devices. Other laws, such as ones to increase penalties for illegally sharing music via internet, are proposed on a regular basis. Legislation regarding ethics has proven to be much more difficult to pass. For example, laws surrounding the distribution of indecent or offensive material online can be declared unconstitutional based the right to free speech. As a result, very few ethically oriented laws have been passed in recent years.