Information Technology

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Many advances in information technologies have resulted in new ethical issues making it necessary for the government to create certain acts to be put into effect.  The two that will be discussed in this paper are the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 1986, and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, 1978.  Both of these acts were deemed necessary do to increased computer crimes such as mail fraud, identity theft, and certain types of interstate and foreign country computer crimes.

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 1986

            The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C § 1030, is an amendment made in 1986 to the Counterfeit Access and Device Abuse Act that was passed in 1984.  This Act states that whoever deliberately uses a computer without permission or goes beyond authorized use, obtaining information from any protected computer and if the conduct involved is interstate or foreign communication shall be punished under the Act (Internet Law Treatise, n.d.).

            The law was passed by the United States Congress in 1986 (Internet Law Treatise, n.d.) with the purpose of reducing the intrusion of computer systems and to deal with federal computer-related offenses.  The Act covers cases that have federal interest, where computers of the federal government or certain financial institutions are involved, e.g. banks, credit unions, savings, and loans, where the crime itself involves different states or where computers are used in different states and foreign countries.

Electronic Funds Transfer Act, 1978

             In 1978 the United States Congress passed the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, also known as the EFT Act or Regulation E.  Its purpose was to clarify the rights and liabilities of those involved in the transfer of electronic funds, including consumers.  Its express purpose was to clarify rights and liabilities determined to be unclear under the consumer protection legislation that was in force at the time.  Although the rights and liabilities who transferred electronic funds are touched on, protection of the rights of individual consumers was the focus of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 2009).

Advances in information technology

            Technological advancements have improved the way we communicate, revolutionized how we learn, and expanded our capabilities.  The appearance and rapid spread of inventions like the Internet’s World Wide Web and the growth of computer networks making it possible to connect millions of people worldwide have occurred with startling speed.  Advances in information technology have enable companies to make personalized offers to individual consumers based on information about the consumers.  However, the collection and use of private information have caused a serious concern about privacy invasion by consumers (Lee & Bang 2011).  Today’s technology is aiding in the development of new ideas, rapidly speeding up the development procedures for new computers.  Computer designers are moving from the integrated circuit chips to using DNA chips, e.g. fingerprint technology, it is a step away from geologic roots leading to biologic roots.  The co-founder of Intel Corp., Gordon Moore stated in 1965 that the number of components able to be packed onto a computer chip would double every year.  In 1975, he updated what has become known as Moore’s Law (“Moore’s Law”, 2011) to say that this increase in computing power would double every two years.  This doubling gives way to very rapid growth that has an extraordinarily impact on our lives.  Technological advances used to take years, waiting for some person or corporation inclined to take the risk.  Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Eli Whitney are the inventors most school children learn about but who are the inventors of today?  Technological advances are occurring at a rapid pace; resulting from the efforts of individuals and teams of individuals.

Ethical Issues

            Information technology is made possible by mankind in order to help the earth and make process.  With the power of information technology the key to prosperity is among those with access to it.   As a result, developments in the information systems include social and political connections—making ethical considerations more important in how the information is used.  Information technology systems are in all levels of the private sector, government, and the workplace.  New legal and ethical decisions are needed to equal the needs and rights of all concerned.  Case in point: ‘MySpace Suicide Indictment under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act’ (Jones 2011).   The unethical acts one person committed lead to a tragedy.  Without the technology enabling MySpace the defendant would not have been able to bully the victim. 

Conclusion

            With the ability to gather, store, manipulate, and communicate data made possible by new computer technologies, the use and spread of information has been revolutionized.  Along with this new revolutionized system new ethical dilemmas have came to light.  People have been forced to acknowledge new rights and responsibilities bought on by the speed and effectiveness of electronic information systems that have included local and global networks, databases, and programs that processed the information. With the input of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act being able to create terrorist actions and identity left have made it possible to track, locate and punish the abusers of these new systems.

 

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