The evolution of technology has given us ready access to types of information that would have been difficult to imagine twenty years ago. Does our sense of ethics need to change alongside this evolution? Jeff Relkin writes for TechRepublic about ten issues IT managers need to face in this new age of endless data and scrutiny.
More Questions Than Answers
- Does information's availability justify its use?
- How much effort and expense should managers incur in considering questions of data access and privacy?
- What can employers expect from employees with regard to nondisclosure when going to work for another firm?
- What part of an information asset belongs to an organization and what is simply part of an employee's general knowledge?
- Do employees know the degree to which behavior is monitored?
- Does data gathered violate employee privacy rights?
- Is accuracy an explicit part of someone's responsibility?
- Have the implications of potential error been anticipated?
- Have systems been reviewed for the most likely sources of security breach?
- What's the liability exposure of managers and the organization?
Relkin delves into what makes each of these questions so pressing but quickly admits that he has very few answers. These are the types of questions that will be answered over time after experience and trial and error, especially since these questions can be posed from so many angles. On the first issue, Relkin expounds:
Should organizations' ability to collect and process data on exponentially increasing scales be limited in any way? Does the fact that information can be architected for a particular purpose mean it should be, even if by so doing individual privacy rights are potentially violated? If data meant for one use is diverted to another process which is socially redeeming and would result in a greater good or could result in a financial gain, does that mitigate the ethical dilemma, no matter how innocent and pure the motivation?
The takeaway here is not that IT managers carry the weight of the world on their shoulders (although maybe they do), but rather that they need to be mindful of the multifaceted nature of the challenges they face. For more elaboration, read Relkin’s original article: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/10-ethical-issues-confronting-it-managers/