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IT Ethics Assignment: Analysis of Ethical Theories

Question

Task:Choose one of the media articles or case studies from the following list:

  1. https://www.scu.edu/ethics/focus-areas/internet-ethics/resources/students-and-sensors-data-education-privacy-and-research/
  2. https://www.scu.edu/ethics/focus-areas/internet-ethics/resources/ai-death-and-mourning/
  3. . https://www.scu.edu/ethics/focus-areas/internet-ethics/resources/chinas-social-credit-score/
  4. https://www.scu.edu/ethics/focus-areas/internet-ethics/resources/targeting-a-broken-heart/
  5. https://www.scu.edu/ethics/focus-areas/internet-ethics/resources/data-collection-harvesting-personalities-online/

Use the title of the article/case study provided as the title of your essay, so that I will know which article you are analysing. Undertake further research about your chosen case, to assist you in analysing and discussing it in your essay.

In your essay, you are required to analyse your chosen article/case study from the perspective of four classical ethical theories including utilitarianism, deontology, virtue and contract. Your essay should present well-reasoned arguments for your assessments and recommendations.

Write an overall conclusion that justifies your recommendations made in your essay. Include a Reference list at the end of your work, in the correct APA referencing style, corresponding to in-text citations.

The word limit for the essay is 1400-1500 words. Headings, citations and references do not count towards the word limit, but quotations do.

Answer

Introduction
We are providing some sample solutions of IT ethics assignments, to help you in building up a concept plan in drafting the solution yourselves. Ethics is a part of philosophy and set of moral principles that define a human character. In this IT ethics solution it is defined that the concept of right, wrong, conduct obligation, fairness, benefits of society etc. Information ethics mainly focused on the use of information and creation, dissemination and organisation. In IT, every individual needs to follow the ethical behaviour. Ethics in IT emphasizes the self-interest of a person, unite the people, improves the decision making capability and create the credibility. This also secures the society and satisfied the requirements of a business organisation. The student consigned us with this task because it was an IT ethics Assignment holding very demanding deliverables.

Analysis of ethical theories
The ethical theories are divided into four major classes -Utilitarianism theory, Deontology theory, Virtue theory, and Contract theory.

Utilitarianism Theory: Utilitarianism Theory is based on consequence. Peters (2015) stated that this theory focuses on the right and wrong effect due to one's action. The principle of this theory is to apply directly to everyone's action based on the situation. It defines the right act which can give the best result. In the IT Ethics Assignment, it has been observed that the Facebook gives the notification to all the advertising companies about the user's signal. The Facebook informs the advertising companies and then the advertising company provides the user with a relevant advertisement matching with his mood (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics 2018). Suppose any user posts any sad status like "detox", ‘suffering', ‘drowning sorrow', ‘healing' then immediately Facebook marks themselves as single or can understand that they are going through a bad time. Then Facebook sends these users’ signal to the advertising company and then he will receive the advertisement of any trip or vacation which can heal the user's mind.

According to Utilitarianism Theory, if the result of any action or motto of any action gives the benefits to everyone then it is correct and acceptable. According to Schwartz (2016), this theory states the best action with maximum utility gives the pleasurable effects to everyone and reduced the negative consequence for a major part of people. So in a simple word, this theory focuses on the action which makes the people happy than harm the people. The Facebook case supports this ethical theory as by sending the notification the Facebook gets benefits, the advertising companies gain the profit and the user also get advantages by refreshing his mind.

Deontology theory : Deontology theory is based on duty or obligation. Macklin & Sherwin (2017) stated that it focuses on the consequence of the action or habit and character of the actor. As per the theory, the morality is the responsibility and well duty for everyone. Suppose if a man steals some food to feed his family then deontology will support this as the man doing his duty for the family. But if anyone proposed to kill everybody in the land to make the world without starvation then definitely this action is not supported by the deontologist. According to Deontology theory, ethical rules attach the people to their duty.

It suggests to do the right thing and do it as it is right, don't do the wrong thing and avoid it, not to harm the people and everyone should do the right thing even if the result is bad like it would be wrong if anyone tells lie to save his friend. The Facebook case does not support this theory. As the action of Facebook, to give the user's signal to the advertising companies is a bad action. It breaks the trust and integrity of the user. Monitoring the user's activity is not wrong as it is done to control any illegal activity but get benefits from that and profits for own purpose that is the wrong action. The theory first identifies the right and wrong action then verify the consequence whether the action is correct or not. So considering the Deontology theory the case study of Facebook breaks the ethical rules by doing wrong action.

Virtue theory: Virtue theory emphasizes an individual's character. Hajli (2014) asserted that this theory is different from other ethics theory. This theory focuses on the person's individual character, not in his actions. If the person does any unethical work then Virtue theory will consider the person's reputation and the purpose of committing the act. Suppose a witty, intelligent, diligent student doing cheating in his class assignment then as per the Virtue theory the student's past reputation will analyse to determine whether the student is guilty or not. The Facebook case does not support this Virtue theory. Not only the action of Facebook is right but also from past they are used to do that action that is to send the user's activities to the other companies.

Facebook breaks the trust, integrity, and honesty of the users. Facebook has used the user's personal information and activity for their own business purpose and all the advertising companies also use the information to get profits. According to Guillén, Ferrero & Hoffman (2015), moral virtue is a habit which helps to choose the correct action. This theory analyses the integrity that is honesty of the actor. In the case, Facebook also not show any integrity to the entire Facebook user. Facebook uses the information for its own benefits and Facebook can't control itself to leak the user's information to the advertising companies for personal gain. So, analysing all the ethics of virtue theory it can be concluded that the Facebook case study does not support the Virtue theory and the action on Facebook is unethical.

Contract theory: Contract theory is based on community. Jacobs & Huldtgren (2018) stated that social contract is an agreement between two individuals which results in the form of a state or of any organised society. According to the contract theory, the person's moral and political obligations are depended on any agreement or contract. This theory helps to maintain the social order. As an example, someone steals some money from other. The other one denies from having it. Then the situation can be handled in two ways to solve the matter by fighting or attempt to take the money back. As per the social contract theory, the men must put their faith in a legalised way. In the Facebook case, the social contract theory has not followed.

All the Facebook account holders agree on the terms and condition given by the Facebook while creating their account on this social platform. So Facebook should follow that contract but they break their conditions by leaked all the information regarding user's activity for their personal benefits to the clients. According to Chell, E., Spence, Perrini, & Harris (2016) the social contract theory suggests that if people in the society live together with an agreement then it will help to build a political and moral rule of behaviour. Like for a country constitution is a social contract, each and every citizen should follow that rules. Similarly, on any social platform, there is an agreement or some specific terms and condition which every user's as well as the developer should abide by. But in the case study, Facebook has not maintained this. Thus, by considering the social contract theory the case of Facebook interrupt the ethical value.

Recommendation
Analysing all the ethical theories it can be recommended that Facebook should not leak the customer's activity to the other clients. The users are contracted with Facebook, not the advertising companies so the advertising companies can do anything for their own benefits. But Facebook breaks the rules and do unethical work. Considering the Utilitarianism Theory, Facebook has followed the ethics as this theory is based on consequence, not the action. By the action of Facebook all advertising companies, Facebook and also the users get benefits. But Facebook does not support Deontology theory as it based on action, not the result and Facebook has done an unethical work. Facebook should not send the information about the user's activity. Facebook should control this wrong action. Virtue theory and contract theory are also not followed by Facebook. Facebook has no right to break the trust of the user and also need not to use the user's emotion for their own purpose. They have smashed the moral values. Facebook also breaks the agreement with the user which disrupt the social ethical value. They disobey the terms and condition which may create a bad impact on society. So, it is recommended that Facebook should follow ethical concern mentioned in the Deontology, virtual, social contract theory.

Conclusion
In this IT Ethics Assignment, the concept of the code of ethics has been demonstrated. The main four prisms of the ethics namely Utilitarianism Theory, Deontology, Virtual, Social contract theory have described and for the Facebook case which theory is followed and which is not is analysed. The Facebook case supports the Utilitarianism Theory as the theory is based on the result, not the action. All get the benefits by the action of Facebook. But the others theory is not followed. Facebook breaks the integrity and trust. They utilize the user's emotion for their own benefits. They also break the agreement with the user and interrupt the ethical value. IT Ethics assignments are being prepared by our IT assignment help experts from top universities which let us to provide you a reliable Information Technology Assignment Help service.

References
Peters, R. S. (2015). Ethics and Education (Routledge Revivals). Abingdon: Routledge. Retrieved from https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781317494782

Guillén, M., Ferrero, I., & Hoffman, W. M. (2015). The neglected ethical and spiritual motivations in the workplace. Journal of business ethics, 128(4), 803-816. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10551-013-1985-7

Hajli, M. N. (2014). A study of the impact of social media on consumers. International Journal of Market Research, 56(3), 387-404.Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2501/IJMR-2014-025

Macklin, R., & Sherwin, S. (2017). Experimenting on human subjects: Philosophical perspectives. In Human Experimentation and Research (pp. 33-70). Routledge. Retrieved from https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781351772396/chapters/10.4324%2F9781315198231-2

Schwartz, M. S. (2016). Ethical decision-making theory: An integrated approach. Journal of Business Ethics, 139(4), 755-776. Retrieved from

Chell, E., Spence, L. J., Perrini, F., & Harris, J. D. (2016). Social entrepreneurship and business ethics: Does social equal ethical?. Journal of business ethics, 133(4), 619-625. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10551-014-2439-6

Jacobs, N., & Huldtgren, A. (2018). Why value sensitive design needs ethical commitments. Ethics and Information Technology, 1-4. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10676-018-9467-3

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, (2018), Targeting a Broken Heart, retrieved from https://www.scu.edu/ethics/focus-areas/internet-ethics/resources/targeting-a-broken-heart/ on 16/8/2018

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