Ethical and Social Issues in Information Systems
Courtesy/ aiim


USA Data’s Web site is linked to massive databases that consolidate personal data on millions of people. Anyone with a credit card can purchase marketing lists of consumers broken down by location, age, income level, and interests. If you click on Consumer Leads to order a consumer mailing list, you can find the names, addresses, and sometimes phone numbers of potential sales lead residing in a specific location and purchase the list of those names. One could use this capability to obtain a list, for example, of everyone in Peekskill, New York, making $150,000 or more per year. Do data brokers such as USA Data raise privacy issues? Why or why not? If your name and other personal information were in this database, what limitations on access would you want to preserve your privacy? Consider the following data users: government agencies, your employer, private business firms, and other individuals.

–> Yes, privacy issues are always a concern when a list of people is obtained. Every people want a secure network to work on the internet or on a market. They don’t want to share their personal or family preferences, interests, or any other information with the whole world. So, there must have full secure communication between supplier and customer.

The privacy issues are raised by data brokers because of the following reasons:

  • The idea of information rights is one of the moral dimensions of information systems.
  • It is very easy for data hackers or brokers to obtain simple information about customers through cookies, web beacons, and spyware.
  • It would be easy for hackers to obtain a user’s personal information that is stored on a low-security network site.
  • Much of the monitoring and tracking of website visitors occurs in the background without the visitor’s knowledge.

If my name and other personal information were in this database, the limitations on access that I would want to preserve my privacy are as follows:

  • I will raise information rights and obligations.
  • I will like to inquire about property rights and obligations.
  • There must be a proper side for accountability and control.
  • They must provide me with a belief in maintaining proper system quality. Also, I would demand a quality of life.

Hence, I would not let any data brokers flow my private data in an open market. I would track the working ideas of data brokers and can’t set them free if they have misused my data.

I would also limit them to not providing my personal data to any other companies before consulting me, manually or electronically.



As the head of a small insurance company with six employees, you are concerned about how effectively your company is using its networking and human resources. Budgets are tight, and you are struggling to meet payrolls because employees are reporting many overtime hours. You do not believe that the employees have a sufficiently heavy workload to warrant working longer hours and are looking into the amount of time they spend on the Internet.


Ethical and Social Issues in Information Systems 1

Each employee uses a computer with Internet access on the job. You requested the preceding weekly report of employee Web usage from your information systems department.


Calculate the total amount of time each employee spent on the Web for the week and the total amount of time that company computers were used for this purpose. Rank the employees in the order of the amount of time each spent online.

–> The chart presents the total amount of time each employee spent on the web including the total amount of time used for company purposes:

Ethical and Social Issues in Information Systems 2

Ranking the employees in the order of the amount of time each spent online in increasing order:

Ethical and Social Issues in Information Systems 3


Do your findings and the contents of the report indicate any ethical problems employees are creating? Is the company creating an ethical problem by monitoring its employees’ use of the Internet?

–> Yes, my findings and the contents of the report indicate some ethical problems that the employees are creating. Employees are not actually working for the company on overtime. But they are visiting the personal site and just trying to show that they are doing hard work in extra time.

And it leads to paying out more salaries to employees and can affect the company’s budget when it is already in a tight state. Also, they are using more social sites and it will be easy for a hacker to steal the company’s private information through employee social profiling.

Yes, the company is also creating an ethical problem by monitoring its employees’ use of the Internet because the employees are using DoubleClick which is the profiling application of public people.


Use the guidelines for the ethical analysis presented in this chapter to develop a solution to your identified problems.

–> The solutions for the ethical problems that I have identified are as follows:

  • I will clarify what to do by whom and where, when, and how.
  • I will give them a limited last hour to work and not let them work any extra hours.
  • I will not let them visit any social site from the company’s computers.
  • All the employees will be given a defined task with a daily objective.
  • They will be punished if they try to steal another company’s member’s profiling.

Since ethical issues are very much important to be considered for functioning the company in a good way. So, the company must use ethical analysis as a guide to maintaining healthy competition on ethical and social rights.


Extracted From

Laudon, K. C., & Laudon, J. P. (2012). Management Information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm (12th ed.). Pearson Education.

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Founder and Author at Superb Future. Babu is a student of Business specializing in Sales and Marketing Management. "Everyone is a marketer, whether you are a businessman or a homemaker."


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