Reflection of Information Technology Professional and Society at UTS

Table of Contents

1. Introduction:  what I already know and expected to learn.
2. Reflection of Study.
2.1. Learn from reading and lecture.
2.2. Learn from Presentation(PT)
2.3. Learn from Tutorial and online discussion.
3. Conclusion: difference to my future life.

1. Introduction:  what I already know and expected to learn.

I have had some experience with ethical issues in the industry, because I have worked in a financial company which had a high level of ethical standard. While I was working, a few fraud cases had occurred. Only a few of cases were disclosed to newspapers and media broadcasts. But the actual number of the cases were more than most people realise. This is the so-called human risk factor which is hard to control so that companies need to keep on educating their employees. Nevertheless, fraud cases never stop because the temptation of fraud is strong. I also learned about code of ethics for a Chartered Financial Analyst, which is the first experience of learning organised written form of ethics guide. Thus, when I started the IT Professional and Society (ITPS) subject, I expected to learn the IT version of Code of Ethics and some ethical and social issues related to the IT industry such as privacy concerns. I also hoped to have a chance to discuss with students various current IT issues.

2. Reflection of Study

2.1. Learn from reading and lecture

As I expected, in the first week, I came to know that there is the Australia Computer Society (ACS) Code of Ethics for IT professionals (Australian Computer Society 2005), which is somewhat similar to the financial version of code of ethics for CFA. In fact, every line of the code of ethics gives basic information about guidelines of their work. Nevertheless, in many cases, the context we are in is not as simple as applying the Code of Ethics directly. In some situations, decision can be very uncertain. In such unclear cases, ethical theory, which was taught by Dr. Roman, such as utilitarian’s perspective was helpful to me to set a framework for what is ethical for the whole society (Rainbow 2002). For example, new technologies such as geo-tagging, Social Networking Service (SNS), Location Based Service (LBS) are changing the society much faster than we expected. These new IT services can provide valuable products or services to society. However, the side effects always exist and these will. Thus, we need to address those concerns whenever we deal with new technology.

2.2. Learn from Presentation(PT)

For my presentation in tutorial class, I chose Wikileaks, the website that discloses highly confidential information to the public, such as ‘Iraq War Truth’. This public disclosure is highly controversial and is mixed with political, social and technical factors. One lesson that I learned from this topic is that when an IT professional decides on certain actions, which might cross the line, he or she needs to consider for ‘the good’ of the society and in such cases, it may be hard to follow the ACS Code of Ethics literally. The bigger picture may be considered by some in a real and complex world. Even though IT professionals who work in Wikileaks might violate parts of the code of ethics, such as the responsibility to maintain the privacy of individuals, what they have done is a disclosed ‘the truth’.  Truth is an most important value.One ‘truth’, which I came to know during the research, is that there is a blacklist in Australia for censoring the website (disclosed by Wikileaks). If Wikileaks did not disclose this, the authority may still be denying the fact that they have such a blacklist to censoring website in Australia.Since the presentation was through group work, cooperation skills were needed for good results. I should not have assumed that other students would be the same as me. Moreover, some lessons about presentation were learned by me. These are as follows: good English is essential to deliver the meaning clearly. However, being a native speaker does not guarantee a good presentation. Rather, logical structure, clear message and practice make a great presentation.There were some points that I wanted to learn more through presentation session. One was the importance of the duration, a presentation should be kept, which may be critical in business. The other was the feedback in detail, which could improve my presentation skill. It is hard to improve these skills without a feedback.In my second presentation, the topic was about geo-tag, which is the technology that can merge geographic information with photos, videos and any other digital information. What we needed to understand might be the balance between the positive and negative perspective of this technology. However, many students focused more on ethical issues than the potential of the technology due to feeling like we had do find negative issues. Therefore, the positive potential of the technology was overlooked. Students seem to increase the tendency to see the facts through a negative lens. I personally tried to focus my research more on the positive potential of each technology or news of IT because I believe that this approach is what works for world to evolve in a better way.The main issue about geo-tagging is privacy which can put the photo up-loader in danger. For example, the car of a photo up-loader can be stolen due to the geo-tagged photo which releases the exact position of the car and shows the status of the car such as how much secure it is or whether it is brand new or not.

2.3. Learn from Tutorial and online discussion

The strategy for analysing ethical dilemmas, which was taught in the tutorial class, was useful in my study. I used ‘the Four Step Approach’ as 1) analyse the fact, 2) isolate the ethical and legal issues, 3) decide on how to resolve the situation and 4) prepare a strategy to prevent recurrence, to analyse the real case of the Wikileaks to prepare  the presentation in tutorial.Another point that I was taught in the tutorial class was that everything can be explained differently, based on the stand one takes.  For example, telemarketing, which was one of the topics in tutorial class, may be annoying to potential customers who might be unpleasantly interrupted by the cold call. Nevertheless, it makes good tactic for the marketers to sell or advertise their goods and services.With regard to the online discussion board, many students shared more active opinions than during the tutorial. Some of these were quite interesting. One of them is debate about internet censorship because I found that many students argued that censorship on the internet is required for inappropriate content to be blocked. As far as I am concerned, this argument overlooks the political aspect that might exist behind the scene. This tendency was often found among Asian students. However, western students have the tendency to focus more on freedom of speech than control.Due to the various opinions from the students all over the world, it is hard to have a personal framework to evaluate the issues. Sometimes, students make me confused about what is really ethical and valuable to the whole society because there can be many positions and opinions for. Furthermore, some issues are unclear. The decision depends on the position where students stand as the tutor said.

3. Conclusion: difference to my future life

It might be a lie if I argue that the study of one semester significantly influenced me to change my personal ethical attitude to society because ethical attitudes are constructed through one’s cultural background and family history over a long time. However, at least, it was a good chance to become aware of different views on the same issues and how much difference can exists.The world is complex so that we cannot simply decide what is good and what is bad. Every decision is made in a particular context that has a various factors and sometimes these factors might force one to give up an ethical choice to pursue money. In a real case, it might be extremely difficult to keep to the Code of Ethics every time. However, based on my conscience, I would do my best to contribute to society in a better way in my future life as an IT professional. Keeping the code of ethics is only starting point considering the many ethical dilemmas one may face in her professional life. I am more aware that some ‘ethical’ dilemmas may be helped with the Code o Ethics. It is a useful tool to ‘stop and think’ in different situations.ReferencesAustralian Computer Society 2005, ‘ACS Code of Ethics’, Australian Computer Society, viewed 16 October 2010, .Rainbow, C. 2002, ‘Descriptions of Ethical Theories and Principles’, An Investigation of Current Ethical Issues in Scientific Research, viewed 26 Oct 2010, /Theories.htm

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