Ethical dilemmas in the use of information technology: An aristotelian perspective

Ethics and Behavior 6 (2):153 – 160 (1996)
As computer-based information systems start to have a great impact on people, organizations, and society as a whole, there is much debate about information technology in relation to social control and privacy, security and reliability, and ethics and professional responsibilities. However, more often than not, these debates reveal some fundamental disagreements, sometimes about first principles. In this article the authors suggest that a fruitful and interesting way to conceptualize some of these moral and ethical issues associated with the use of information technology is to apply the principles of Aristotle's ethics to this topic. They argue that framing the moral and ethical choices associated with information technology in Aristotelian terms draws attention to the fact that there are fundamental dilemmas to be addressed. These dilemmas are discussed in relation to the four areas suggested by Dejoie, Fowler, and Paradice (1991): (a) privacy, (b) information accuracy, (c) access to information, and (d) intellectual property rights. The dilemmas associated with all four areas are illustrated with references to recent legal developments in Australia and New Zealand.
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