Computer Ethics References

Netiva Caftori

Fall 2005

I hope we'll learn from each other

Welcome to Computer Ethics!

You are encouraged to contribute.
This course is a survey of the ethical issues involved in computing. It discusses the way that computers and software pose new ethical questions or pose new versions of standard moral problems and dilemmas. It stresses case studies that relate to ethical theory.

In light of recent scandals affecting the business world such as the Enron and Worldcom debacles, the need for studies in ethics is more relevant now than ever before. A great deal of ethical quandries presently deal with electronic information, computers and the internet. Software piracy, MP3s, email spamming, and hacking are just a few of the issues that present ethical dilemmas to members of the information technology community. The computer science student must acquaint him or herself with these issues and develop an ethical imperative so that he/she can be a productive member of society.

This course is designed to educate existing and future business managers and IT professionals on the tremendous impact ethical issues play in the use of information technology in the modern business world. The topics covered are extremely current and relevant to anyone preparing to enter the field of IT. Students will get the foundation they need to make appropriate decisions when faced with difficult situations and make a positive impact in the field of information technology.

Instructor's Office hours Course schedule Mystery murder
Course description Evaluate this course Textbook
Grading Philosophy Assignments Sample readings
N. Caftori's mail to Home Page
~~~ Powerpoint presentation in computer ethics.

Topics covered in this class include:

  • Voting and Volunteer on voting day
  • Privacy issues
  • gender issues
  • ACM Code of ethics.
  • General theory as covered by Roger Gilman's presentation, and
  • a Reverse-engineering case study.
  • Read course description and grading philosophy

    Textbook: Computer Ethics, 3rd edition, by Deborah G. Johnson, Prentice hall, 2001
    Other books or articles of interest:

  • Computer & Information Ethics by Marsha Woodbury, Stipes, 2003.
  • Programming as if People Mattered, by Nathaniel S. Borenstein, Princeton Univ. Press, 1991.
  • Ethics in Information Technology, by George Reynolds, Thomson, Course Technology, 2003.
  • The Case of the Killer Robot: From Design to Disasters: An exploration in Computer Ethics. by Richard G. Epstein, Wiley, 1997
  • the 2nd edition of "Readings in CyberEthics" edited by Richard Spinello and Herman Tavani, Jones and Bartlett, 2004.
  • Ethics in Information Technology by George Reynolds
  • YouTube on Remix manifesto
  • International Center for Information Ethics, (ICIE) and their journal.

    Ethics course by my colleague Marsha Woodburry, at UIUC. This used to serve as our textbook.

    Another Ethics course by Edward Gheringer

    Other site, and a newer one he suggested

    Herman has published numerous books and articles about computer and information ethics from which I just mention two: "Readings in CyberEthics" (co-edited with Richard Spinello) Sudbury, MA, second ed. 2004 and "Ethics and Technology" John Wiley & Sons 2004. More about the work of Herman Tavani

    Online ethics for engineering and ethics

    Some of my papers on ethics:

  • Computers and major ethical problems in the world, with Alfred Bork at Electronic ethics in the 21st century (EEI21) conference in Memphis, 1998
  • Ethical reflections at EEI21, Memphis University, 2001
  • Panel on ethics at Loyola university
  • Ethics in education
  • Ethical Implications of Technology, 1999
  • The Therac accident by Nancy Leveson.
  • and more

  • Tentative syllabus by Jordan.

    See also his MS project on ethics

    Other texts on ethics that may be useful to you include:

  • Readings in CyberEthics, 2nd edition, edited by Richard Spinello and Herman Tavani, Jones and Bartlett.
  • Simon Blackburn's short pithy _Being Good_.
  • The first few chapters of Alasdair MacIntyre's _After Virtue_.
  • See video on how vulnerable your privacy is. Take action!
  • For your assignments you may need to read the weekly readings and comment on Blackboard.

  • How to create a home page
  • How to use the on-line library and its services, such as Interlibrary loans to have an article delivered right to your desk:)
  • ~~~

    The Killer Robot

    A Robbie CX30 robot killed its operator at CyberWidgets, Inc. in Silicon Valley. Could someone have programmed the robot to ice that guy? In the Valley many feel it won't be easy to assign blame.

    See my Killer Robot power-point presentation.




    In this book (the Killer Robot) a dynamic exploration of a fictional industrial accident and the possible ramifications of poor engineering design are presented in an informative, yet entertaining look at how computers can affect society. Enjoy the reading and take notes for class...

    Robot site

    Go over the different cases portrayed in the site above, taken from the book.

    Killer or programmer? quiz...

    Sorry for this joke

    Return to Dr. Caftori's

    Thanks for visiting here!

    Sample summaries by students.

    Last updated 2/27/10