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Ethics and the Internet

Uploaded by djstarchboi on Nov 30, 2000

No one denies that the Internet is the most useful tool for research, business, and education, yet the Internet is the subject of a topic that is as controversial as the legalities of abortion or homosexual rights: ethics and the Internet. Many racy, illegal, and controversial materials are available on the Internet such as pornography and pirated software; on the other hand, many educational tools are on-line as well. This brings a need for a case of ethics in the Internet realm.

A definition of terms used regarding the Internet is necessary for the full understanding of how “unethical” data broadcasts itself around the Internet. The Internet is a worldwide computer network of home, organizational, corporate, and government computers. It is necessary to understand that the Internet is not just composed of web pages, but of files, e-mails, newsgroups, internal computer networks, personal computers, etc.; the media that most often provide the deemed controversial content are explained here. Electronic mail (E-mail) “enables computer users to communicate with and transmit digital material to other … groups of users” (“Internet”). Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a chat system in which messages are displayed real-time (i.e. messages are transmitted immediately and directly to however many receiving computer, all of which are connected to a remote server). File Transfer Protocol (FTP) allows remote computers to transfer information stored in files (such as reports or software) efficiently (“Internet”). Each medium of spreading information plays a large role in the spread of pirated software (Jordan).

Software piracy, often called “warez” as a vulgar term by the pirates themselves (“Warez”), is not just a problem to people; it is a problem to the software industry of the world. A 1999 study conducted by the International Planning and Research Corporation for the Business Software Alliance and Software & Information Industry Association (forthwith referred to as the BSA and SIIA, respectively) shows that, though the percentage of pirated software has reduced in the past 5 years, the per capita expense of the software industry due to piracy has grown. Additionally, the rate of software piracy is still 36 percent (i.e. 36 out of every 100 programs worldwide are pirated; this number is based on the global population’s PC business software applications), which is rather substantial (“1999”). The fact that the rate is 26 percent may lie in the fact that many so-called software pirates hide behind myths that they believe protect...

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Uploaded by:   djstarchboi

Date:   11/30/2000

Category:   Technology

Length:   10 pages (2,284 words)

Views:   2771

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