With the introduction of computers globally in the 1990s, the entire approach of working, communicating and storing important information has been changed. I mean who would have thought that a machine can make one convey a message at any corner of the world with just a click of a button, when it took days for them to receive letters and telegrams! Who would have thought that computers will give us the access to all the information across the globe through the use of internet.
I mean, who goes to libraries these days to read books on history and ancient cultures when you can sit at home and surf each and every information. With computers giving us so much of ease and freedom, there are high chances that this freedom may be used in an 'unethical way'. This is where the role of computer ethics come into picture.
Why is it Important to Follow Computer Ethics?
What are ethics? Well, ethics are the moral values that stop you from doing anything that is not legal and that does not harm or damage anyone else's work, or interests. Ethics are something that are embittered in us from childhood. Remember when the teacher said, "Do not copy someone else's homework"? Or when the monitor asked to stand in the line. These simple etiquette and ethics help the environment to be more safe, friendly and co-operative for others around. Computer ethics are nothing but how we use our personal morals and ethics while using the computer for various purposes.
They consist of all the rules that you would apply to not misuse any information that is not yours to use, or to access any data that is not owned by you. With issues like cyber crimes, plagiarism, hacking and password thefts, it has become important to know the importance of computer ethics to be able to create a safe computer-based environment.
✔ Prevents Misuse of Personal Information
Computers have made the world come closer, be it personally or professionally! Most of us find it more convenient to shop online rather than going out. For this we are asked to give out our personal information like name, date of birth and most importantly, our 'credit card information'! Ask yourself, if you know that people don't follow computer ethics everywhere, would you feel safe to give out all this information? On the contrary, if you have read their privacy policies and know that they abide by the cyber laws and computer ethics, you know for a fact that your personal information will not be misused.
✔ Prevents Theft of Intellectual Property
What is intellectual property? Well, unlike physical forms of properties like car or house, intellectual property refers to the property created by the mind! The internet consists of various intellectual properties which includes works of various researchers, writers, song artists and so on. Without the presence of computer ethics, the work created by the intellect of one person can be easily copied and plagiarized by someone else. Imagine how you would feel if your poetry has been copied and publicized under someone else's name? Now do you know what following computer ethics and privacy policies is important?
✔ Prevents Loss of Various Jobs in the field of Software Development
There are thousands of people globally that are working in companies that develop computer programs and software. However, if we find out a way to get these software without having to pay the price, most of us would prefer piracy over paying, right? Have you ever wondered, how this can cost the employees working in these companies their job. The general mentality of most of the people downloading software illegally is that these companies are very rich and it really wouldn't affect them..., even if it does, who cares? However, the point to be kept in mind is, what if the one who had to pay the price is someone close to you. Imagine, there are thousands of people getting involved in unethical downloads and distribution. In fact, a report reveals that a significant number of the people prefer never to pay for a software and get involved in piracy!
✔ Keeps you from being Unethical!
It's not that you need to follow computer ethics to show others. However, by following these ethics, you would know what you need to do to be a responsible user and keep yourself from getting into trouble by being unethical. Trouble? Well, yes, there are various laws that can put you behind bars if you are caught violating the privacy policies and norms of individual websites. I remember reading that a school had to pay almost $5 million as fine for using pirated software, it was later that they realized that getting a license would have been much more economical.
✔ Makes Your Computer a Better and Safe place to be At
Your computer is not just an electronic device for communication, it is your data store, your photo album, your work recorder, your social network, your calculator and what not..., it is what you are! If you get involved in downloading information or accessing portals that you are not allowed to, you are opening the doors of various issues and threats like viruses and Trojans that can illegally enter your system and crash it completely! On the other hand, if your system is used in the way it is supposed to, you are creating a safer and a better atmosphere wherein you can rest assured that your work and your personal information is absolutely safe and secure.
Computer ethics are something that cannot be imposed on you, it is rather something that should be followed out of your own will and desire. The way you use the computer to access information speaks a lot about you and your ethical values. What would you do if you get your colleague's password? Would you ask him or her to change it since you accidentally found out, or would you try to get some information that you are not supposed to? There are two kinds of people in this world, one who follow the rules and respect them at the same time, and the others who don't really care. Should you care about the ethics involved in becoming a responsible citizen? You decide! Nevertheless, if you are caught, rest assured the authorities won't care about you as well!