Keynote Address: Is it Right and is it Legal?
At International Multi Topic Conference (IMTIC'08), Jamshoro, Sindh, Pakistan,
11 - 12 Apr 2008.
Should the rules for IT practitioners be the same as are self-imposed by society in general, or something extra? Engineers, and in particular IT professionals, are being called on to take more and more consideration of non-technical factors when designing their systems. Every system they design is meant to be used (ultimately) by people, and yet people are very diverse and work in unexpected ways. We see this in the manager’s role in dealing with his employees, where he now has to cater for their safety, recruitment terms, and what facilities they can and cannot use within the business, for example private e-mail. Information technology itself provides new problems, such as zombies, spam and identity theft. Most importantly, businesses now accumulate vast quantities of digital personal data on their customers. Who is to say how they may or may not use this? Does the IT professional not have a say in what is right, even what is legal? The solutions to this have to be worldwide, and yet most of us can only create a local effect. The best place for an academic to start is in training the future engineers. The paper outlines the background thinking to a Professional & Legal Issues course, given to all second year students of Information Systems, Electronics, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science, at the University of Southampton, UK.
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