To define exactly what computer ethics is a difficult task due to it being tied to an evolving technology, the field changes whenever the technology changes.
Computer ethics did not truly exist as an ethical discipline until the 1970’s. Walter Maner was the first to use such a term stating it as “ethical problems aggravated, transformed or created by computer technology” [Maner, 1978]. While new ethical problems have arisen he also stated that old or existing problems have been made worse due to the expansion of information technology. Since then, several people have had different views on what computer ethics actually is.
In 1985 Deborah Johnson wrote a book entitled Computer ethics. It defined computer ethics as the study that “pose new versions of standard moral problems and moral dilemmas, exacerbating the old problems, and forcing us to apply ordinary moral norms in uncharted realms” [Johnson, 1985]. Johnson was similar to that of Maner however; she did not believe computers created new ethical issues. Instead, recommending computers solely altered the existing issues by giving them a “twist”.
The best defini...
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...arter Kit in Computer Ethics, Helvetia Press (published in cooperation with the National Information and Resource Center for Teaching Philosophy). [Originally self-published by Maner in 1978.]
Moor, James H. (1985) "What Is Computer Ethics?" In Bynum, Terrell Ward, ed. (1985) Computers and Ethics, Blackwell, 266-75. [Published as the October 1985 issue of Metaphilosophy.]
Spafford, Eugene, et al. (1989) Computer Viruses: Dealing with Electronic Vandalism and Programmed Threats, ADAPSO.
Tavani, Herman T. (1999) "Privacy On-Line," Computers and Society, Vol. 29, No. 4, 11-19.
TechWeb. (April 15, 2004) "Average PC plauged with 28 pieces of Spyware" (CMP), Avaliable: http://www.techweb.com/wire/26804582 (Acessed: September 17, 2005)
Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.6)
Copyright © 2003-2005 Lexico Publishing Group, LLC
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