Ethics, in general, are the moral values held by an individual, therefore, professional ethics will refer to the moral values exercised by an individual in a corporate environment. Moreover, it will outline the good or bad that is done by a person in workplace environment based on a moral obligation . According to studies, professionals are faced with many ethical dilemmas as compared to non-professionals as they are trained to value people and service them accordingly. Moreover, they face many ethical decisions because of the privileges their job description provide, for instance, ICT experts will have access to people’s information which requires them to exercise their moral standards . This paper analyses the importance of professional ethics in an ICT environment where the most notable issues are identified
As highlighted, most professionals for instance in the fields of medicine and law receive formal training on the ethical issues that govern their professional conduct. However, when it comes to the ICT profession, this outcome is not seen. Therefore, while it’s important to have professional ethics, the professionals are forced to acquire them on their own. They are thus forced to face many ethical issues most of which are related to privacy where their extended access exposes them to unethical conducts. Moreover, the issues of security and data ownership arise where ICT administrators manage data that is owned by others .
Analysis of the ethical issues
Unlike other environments, employees are supposed to submit confidential information to their employing organisation. This information will include addresses, names, and financial accounts among many others. While this information is stored based on the factions of the organisations, today’s technological advancements will centralise data management to include information systems that holistically store all the employee's records. Now, the ICT experts such as administrators will be responsible for monitoring these systems for security reasons due to the prevalence of cyber-terrorism and attacks. Furthermore, their roles will help an organisation govern the activities of the employees such as the files stored on individual PCs and even the browsing done. Therefore, these professionals have extended privileges in the private affairs of the other normal users (employees) .
So, the ethical issue will arise from the extent that these privileges are exercised. For instance, the ICT administrators may access the e-mail accounts of all employees connected to the corporate network. However, should they exercise this right just because they can? Or in other examples, the ICT professionals accesses the stored files in file servers which may include private information of the employees.
To an extent, their duties may demand the assessment of these resources, however, the abuse of these privileges is an infringement of the rights of the fellow employees. Therefore, to an extent, the administrator must exercise their professionalism where the interest of others including the public should come first to their roles . However, considering the thin line between unethical and ethical conduct where for example an ICT expert may access a file server to assess its condition only to view a private file by accident. In such scenarios, the outcome will always impose an ethical dilemma as the expert must ascertain the nature of the file but if he/she does so infringe on the rights of the users.
- Intellectual property
It’s commonly outlined as the right to own one's genius, an outcome that has led to the implementation of many legal laws guarding people’s private information. However, in most cases, this right is surrendered by many users and employees who interact with the many organisation’s systems present today. On the employees’ behalf, they are forced to sign non-disclosure agreements and even willingly surrender their data to employing companies. Moreover, the same is seen on the customers who will agree to extensive service agreements that explicitly waiver the rights to intellectual property. Again, who is responsible for this data I.e. its management? ICT professionals.
Therefore, the operations and activities conducted using this information is no longer governed by legal law but by the moral standard held by the managers and administrators . Furthermore, there are the issues brought on by the digital environment where through its pervasive nature it’s hard to identify the owners and developer of information. In such scenarios, what should ICT professionals do when dealing with resources that are owned by people who are unknown? In addition to this, consider the decisions taken by experts who choose to leak or sell information owned by others for their own gains. These actions mostly led by financial greed lead to unethical outcomes that deliberately breaks the intellectual property guidelines even when the users waiver the right to the ownership of the data.
On the same front of data and information, security is always outlined as it determines the availability, confidentiality and integrity of the system used. The fact that the ICT professionals manages these facilities directly exposes them to the liabilities of information security. Furthermore, they are mandated with the responsibility of protecting people’s private resources in the form of information .
Therefore, any laxity or negligence that leads to exposure of these resources is both a breach of their professional conducts (professionalism) and their moral duty to safeguard their peers. Furthermore, referring to the monitoring activities outlined before, while using control mechanisms such as key loggers and web monitoring tools, these professionals can capture confidential information owned by users without their consent. Therefore, the safety of the user can be compromised if, the ICT professionals fail to advise the users on the existing management systems. In essence, their lack of action i.e. in informing the users of the security liability held by a given system is an unethical outcome as it exposes the safety of the users 
Justification of the ethical issues
According to the principles of utility, individuals should perform certain actions if they hold good outcomes for the affected people. Moreover, the same actions can lead to ethical outcomes if they cause happiness to the affected people. ICT professionals have extended privileges when it comes to people’s information. Consider an administrator who only monitors a network’s traffic in an organisation, the extent of his actions will dictate the access he/she has for people’s communication, therefore, their privacy is inherently in his hands. Moreover, as a personal property, their information or any other private asset is either protected or not based on his action which outlines the security consideration. Furthermore, if the said information is exposed due to the professional’s negligence or deliberate actions, they offend the right to own one’s genius as it now falls into the wrong hands which risk the safety of the owners .
Professionalism outline the qualities or codes of conduct that characterise a given profession. In them, both the technical and social skills are important as one grants the competence to work while the other defines the treatment professionals give to others. Now, in the ICT profession, the technical skills are emphasised and are readily available in the society, however, based on the current application of information technology, the ethical and social values are in low abundance. So, what is the importance of professional ethics? .
With ethical values, malicious acts of cyber-attack and terrorism could be contained as they are perpetrated by experts in the field. Moreover, normal users of ICT systems would be safe as their privacy and security would be guaranteed by the professionals of the field. In addition to this, the society would acquire a moral compass where life goals and self-fulfillment ventures would focus on building societies and not individual gains. Therefore, professional ethics dictate the conduct of professionals in any given field which facilitates the development of the society.
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