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Ethics in cyberspaceCyberspace is a global community of people using computers in networks In order to function well the virtual communities supported by the Internet depend upon rules of conduct the same as any society Librarians and information technologists must be knowledgeable about ethical issues for the welfare of their organizations and to protect and advise users What is ethics Ethics is the art of determining what is right or good It can also be defined as a general pattern or way of life a set of rules of conduct or moral code Ethical guidelines are based on values The Association of Computing Machinery ACM is one national organization which has developed a statement of its values Every member of ACM is expected to uphold the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct which includes these general moral imperatives 1 contribute to society and human well-being2 avoid harm to others3 be honest and trustworthy4 be fair and take action not to discriminate5 honor property rights including copyrights and patents6 give proper credit for intellectual property7 respect the privacy of others8 honor confidentiality The very nature of electronic communication raises new moral issues Individuals and organizations should be proactive in examining these concerns and developing policies which protect liabilities Issues which need to be addressed include privacy of mail personal identities access and control of the network pornographic or unwanted messages copyright and commercial uses of the network An Acceptable Use Policy AUP is recommended as the way an organization should inform users of expectations and responsibilities Sample AUPs are available on the Internet at gopher sites and can be retrieved by using Veronica to search keywords acceptable use policies or ethics The Computer Ethics Institute in Washington DC has developed a Ten Commandments of Computing 1 Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people 2 Thou shalt not interfere with other peoples computer work 3
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