The Need for an Applied Computer Ethics Handbook

Daniel Salber


Information technology is developing at an astounding pace. Computers are now common and their use is switching from number-crunching tools to “information and communication appliances”. The growing success of the Internet is just an example of how information and communication facilities are now available to the general public. We argue that today’s Internet is just the precursor of more innovative applications. Research in a variety of computer science disciplines, such as communications networks and mobile devices are suggesting radically new uses of information technology. These new uses may raise new ethical issues. We give a few examples and show that these issues are not explicitly dealt with in existing ethical frameworks such as Mason’s PAPA or Huff’s ImpactCS. We also discuss the usability of these frameworks by software designers and suggest that information technology practitioners need more explicit tools such as handbooks to help them understand and deal with ethical issues.