PROBLEMS RELATED TO COMPUTER ETHICS: ORIGINS OF THE PROBLEMS AND SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS
Increasing use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) help individuals to solve several everyday problems, which used to be harder, more complicated and time consuming. Even though ICTs provide individuals with many advantages, they might also serve as grounds for several societal and ethical problems which vary in accordance with the contexts and purposes of ICT use. The most evident of these problems are privacy of personal information in the virtual environment, accuracy of the information used, intellectual property rights and equal access rights (Moor, 1985). These much ignored problems grow larger gradually, which requires ICT using individuals to be aware of ethical problems and urges practitioners to discuss these problems in a way to create a consensus that sustains equality and justice with regard to access, storage and distribution of information (Charlesworth, 2000). In this regard, the current study aimed to determine problems related to computer ethics with a reference to privacy, accuracy, property and accessibility; to investigate the origins of such problems; and to propose suggestions regarding these problems through the help of practitioners who had an ICT background. Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews from a purposeful sample of K-8 computer teachers in Eskižehir, software experts in Anadolu University Division of Computer Based Instruction, and software experts in Anadolu University Computer Center. After reliability and validity measures were taken, content analysis was conducted followed by the interpretation of findings along with direct quotations from the data. Findings revealed that ICT professionals were not sure of a working definition of computer ethics, and described the concept through providing unethical computer using behavior examples. They all agreed on a consensus regarding the importance of the issue, but considered computer ethics primarily as a component of Internet ethics. They provided several precautions to prevent unethical computer using behaviors. Implementations and suggestions for further research were provided.