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Essay/Term paper: Questions of ethics in computer systems and their future

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Internet

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Questions of Ethics In Computer Systems and Their Future

1) Identify and discuss security issues and considerations evident for
Information Systems
And computerization in the brokerage industry. ( Think about how the
Internet has
already influenced trading.)

"The technology is getting ahead of regulators" claims David Weissman,
director of money and technology at Forrester Research Inc., in Cambridge, Mass.

If one is to believe the quote above it sounds very ominous for the
regulators and the government to attempt to even bring this media under any kind
of regulation. But, what is it that they the government agencies truly are
looking to regulate? If you take to the argument that this media, the Internet
is truly a public access network, then the control to which they would like to
extend to it would be the most regulated public access system in history. What I
believe the attempt here is to regulate through censorship. Since it is almost
impossible to censor the phone networks without actually eaves dropping on your
phone, they have decided to regulate and censor your written word. The danger in
this is what you write as an opinion may be construed by that government
regulator as a violation of some regulatory act. The flip side to this is if you
did this through another medium such as the phone system nothing would ever come
it. The bigger question here is how much government do people want in there
lives? The Internet was brought into the picture for the public as the next
great technology of this century. It is without a doubt as big if not bigger
than any other public means of communication that has come before it. With that
in mind I think the government is trying to extract it's pound of flesh for what
they believe is missed revenue dollars that could be made in the form of tax
regulations.

"There are probably insiders touting stocks on the Internet either
anonymously or under assumed names," said Mary Schapiro, president of the
National Association of Securities Dealers, which oversees the NASDAQ market.
The argument that they are both (the government and NASDAQ) currently running
with is the "protection of the investor". When one looks at NASDAQ's complaint
it is fairly superficial, for them it is clearly a loss of income for their
trading enviorment, for the government it is a loss of taxes that could be
derived from those trades. Are we to believe that both of these agencies only
have the best intentions at heart for those investors that might be duped. These
issues have been around for along time through the use of other mediums like the
phone system, direct mail marketing, "cold calling" from "boiler plate" houses,
and even unscrupulous brokers who work in legimate brokerage houses. People
today are still the victims of these types of scams through the use of the older
technologies. So how is it that since the older scams are still being used is
one to believe that they will have anymore success tackling the complex nature
of the Internet and the myriad of scams that could generate from it. The success
rate of convictions from past indiscretions is low at best, one only has to look
at the mountain of arrests for "insider trading", that the government launched
during the late 1970's through the middle 1980's to realize for all the hype of
cleaning up Wall Street not a whole lot ever came from the scourging. What it
seems to me is Ms. Shapiro would be better suited to try and align her NASDAQ
forum with the Internet technology to take advantage of the technology rather
than trying to use the government to bully people into being afraid to use the
technology. Her second quote of "there is a tremendous amount of hype," comes
off as nothing but sour grapes and a big opportunity to use her position to
knock the Internet. If she honestly believes she's done everything to insure her
customer base that her system of doing business is any bit as less likely to
fall victim to insider trading and traders touting of stocks beyond what they
should be touted as, she is sadly mistaken. The average investor is going to use
every opportunity presented to them if they think it will give them the
advantage in investing. Just look at places like Harry's at Hanover Square, a
popular bar in the Wall Street area where depending on the afternoon one would
only need walk around the bar to hear the broker types hyping their own stocks
to each other and just about anyone in sight. Are they ready to regulate this
very common practice done for the last 30 years, or how about the broker's who
spend weekends on golf courses singing the praises of their stock to customers
and brokers alike, who then come in on Monday and trade off the weekends
knowledge or what they heard at the bar. How do they regulate this kind of
"insider trading" activity, they have no way to help or protect the person who
is not privy to these kind of conversations or dealings. The availability of the
Internet to trade on this information to a larger market base I believe does
even the playing for a lot of people who do invest. I don't believe that those
who would use the Internet for financial information are that wild in their
approach of their investing to fall for the super-hype of someone they don't
know. For those do they would have fallen for it through any media out their
because their approach is to win at all costs regardless whether it is legal or
not.

In closing, the argument presented by NASDAQ and the government is a weak
one at best, I don't believe any government agency should be pressured into
regulating any medium because of private industry's displeasure with that medium.
Also regulations passed based on private industry demand usually leads to more
problems than ever before. On only has to look at the great S&L bank failures
that occurred after the government stepped in to help the S&L industry out. We
will never know the true value of all the losses (in the S&L failures) derived
from when government agencies answer the call with regulations to help out an
industry that pushed for regulation to prop up a dying industry. The American
people and the government should stand up and take notice of what the government
tried to do in regulating banking in the 1980's, could very well be the debacle
of the late 1990's with trying to regulate the Internet to save some parts of
the Wall Street industry. Maybe this medium of the Internet will sound the death
bells for some parts of a lot of industries, but I believe it is only the start
of many great things to come for everyone involved who takes advantage of it.

2) Provide what regulations and guidelines, if any, you feel need to be
implemented for this situation.

Based on the preceding question any regulations passed to help the Wall
Street industry I believe would create situations even more serious than the S&L
failures, or the "insider trader" failures of the 1980's. You always run a fine
line between what is a regulation for the good of the consumer and what are
regulations designed to protect an industry. I believe there are enough
regulations out there to protect the Wall Street industry as it presently exists,
to have to conjure up regulations for every medium that could possibly come down
the road to protect every industry or private citizens enviorment is just too
much government agency in everyone's face. Not only will the federal government
want their piece of the action, let's not forget cash strapped states like New
York will also be looking for their's to. I will discuss this more in question
#3.

3) Discuss ethics and surveillance concepts that pertain to this situation.

The ethics problems I would like to discuss from both sides of the equation.
From the standpoint of the trader the ethics problems are fairly obvious. He has
to do his job within the present guidelines that regulate his/her profession.
They are not to trade on information that has been illegally gotten through
whatever means. This includes what I mentioned in Question #1 about information
obtained through means that the general public is not privy to, all those bar
dates and golf dates where the information about stocks is bantered about like
idle gossip at a garden club party. This technically is considered "insider
trading", but how does the government intend to alleviate this problem through
any kind of surveillance, they can't. No more than they could alleviate the
problem through the use of the phone network short of tapping their phones and
monitoring their conversations. When does monitoring for wrong doing and the
infringement of your Constitutional rights start to crossover. The danger here
is obvious, for every regulation the government perceives as needed the American
citizen gives up a little more of there right to privacy and free speech. For
the trader types this comes in the form of what he says or writes about on a
particular stock, he has to worry that it won't be construed as classified
information that was some how derived from an illegal source. From the public
side's responsibility and the perception they have to worry about is that what
they traded cannot also look like they received some kind of special information
that help them trade successfully and earn a profit.

For both sides the questions of ethics in trading can only be answered by
those that are involved. The majority of the industry does do everything above
board, and I believe there are enough regulations and surveillance out there
already to keep a fairly tight lid on all of those people who choose to be
involved. Nothing is every 100%, but with is being done to police the industry
is enough of a deterrent not to be persuaded to do the "insider trading" thing.
You will always have those that will break the law for the pursuit of the
dollars, some will even break the law for the thrill of getting over on the
system, but for the vast majority this is not the means by which they invest,
and with that they should not be penalized by overzealous government regulators
and an industry looking to extract dollars out of a technology. You will never
be able to stop the criminal types who will use the Internet for criminal
advantage, anymore than you can stop all street crime. You cannot regulate the
Internet for prevention of crime any better than you can regulate all people
from doing criminal things, there is that small minority that will always
continue to find the easy or criminal way around everything. To regulate the
Internet to attempt to protect the public is just another form of censorship.
The government would be riding a very fine line behind this concept of
protection and the rights of the individual to express an opinion. If I publish
on my Internet page that I made a great but of stock this week, that is my
opinion and only my opinion. Should the government come along or any other
private group come along and attempt to either sue me or censor me in some form
or fashion just for my opinion. Should I worry that someone reading my page
decides to act on what I wrote. If he/she does I would have to say that they are
rather foolish to act on my opinion and invest their money. On the same token I
would never react and invest on someone's say so without first thoroughly
checking out all the facts. Do people go out and kill because they see a violent
movie I don't think so! Then why would the government say they need to protect
the public's interest by possibly watching my home page or anyone else's out
there. Do they listen to your phone calls, do they read your mail, do they read
your E-mail, do they tell you what books to read, what movies to see, then why
would I want them surfing the Internet to under the guise of public protection.
I'm an adult and would like to be treated as such, I can make correct decisions
not only about how my money is spent but where. If I find something out on the
Internet that I feel is so criminal I would alert people to the fact that
whatever was out there to watch out for. You would be surprised how well
Internet people do police the net and warn there friends and others about it.

Don't buy into the government hype of public protection, for all the mediums
I just listed above the scams as they are related to Wall Street are still
happening big time, and they already regulate those technologies for our
protection! It's not regulation they are looking to do, it is ownership of the
Internet they are trying for, and with the help of big business, who sits there
and cries foul, they may very well achieve this. Talk about two groups in need
of finding some ethics big business and the government are sorely lacking. This
the first major technology that has leveled the playing field for even the
littlest user. Don't buy the hype where ever you can try to keep the regulators
out, by voting, writing your congress, or whatever it takes legally. We are
intelligent enough to make our own decisions!!

4) The year is 2016. Describe how information Technology and computerization
have
impacted individuals and Society in the past 20 years.

Let's look at from an everyday perspective: First you'll be gently awaking
by an alarm that you set by your voice the night before and playing what you
want to hear again that decision was made the night before. You'll enter a
kitchen where on voice command you order your cup of coffee and whatever
breakfast you want because your computer run appliances will be able to do this
for you. Next you go to your printer and get a copy of the newspaper you want to
read because you will have programed to extract information from five or six
different sources that you want your news from and it will be waiting for you to
read. If you real lazy you could have your computer read it to you in a smooth
digitized voice that you've selected. After finishing in your computerized
bathroom that not only knows how hot you like your shower but also dispenses the
right amount of toothpaste on to your tooth brush. After dressing from your
computerized closet that selected all your clothes for the week, you'll enter
your computerized car which is all activated by your voice. There also is a
satellite guidance system for the times you might get lost but you've already
programmed the car to know how to get you to work. Work will be only a three day
a week affair with the other two days working out of your home. Your office will
be totally voice activated. You'll run all of the programming you'll need for
the day by voice activating the programming.

You'll conference call to other office sites but it be in complete full
motion video. The next step will be 3D holograms but that hasn't quite come to
market yet. You'll instuct your computer by voice to take ant E-mail you need to
send and it will be sent in real-time. The rest of the office also is capable of
call forwarding you any phone calls or messages because the central computer in
the office will know your where abouts in the office at any time as you pass
through any door. Your day is over you'll leave instructions fro your computer
to watch certain events throughout the night and if need be you could be reached
at home. You'll be paid in credits to the credit cards of your choice, there
will no longer be money exchanged. To help you protect against fraud on your
cards when you spend money you'll use your thumb print as you would your
signature now. At night you'll come to a far less stressed enviorment because
the computer appliances in your house have taken a lot of the mundane jobs that
you use to do away. You'll be able to enjoy high definition TV and be able to
receive some 500 channels. After checking with your voice activated home
computer to see if there is any phone messages or E-mail, you'll retire to bed
of course in you climate controlled home that knows what settings you like in
what parts of the house. Oh, yes you won't even have to tell your voice
activated computer not to run your computerized sprinkler system for your lawn
because it will have realized from the weather report that it will rain.

 

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