Information Systems Ethics

Founder-Editor: David Vance

Purpose of the Page

  • To provide information on Information Systems Ethics (Cyberethics) including content, delivery,and pedagogy.
  • To provide links to on-line information resources and courses that may be of interest to academics, practitioners, and the general public.
  • To provide a forum for discussion and assistance on issues and topics of interest relative to computer or information ethics.

The Place of Cyberethics

How do Cyberethics fit into the overall scheme of Information Systems Management? This is the question we seek to answer. New technology creates challenges in the areas of privacy, property, security and individual identity and radically reshapes life styles around the globe. While the scholarly debate continues as we define the field, it seems not unreasonable to suggest that such a task is best handled by those who understand the capabilities and limitations of the technology, the tools of philosophical and ethical reasoning as developed over the millenia, and are sensitive to the spiritual impact of these technologies. Thus, we call for a broad scale dialog to understand, then direct the path of these helpful but disruptive inventions.

Selected Writings

Bibliographies and Libraries

Resources on Cyberethics

  • EPIC: Ethical and Professional Issues in Computing.
  • TNO The Network Observer, University of California, San Diego.

Organizations and Conferences



Title: Cross Cultural Research in Information Systems
Type: moderated forum
Moderator: Roberto Evaristo evaristo@{uic,du}.edu
Description: The cross-cultural research in information systems database and distribution list (CROSS-L). A database of individuals conducting research in Information Systems is updated and distributed to the list semi-annually. The database includes name, address information, research interest, and areas of interest.


Title: International Federation for Information Processing Workgroup 8.2
Type: unmoderated forum
Moderator: Unmoderated
Unmoderated listserve:
Related Info:, IFIP-WG82 LISTSERVE
Description: This list is used by the community of information scholars interested in social and organizational factors implied by information technology and information systems. The core subscribers are members and friends of the group, although any interested Internet or Bitnet users may subscribe.

Case Studies and Papers

  • Cyberdocs at UNC - Papers on privacy, intellectual property, and computer-mediated communication, among other computer ethics topics.

Sample Syllabi and Class Materials

The following represent computer ethics courses currently on line at various American universities. We would hope that a cyberethic that, by virtue of its technological underpinnings transcends geo-political boundaries, can mature so as to address the way various cultures distinguish virtue from vice.

Ethics and Law on the Computer Frontier

Online syllabus
Instructors: Hal Abelson and Mike Fischer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The explosive growth of computer and communications technology raises new legal and ethical challenges that reflect tensions between individual rights and societal needs. For instance, should cracking into a computer system be viewed as a petty prank, as trespassing, as theft, or as espionage? Should placing copyrighted material onto a public file server be treated as freedom of expression or as theft? Should ordinary communications be encrypted using codes that make it impossible for law-enforcement agencies to perform wire-taps? As we develop shared understandings and norms of behavior, we are setting standards that will govern the information society for decades to come.


Online syllabus
Instructor:David Vance, Mississippi State University
A structural outline of instruction for creating an IS Ethics Module or Course. Allows the instructor to create a viable knowledge foundation from which to approach issues in cyberethics.

Introduction to ethics

Online syllabus
Instructor: Robert Cavalier, Carnegie Mellon University Department of Philosophy
Carnegie Mellon has an on-line Intro Ethics Course (On Line) with additional resources coming.


Online syllabus
An introductory philosophy course taught using the resources of the World Wide Web from Oregon State University

Ethics and Computing

Online Course Website
Instructor: Cindy Meyer Chanchey, Oklahoma Baptist University

Social and Ethical Issues in Information Technology

Online Course Website
Instructor: Joseph Goguen, University of California at San Diego.

Computers In Society

Online Course Website
Instructor: Chris Kimble, University of York, UK.


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