Cyber Ethics in the 21st Century
Rules and regulations pertaining to computers and the cyber environment, is not a topic that usually comes up in daily conversation, unless you are in a class for work, at school or in a lawyer’s office. However, it is a very important factor when communicating via the internet, whether you are using your computer or another web-based device for work, personal use or as a gaming platform. Cyber ethics is a philosophical study of ethics that is pertinent to computers regarding the behavior of the user and what computers are tasked to do and these effects on individuals and society. Manners, good judgment and being aware and knowledgeable about what you are doing are as pertinent in the cyber world as they are anywhere else that you deal with people.
Some ethics violations can be considered criminal behavior. Knowing what you can and cannot do when it comes to ethics is to use your best judgment when dealing in the cyber realm. Best practices will give you the knowledge you need to maintain ethical behavior while in cyber space, and will give you the added knowledge of knowing when your rights have been infringed. Ethics can be confusing but what it comes down to is, what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong.
When interacting in the cyber world, we are cyber citizens and can be referred to as netizens. A netizens is a person who actively uses the Internet, especially in a proper and responsible way. (Merriam-webster.com 2014) As cyber citizens, we have the same responsibility of maintaining civil behavior as we do when we are face to face with others in public. People depend on their electronic communication abilities in business, at school or at home so keeping our cyber citizen neighbors happy, is not only the right thing to do, it is beneficial for relationships, because our online relationships are as integral to our lives, as our neighbors next door.
The FBI has entire department that is dedicated to cyber-crime. The investigate computer and network intrusions, identity theft auction fraud, credit card fraud, debt elimination schemes, counterfeit cashier’s check schemes, employment/business opportunities, escrow services fraud, internet extortion, and several other areas of internet crime. The areas of investigation that is conducted by the FBI are listed on their website. You can go there to see how big a deal cyber-crime is in the U.S. and worldwide.
There is no federal law against bullying; however, there are local and state laws that can consider some forms of bullying type behavior as criminal even when conducted online. The Civil Rights act of 1964 protects individuals from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, and disability. There are cases were bullying has crossed over into these areas of protection and prosecution has followed. Schools and universities, as well as the workplace have become more sensitive to these issues in recent years, due to the exponential expansion of computers in all facets of our daily lives. Due to the world of Facebook, twitter and other forms of instant communication the issue had to be addressed.
Responsibilities of a cyber-citizen
By adhering to the ethics that pertain to our cyber world, you will make your electronic world safer for you and your family. If you have children, there are applications that give you a high level of control over their level of access to online websites and web content. It is for their safety and your peace of mind. These applications can help you monitor their activity on the internet, and shut their pc browser down at a predetermined time. This will give you the ability to rest easy, knowing that your family and children are protected from the cyber criminals that haunt the halls of cyberspace.