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Computer Ethics The
difference between Right and Wrong And
Yes, I mean there is a difference
The purpose of this article is not to make you
mad, but simply to give you views on the subject. The following doesn't
necessarily reflect the opinions of all <Web> </Architect> members,
but simply one member. If you disagree
with what I say, I encourage you to e-mail me at email@example.com
(please no flaming). With
that in mind, and set aside: Hot Topics
Hot Topic #1 Public Domain Hot
Topic #2 Netiquette Hot Topic #3 Hacking
Hot Topic #4 Napster Hot
Topic #5 Free Computer Programs #1
Public Domain (Alternate
Definition: The World Is My Oyster) All
Internet information is not just out there for your use. It is someone else's
intellectual property, in other words, they thought it up, they created it, they
typed it with their own two hands, and it belongs to them. Respect that.
Text, and Written Information
A cool thing about the internet, is that all these
college kids have already done the research for you!
It's WRONG to take someone's work, and try to claim
that it is your own, this is called plagiarism, which is simply a long
word for lying... and stealing. This does not mean that you can't use
parts of research or essays in your report; that is fine, if you give
credits where credits are due.
If you find an essay online, written by someone (in
most cases, a student) drop him/her a line, asking if you may use their
opinions in your paper/web site. This is not necessary, but it is common
correctly cite them in your research paper/web site/essay, please see our
instructions on how to do a bibliography, with our bibliography example.(LINK TO
BIBLIO) Graphics Graphics
are one of the biggest pluses on the internet, all you have to do is right
click, and voila, images downloaded. There are several ways you can handle the
graphic situation: 1) Ignore it, and
download to your heart's content.
2) Write the person who created the graphic, letting
them know how much you appreciate and/or asking for permission to use
3) On your web site, paste a link to where you got the
graphic(s) with a note: "Thank you to "Whoever's Site"
for providing basic design/graphics/the graphic."
4) Only use graphics from public domain sites.
are sites specifically designed for people to come and download graphics.)
All options are fine except for #1 (especially if you're
creating a commercial site).
I know it's a pain, but at least write a note and make
an effort to secure the web master's permission. I suggest using option
3 no matter what, because this not only gives credit to the creator,
but other web masters can benefit and obtain the same information. Sharing
information with your peers is a basic ethic of informationalism.
Our favorite places for public domain art are:
Or searching under "photos" in Yahoo!
These places often ask you to display a small image on
your web page - this is part of web master netiquette, and you should fulfill
their simple request.
MIDI and WAV
Digitally created music is an important topic. The
instructions above can apply for both MIDI and WAV, assuming that the particular
WAV is not a recording of a copyrighted song - this falls into another category,
which we will explain later.
definition: The Ten Commandments) Follow
these simple rules of netiquette to make your stay, and the visits of the people
around you, more welcoming:
1) Thou shalt not flame.
If something someone says makes your
hair stand on end, and just bugs you - go ahead and write them, letting them
know your views - without losing your temper. If you don't curse at them,
hopefully they won't curse at you. Send an intelligent debate clearly explaining
your views - instead of a chaotic response that looks like it was written from a
mental institution by a maniac. It will be much more likely that you get a
response back if you control your temper. You will get your point across better
by being intelligent, rather than being crazy. You can be angry (indignant) and
intelligent at the same time.
2) Though Shalt Not Type In All Caps
Not only does this make it hard to
read - but caps often imply shouting. If a letter is written in caps, it's said
to be a flame, because the person writing it is usually angry. If you aren't
angry, then don't write in caps.
3) Though Shalt Always Be Thine Self
It's easy to hide who you
really are online - i've done it before, I thought it was so. i could be
whatever i wanted to be - only to regret it. It's so much easier to be the
person you were created to be - than being the person that you try to create. Go
ahead, be bold, be who you are, don't hide behind the screen.
4) Though Shalt Reply To E-mail ASAP
It's polite to check
you e-mail at least once every week. It's very frustrating for people to try to
contact you when you don't reply! I've had cyber friends disappear all summer
and at the end finally write back and say "I'm alive!". When you
receive e-mail and need more time to make a reply, send a note to the person
letting them know you got their e-mail and will send the graphic/report/whatever
5) Though Shalt Type In a Larger font
Even though the setting for your e-mail is probably at 12 - write your
e-mail at font size 14, this is just polite for all of us four eyes out here 8-)
However, never ever type in 24 or 36 size font, this is extremely difficult to
read, and bugs up some e-mail systems.
6) Though Shalt Not Forward All Thine Mail
Does it seem like you are always getting forwarded mail, and never
personal mail? Try to turn back this tide by promising to send a personal
letter every time you forward a message. Don't forward everything you
get. Getting tons of forwarded mail is very difficult for people who
receive a lot of mail daily.
I, for instance, get an average of 14 e-mails every day, when i receive
a "Friendship Ball" from someone for the 25th time, i could
absolutely scream!!! NO, you are NOT obligated to send (in example)
those e-mails that say "if you love Jesus pass this on" or
"if you have a friend pass this on". Sure you can, but keep
in mind that:
1) this gives some people a very
bad view of Christianity (it makes a much bolder statement if you personally
share your faith - even online)
2) your friend would probably much rather receive a personal letter
from you, rather than a forwarded friendship ball.
7) Though Shalt Not Spread False E-gossip
What about the e-mail from girls with
cancer, computer viruses, and $1,000 from AOL (or boycotting certain stores)?
Never, ever forward an e-mail warning before first checking it out to see if it
is a prank. Here's why:
1) Prank mail is junk mail, and a pain for others to receive
2) Because so many are pranks, you never know when it might be a real
3) It gives a bad name to the company - even if they never did anything.
someone think twice before buying that shampoo that gives you toenail cancer)
4) I receive e-mail telling me to boycott a company because of their
anti-Christian/Jewish values. When this is in fact a prank, it gives
a bad name to Christians/Jews who forward them.
5) Some e-mails claim to
come from organizations, and when they turn out to be lies - it makes the
organizations look like liars, even if they didn't send them (this happened on
one occasion with Focus on the Family). Call the organization first, and see
what they have to say.
5) It's like passing around gossip and lies. If you don't have the
time to check and see whether or not the e-mail is true, then don't
Check here for the latest
information on e-mail pranks:
8) Though Shalt Honor Thine System Administrator
Before sending off a letter to tech support or calling up the tech
number, check the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) first. ITs and system
administrators have a hard time as it is - without having to answer
"dumb" question. (AKA questions that you can find the answer
to just as easily as they can)
Also, people who need genuine help should be able to have access to
techies - there is a shortage of ITs, making telephone waits longer
than ever - so, do the ITs a big favor, check the FAQ's and be nice
to the system administrator.
Though Shalt Encourage The Internet is a great tool for
encouragement. So sometimes just send an e-mail that you would like to receive.
Let someone know how cool their site is, that you really appreciate their
messages on the BBS, or that they are a great CyberPal :-)
10) Though Shalt Remember The Golden Rule
Always keep in
mind "Would I like to get an e-mail like this?", "Would I like an
IM (Instant Message) that said this?". If you aren't sure how someone will
react to a delicate e-mail, save it, and send it after reading it the next day.
This world is a lot smaller, but their are a lot more people to share it
with, a lot less space, so just constantly be thinking about those around you,
whether you're sending e-mail, hacking or creating a web page.
# 3 Hacking and Cracking
(Where should you draw the
line?) Where exactly does hacking crossover to cracking?
(Or, as some call it "black hat hacking") My
morality is a strong deciding factor as to where i stop. i love to hack, but i
will not compromise my beliefs; so, how does one still feel the adrenaline rush
Here's an example, say you're...at your school, looking around on the
computers, and find that it's possible to open the Windows registry.
What do you do? Alert your computer lab teacher, advising him/her that
these files/commands can be used to hack.
When you start invading people's property, or shutting down servers,
then you're in trouble. C'mon people! Think about the ITs on the other
side trying to fix all your tricks! They'll end up spending thousands
of dollars to fix all your stupid moves.
I've been in a situation where a cracker deleted the main system file
on my little bro's computer. Not only did it cost us hundreds of dollars
to fix the computer, but all his work was lost. It's not right, it is
cyber vandalism, and being too dense to come up with a smart way to
use your hackerskillz to help people.
I believe pranks are OK, hiding hard drives, shut down
icons and stuff is fine - as long as you tell the person how to fix
it...eventually *grin*. Go ahead, phreak out your friend, let them gaze in awe
at your hackerism - but don't leave them helpless! #4
Napster (How a college kid changed the world)
Even though Napster is outlawed, their are still other web sites that
offer the same thing - free MP3s and WAVs for the world. Everyone used Napster,
heck, why go and buy CD's when you can download them and play them off your
computer, or MP3 player?
Because it's illegal, immoral and unfair.
You may argue "But the real world is not
fair". Yeah, well welcome to the real world, where there
is also no such thing as a free lunch.
Think about it this way - every single one of those artists depends
on CD money (and concerts too) to live on. Now you may say that they're
already millionaires and can afford it - but keep in mind that all the
money from the CD doesn't go to the artist.
Some of the money goes to the technical engineer, backup singers, band/group
members, the people who make the CD, album covers, photography artists,
advertising, record company fees...you get the idea.
we have enough respect to realize that these people didn't just play music in
these recordings? They poured out a part of themselves - this music is a
part of them, a part of who they are. When we simply take the music without
paying, it's kind of like "Yeah, your music is ok, but I don't think it's
good enough to buy." In reality, music is priceless.
It's wrong from several points of view.
It IS stealing, you might as
well go shoplifting. It's wrong to assume that low of a regard for the
band/artist and the music. Their music is a gift. It's illegal and undermining
authority. The laws are to protect the artist from violated copyrights.
I have strong views grounded in informationalism, and I believe Napster
was a great program that showed how easy it is to share information
across the internet. It was a great idea, and it has since been employed
in new web sites, that have the artist's permission. There are alternatives!
A completely legal archive of free MP3s (and RealAudio) from artists of
almost any genre of music. For an extra monthly fee, you can get as many MP3s as
you want. As it is, the free selection is amazing. However, it does
require that you sign up and receive a newsletter with ads, etc. twice a week.
Also, if you go under the site of a particular band, they usually have a
few free songs for downloading and sampling.
Through MP3s and RealAudio you can listen to samples of any album. The
more popular the album, the more samples there are. The samples run at about 20
second sound bytes. It's not the best deal, but it sure is a start.
Here's a new idea that employs MP3 technology, and at the same time
helps the artist. What Flicker Records does, is let new bands, upload WAVs
and MP3s to their server. Then you can log on and vote for your favorite new
artists - giving the general garage band a voice. The more votes an artist gets,
the better chance they have of getting signed on with FlickerRecords. New
artists include Pillar and T-Bone (you might mot know who they are, unless you
happened to be at Festival Con Dios - I'm a phreak for obscure music :-)
IMHO sites like this take music to a higher standard - employing software
like Napster...but instead of hurting the music industry, it improves
it, and we can make the choices as to what we want on CD, that's the
way a record company should be run.
(Once in the site, click
"a&ronline" for the uploaded music section)
Almost Free CDs
Their are several music clubs out there that you
can join (though they add the extra charges on through shipping and handling).
It's not a bad deal. But get this: some stores actually sell
CDs for $3. Sometimes they even give them away if you buy a certain selection of
CDs. Two of my favorite CDs cost only $3. The store has new artists put tracks
on the compilation CD, so the artist gets more exposure. (Ok, so it's at Family
Christian Store, but I love this stuff *grin*).
Simply Impossible New Music Sampler has artists like Phil Joel,
Plus One, and Tammy Trent. Simply Survival 16 Song New Music Sampler
has more alternative artists like The Elms, Superchic[k] (you saw them
on MTV and the Xgames), Skillet, Earthsuit, T-Bone and Switchfoot(they
made it top-20 on MTV)
More often then not - you can check out mainstream
CDs from the library - sure the disk is sometimes scratched, lyric sheeet is
dog-eared (or non existent) and it take 3 months for it to arrive (since there
are 20 people in the waiting list ahead of you), the point is to plan ahead -
asking the librarian to place copies of soon-to-be-released CDs on pre-hold, or
to put all your CDs on hold at once, and while you wait for them to arrive, you
can check out older releases.
really good friends with your librarians, and they'll ask you to let them know
if there is anything that the library could buy for you (and add to their
#5 Hijacked Computer Programs
($250 Programs For Free) I
don't really think I need to go into much detail here. No matter how you look at
it, it's stealing; whether you get caught or not. I already covered most of my
views on this subject with Napster. You can usually download demos from the
creator's web site. I'm thrifty, so I'll take the 30 Day demo, then wait until
the next version comes out. It's moral, legal and cheap - you can really survive
without having to hi-jack every program out there. Someday we'll have all the
free software we need, and we can throw out those dirty licenses (you'll be free
hacker, you'll be free).
Is there a hot topic I didn't cover? Write Maegan at