As technology improves over the years, there is an ever-increasing risk of going against accepted codes of conduct. This is mainly because improvements create loopholes that cannot be foreseen. In this respect, various bodies have responded by setting up acts and laws to deal with the issues that arise.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 1991
This was enacted to prohibit any unsolicited advertising by fax, automated recorded telephone messages, advertising calls to cellular telephones, and solicitation after customers have included their names on a no-call list (Twomey & Jennings, 2004). The act is mainly aimed at protecting individual privacy.
Some of the major advancements in IT such as telemarketing and the ability to send automated or prerecorded messages to customers led to certain ethical concerns. Generally, new technology redefined the strategies, not to mention, the techniques on how marketers and industries communicated and conveyed information to clients (Twomey & Jennings, 2004).
One of the major concerns was the intrusive nature of calls made by marketers or sellers. Customers often felt that their privacy was invaded whenever they received calls from companies or firms several times in a day or even at odd hours. Another ethical issue had to do with the risks of using cell phones especially to carry out telephone survey research. This is because cell phones can still be used while doing something else. This property in itself poses a great danger to a respondent especially when driving or walking as there is a great risk for potential physical harm due to distraction.
There are also a number of risks that could arise if other people are in the vicinity of the respondent when a survey call has been made. For instance, such calls could reasonably place one at risk of criminal or civil liability or could otherwise violate their privacy if the topic is sensitive. Not to mention, there is also a potential risk of damage to a respondent’s financial standing or employability (Twomey & Jennings, 2004).
Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), 2000
The act is aimed at protecting children from accessing sexually explicit, harmful, or obscene content (Sobel, 2003). Schools as well as public libraries are required to use internet filters as a condition for receiving certain federal funding such as E-rate.
In addition to the lower costs of internet use and access to information, more people including children use the internet to play games or research on school work. This ability to access all sorts of information without restrictions as to the nature of the content exposes children to adult content that may have a negative impact on them in the absence of proper guidance. Another advancement is the creation of online communities and the rise of social networks. This has revolutionized communication since people can relate and keep in touch in ways that were not possible before (Sobel, 2003).
Children were exposed to predators on the internet who were able to prey on them for various reasons. In addition, privacy was also compromised given that children are not trained on the proper use of the internet. Therefore, they are exposed to hacking and cyberbullying. The same also applies to the use of social sites where children were able to interact with strangers without proper guidance on the information they are supposed to share online.
The ethical issues mentioned are among the major reasons why the acts were created. They have served well in addressing the ethical issues that arose. Nonetheless, several amendments have been made to the acts, where deemed necessary.
Sobel, D. L. (2003). Internet filters and public libraries. Nashville, TN: First Amendment Center.
Twomey, D. P., & Jennings, M. (2004). Business law: principles for today’s commercial environment. Mason, Ohio: Thomson/South-Western West.