Ethical, Security, & Legal Issues in Information Systems


The aim of this report is to outline the importance of ethical, social, and legal issues in information systems. Information systems in business and management are associated with the use of the equipment and technology by organizations to collect data, draw plans, and coordinate resources for the benefit of their stakeholders.

From the studies that have been conducted in the field of information system, it is evident that technology leads to a number of legal, security, and ethical implications not only to the companies, but also to their customers and other stakeholders (Kim & Solomon, 2012, p. 6).

Ethical Issues in Information Systems

Although the advancement in information technology for collecting, storing and disseminating data revolutionises the spread of information within an organisation, it also creates ethical dilemmas. The main ethical issues created by the advancement revolve around privacy, accuracy, and accessibility of data (Reynolds, 2011, p. 38). Most of the data collected by companies may comprise the personal identification information, compensation and background details of the employees. This data has to be safeguarded properly; if that does not happen, it can result in serious negative implications. It is difficult to protect the data and in most cases, it lands in the hands of the wrong people (Laudon & Laudon, 2012, p. 126).

Accuracy is another ethical issue that comes with the use of information systems in management. In the past, organisations had less data to work on; this made the maintenance of accuracy an easy task as most of the things were done manually. The use of information systems has resulted in complex interactions between databases and systems, which contribute to huge errors in them. Since no one can be held responsible for the occurrence of such errors, the current information systems remain a threat to accuracy. For instance, it is difficult to hold the system vendors or the management accountable when unanticipated errors occur (Laudon & Laudon, 2012, p. 126).

Apart from the ethical issues, the use of information systems in organisations also comes with a number of legal issues. Information systems make it easy for organisations to violate consumers’ rights (Reynolds, 2011, p. 134). Despite the efforts of the European commission’s directive on data protection to enforce private policy, businesses use information technology to outwit the legal body. For example, companies use customers’ personal identifiable data without their consent (Laudon & Laudon, 2012, p. 126).

The other legal issue that emanates from the use of information systems is copyright infringement. The use of information systems makes it difficult for copyright policy makers to classify different digital works and to determine their uniqueness. This makes theft of such works uncomplicated. It is difficult to protect vital intellectual property as the use of information technology makes it easy for enormous reproduction and distribution of information (Reynolds, 2011, p. 234). This is evident from the studies that are conducted by different groups. For instance, the study of the Seventh Annual Global Software Piracy conducted in 2009 revealed that cases of software piracy arose by about 43%; this is a huge loss to stakeholders in this field (Laudon & Laudon, 2012, p. 141).

Security Issues in Information Systems

The use of information systems, such as computer software, poses a great threat to the security of data as information can be lost anytime. The information collected and stored using computer devices can be lost through unauthorised access, fraud or abuse of personal details. The information can also be interfered with by hackers or computer viruses. Hackers and computer viruses are known to destroy computer programs, files and other important information stored in electronic devices (Kim & Solomon, 2012, p. 11).

Companies that entirely rely on electronic systems to keep and update the details of their customers, at times, experience problems when the systems fail. One of these companies is TD Bank, which is one of United State’s largest banks. TD Bank had its operations halted in 2011 because of a fault in its information systems; the systems could not give some of the customers’ important details such as account balances, payroll information and savings’ checks. This problem occurred because the systems could not integrate the details of the customers at Commerce Bank and itself at the same time (Laudon & Laudon, 2012, p. 142). Although such problems are nowadays taken care of by adjustments such use of passwords to block unauthorised entry and spamming to block suspicious emails, they do occur once in a while.


This paper outlines ethical, security, and legal issues that result from the use of information systems in management. Information systems comprise tools that are used in an organisation to gather data, draw plans and manage resources. Studies, such as the Seventh Annual Global Software Piracy, show that there are significant ethical, legal and social issues raised by information systems. Ethical issues revolve around privacy, accessibility and accuracy of the data stored in the systems. Security issues are mainly raised by data disappearance from the systems as a result of hackers, unauthorised users, and computer viruses. Legal issues, on the other hand, result from copyright infringement and intellectual property theft.


Kim, D., & Solomon, M. (2012). Fundamentals of information systems security. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Laudon, K. C., & Laudon, J. P. (2012). Management information systems: Managing the digital firm (12th ed.). Boston: Prentice Hall.

Reynolds, G. W. (2011). Ethics in information technology (4th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

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