Ethical Dilemmas in Data Collection and Privacy: What Every IS Student Should Know

Ethical Dilemmas in Data Collection and Privacy: What Every IS Student Should Know

What ethical dilemmas should every IS student know?

  1. Data privacy and security
  2. Intellectual property rights
  3. Cybersecurity practices
  4. Impacts of AI and automation
  5. Social media and online influence
  6. Environmental impact of technology


  • When conducting surveys, IS students must secure informed consent, respect individuals’ privacy, and prevent potential data misuse.
  • In the event of data breaches, IS students are responsible for investigating, assessing damages, securing compromised systems, and transparently communicating progress.
  • CIIT provides the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in the complex world of IS, fostering a community that values ethical considerations in the digital realm.

Students in the rapidly advancing field of Information Systems (IS) find themselves at the forefront of technological innovation, with the ability to shape the future. However, this power comes with significant responsibilities and ethical considerations.

This article will unravel the ethical dilemmas in data collection and privacy that every IS student like yourself should be familiar with, providing a comprehensive guide to navigating the complex intersection of technology and morality.

Data Privacy and Security

Data privacy and security involve safeguarding sensitive information and ensuring that it is handled, stored, and processed in a way that protects individuals from unauthorized access or disclosure. Here are some examples of the ethical dilemmas surrounding this:

Informed Consent

Let’s say a group of students is surveying their favorite ice cream flavors among their classmates. Before asking anyone to participate, the students must explain what they will do with the gathered information.

This helps ensure people’s privacy is respected and prevents any potential data misuse. By following this process, students can ensure they act ethically when dealing with personal information.

Data Breaches

Sometimes, despite our best efforts to keep information safe, bad guys can still get their hands on it. When this happens, students studying information systems should have the basic knowledge to deal with the problem well.

In the event of a data breach, for example, it is critical to investigate and assess the extent of the damage. You would then work to mitigate the damage by securing compromised systems, notifying affected parties, and being open about your progress.

Algorithmic Bias

The unfairness that can occur when algorithms are used in decision-making processes is called algorithmic bias. This means that the way algorithms are created and used may unintentionally favor or discriminate against certain groups of people.

For example, if a hiring algorithm is biased toward certain characteristics, qualified candidates from underrepresented backgrounds may be unfairly disadvantaged. When students come across algorithmic bias, they can take action by raising awareness about the problem by advocating for transparency and accountability in algorithm development.

Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, names, and images used in commerce. Intellectual property rights provide legal protection for the creators or owners of these intellectual creations, allowing them to control and benefit from their work. Here are some examples of the ethical dilemmas about it:

Plagiarism and Attribution

IS students need to be mindful of plagiarism, which means copying someone else’s work without giving them credit. That is why it is important for students to properly attribute the original creators to avoid ethical issues when using their intellectual property.

Software Piracy

Using or distributing software without permission is considered software piracy. This raises ethical concerns because it infringes on the rights of software developers and companies who put in effort and resources to create these products — IS students should respect these rights and avoid engaging in software piracy.

Open Source vs. Proprietary Software

When choosing between open-source and proprietary software, IS students should consider ethical factors. Open-source software promotes community collaboration and transparency, allowing others to contribute and benefit from its development.

Proprietary software, on the other hand, is developed and owned by specific companies. IS students should, therefore, carefully evaluate these ethical considerations when deciding which type of software to use and support.

Cybersecurity Practices

Cybersecurity Practices

Students should be aware of the ethical quandaries that cybersecurity practices present. While it is critical to safeguard sensitive information and prevent cyber threats, it can also violate individuals’ privacy rights, so IS students must consider the ethical implications of collecting and analyzing personal data for cybersecurity purposes, balancing privacy and security.

Another thing IS students should understand is how to use hacking techniques for defensive purposes. However, there is a fine line between ethical and illegal hacking, and students must still fully understand the significance of proper authorization and consent before engaging in any hacking activities, even if they are for security purposes.

Impact of AI and Automation

As AI and automation continue to transform various industries, students studying Information Systems (IS) face ethical considerations. One major concern is the impact on jobs, as automation can lead to unemployment for some workers that is why It is crucial to balance embracing technological innovation and ensuring employment stability for individuals.

To tackle these ethical challenges, IS students must support responsible AI development, promote transparency in algorithms, and actively work towards eliminating biases. Ultimately, their efforts can help shape a future where technology is advanced but also prioritizes the well-being of society as a whole.

Social Media and Online Influence

When it comes to social media, IS students face unique challenges. On one hand, they can easily connect with others, but on the other, they must navigate ethical issues. They must strike a balance between using social media to share information and thinking about what is right and wrong.

For example, they must exercise caution when disseminating misinformation on social media and are responsible for verifying information before disseminating it. And most of all, be on the lookout for misleading information so that you can contribute to a digital space that values honesty and transparency.

Environmental Impact of Technology

IS students play a critical role in bringing about positive change in the field of technology and the environment. The significant amount of electronic waste (e-waste) generated when old gadgets are discarded is a clear example of this.

They can also make a difference as responsible citizens by advocating the use of environmentally friendly materials in device manufacturing and helping reduce the environmental impact of e-waste by promoting sustainable technology development.

Key Takeaway

In navigating the complex world of IS, the ethical dilemmas in data collection and privacy are the North Star guiding students towards responsible, sustainable, and impactful technology practices.

At CIIT, we equip students with the knowledge and skills to navigate the complex data privacy and security landscape. Be part of a community that values ethical considerations in the digital realm. Contact CIIT now and become a responsible information systems professional, contributing to a world where innovation and ethics go hand in hand.

Join our Open House!

Experience CIIT’s vibrant community of creators and innovators! 

Discover new ideas, unleash your potential, and build lasting connections that will pave the way for your future in arts, technology, and business.