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IT Ethics Handbook:: Right and Wrong for IT Professionals Paperback – Jul 15 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 500 pages
  • Publisher: Syngress; 1 edition (July 15 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931836140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931836142
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 17.8 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 862 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,569,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Bill Murray's character, Dr. Venkman, is fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing and thus is in good company with most workers in information technology. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15 2004
Format: Paperback
This insightful book should be on the shelf of every IT professional!! I like the way the book is laid out with conservative and liberal viewpoints of each ethical dilema. I was thoroughly entertained with the amusing stories and anticdotes of the crazy situations people in the industry have found themselves in, many of which I can relate to my own personal experiences.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Uneven and irrelevant throughout... Sept. 26 2004
By Thomas Duff - Published on
Format: Paperback
Over the last couple of months, I've been reading a book titled IT Ethics Handbook by Stephen Northcutt (Syngress). I'd like to say I spent all that time examining ethical issues, when in reality it was just a hard book to finish...

Chapter list: System Administration and Operations; Audit; Vulnerability Disclosure; Digital Postmaster; E-mail Scams; Information Security Officers; Programmers and System Analysts; Database Administration; Information Service Providers; Brother's Keeper; End-user and Employee Computer Security; Customer Ethics; Trusted Assistant; Ethics and Contractors/Consultants; Telecommuting and Mobile Computer Security; Personal Computer Users; Penetration Testing; Content Providing; Privacy; Management/Employer Ethics; Conclusion

Each chapter is made up of a brief discussion of ethical matters in that particular area, followed by vignettes where you have to figure out what you'd do. The author gives a "conservative" and "liberal" answer to the dilemma, followed by a summary of what they consider the right answer to be. While there's some benefit to be gained from thinking through some of the scenarios, the content is just far too uneven and in some cases irrelevant. It took me a number of attempts to find where the author explains what is meant by the conservative and liberal "answers". They are so extreme as to be comical in some cases. Apparently the author uses them as "guardrails" to set the boundaries of the issue. Even then, the author's answer is often too liberal for my tastes or just wishy-washy. In one scenario, the question is asked if IP spoofing is acceptable if it causes no damage (since it's a way for super hackers to show off). The author feels that at best it helps shore up security, and at worst it eats up resources and causes destruction. So what? Is it right or wrong?

In the Personal Computer Users area, the first scenario is being unable to stop playing FreeCell when your husband asks you to come to bed and not play past midnight. For the life of me, I don't see how this has anything to do with IT ethics. The whole Trusted Assistant chapter has nothing to do with IT. It's basically about what an administrative assistant should or should not be able to do. Fine for general business, out of place for IT ethics. And as a final nit, the chapter on Information Service Providers has the term misspelled at the top of each page ("Information Sercive Providers").

While it's possible to get some value from this book, I feel it could have been much better.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Don't know right from wrong? This book isn't going to help. Dec 7 2004
By brian d foy - Published on
Format: Paperback
Have you ever wondered if you are doing the right thing? Is is okay to steal from work? How about downloading pirated music using the company network? Do the rules apply to everyone? Can I do whatever I want if I'm a system administrator?

These are real topics covered in "IT Ethics Handbook". Sadly, each answer comes in two varieties: Conservative and liberal (each of which get their own font!). If you don't like one answer, you can just choose the other. The (long) list of contributors put their heads together to come up with rationalizations for both sides.

I tend to think that if you have to ask the question, you already know the answer, and if you truly don't, asking your friends, boss, or co-workers will clear it right up. Heck, the employee handbook might even answer them. The book doesn't really lay a foundation for ethics, but sticks to specifics questions. Indeed, it seems to ignore the idea that ethics isn't an absolute, and may vary between different groups and cultures. They merely mention all that stuff in the introduction, but then quickly discard it.

Some other paraphrased questions, in case you still think you need this book. You can quickly find a rationalization for the right and wrong of each and apply the answer that you like best.

* Can I write malicious virus code for profit?
* Should I use somebody else's login and password?
* Can I use company resources for personal gain?
* Can I videotape my co-workers having sex in the hallways? (real question)
* Do I have to obey the law?
* Can I be lazy?
* Can I spy on employees?
* Can I take revenge on a co-worker?

Perhaps this book is for the guy who wears the expensive suit and takes off fridays to play golf.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This could have been better Feb. 2 2005
By Michael R. Brown - Published on
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like this book. There are a lot of good things in it, but the negatives outway them.


* No bibliography, refrences or pointers to further reading/research. There have been other books on it/computer ethics, this is not the first.

* The slant seems too much toward ethics as it relates to security and security-related matters. There's more to it/computer ethics then that.

* No mention of the several professional organizations of IT/ITSEC people!!! Slight mention is made of ACM & IEEE, but no mention of SAGE (the System Administrators Guide at [...]) which is THE professional association of sysadmins, who have spent YEARS developing a professional code of ethics. This code should have been included in the book. And what about the several professional groups of ITSEC people, like ISSA (Information Systems Security Association at [...]) which also has a code of ethics, Computer Security Insitute ([...] and so forth?? They should have been mentioned. (and since SANS, the authors group, did stuff with SAGE, ignoring them is pretty bad).
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Walk the walk... Oct. 29 2005
By PeterRSA - Published on
Format: Paperback
It would be good if the author were capable of following his own advice; his personal examples contradict themselves on many important points, and when the moral questions get tough, he (or she) dashes away like a frightened rabbit, metaphorically speaking. A quick Google search turns up several lawsuits and evidence that this author is definitely not someone who should be writing about IT ethics under any circumstances.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Clear cookbook for common ethical dilemmas Nov. 6 2004
By Jack D. Herrington - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm glad that we are finally starting to see books like this. This is a good one but I would like to see more emphasis on this area with even better books.

The book is organized into chapters based on various roles and functions within and organization. Then within each chapter there are various ethical dilemmas which are discussed. The dilemmas is defined, then both liberal and conservative takes on the matter are described and the item is closed with an explicit stance on the issue.

This issues discussed are wide ranging, from storing personal files on work machines, to whether a workplace affair can be tolerated. This wide ranging discussion is one of the problems I have with the book. If the issues had been more focused on IT concerns then each item could have been covered in more depth.

Another problem with the book is it's layout. I found that the layout of the text and the material distracted from the contents. There was too much formatting.

I liked the book because I found the material compelling. If not the discussions themselves, which were too brief. It stretched my mind to think about these issues and to take input from different sides of the fence. I hope this book will be revised so that it is even more readable and valuable. In the meantime it is still worth the look for those in the IT field with ethics concerns.

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