Information Ethical Dilemmas

Cybercrime - Hacking/Data Breach

Cybercrime- Virus Spreading

While technology has helped civilizations advance, it has also created new problems. The development of the Internet and the invention of the World Wide Web allowed instant communication and access to information from around the world. However, unlimited and uncontrolled online access also raised many concerns and created the need for new laws and regulations. ...[For example], advancements in computer technology have opened up a whole new arena for criminal activity. Cybercrimes include identity theft, child pornography, hacking, and copyright infringement. After the 2001 terror attacks in the United States, security officials grew more concerned about the threat of cyberterrorism and continue to focus on ways to safeguard our information systems. What can students do to learn about and protect themselves from types of cybercrime?

Read more

Play a cybercrime game


Suggested Reference Sources on this topic:

CQ Researcher: Computer Hacking (2011)

CQ Researcher: Improving CyberSecurity (2013)

CQ Researcher: Cybersecurity (2010)

Annual Editions: Criminal Justice 06/07

Information Series on Current Topics: Electronic America 2009

Social Issues in America Encyclopedia: Computer Crime and Hacking

Copyright Infringement and Fair Use

"Johannes Gutenberg's movable type printing press began a new era in communications,.. making production easier, faster, and cheaper, and opening the way to what is known as mass media. Advances in printing led to large circulation of books and the advent of newspapers, which opened the door to other periodical publications like magazines, newsletters, and journals. The invention of the telegraph, phonograph, radio, motion pictures, and television had similar effects on mass media. Each broadened mass media's reach and each dealt with similar questions regarding violence in the media, media bias, censorship, and advertising. More recently, the Internet has sparked debates that span all media. When is it legal to download? Who owns content online? What effect will unlimited access have on copyright laws and copyright infringement?" What do students need to know about copyright and fair use to follow and abide by copyright law?

Read more

Watch this video

Copyright Quiz


Suggested Reference Sources on this topic:

Internet and the Law

CQ Researcher: Internet Regulation (2012)

CQ Researcher: Plagiarism and Cheating (2013)

Complete Copyright: An Everyday Guide for Librarians

Information Series on Current Topics: Electronic America 2007



With the availability of all kinds of information on the Internet, the incidence of student plagiarism seems to be on the rise. While studies show that the majority of students who commit plagiarism know that it is wrong, many do it anyway because they don’t think they’ll get caught or they don’t understand copyright regulations or how to properly cite sources. To solve this problem, many educational institutions have turned to commercial subscription services, called plagiarism detection services, which work to catch plagiarism in student papers. Some groups are opposed to this tactic, however, and say that teaching, not software, is the key to preventing plagiarism – that students need to be effectively taught how to avoid plagiarism in order to solve this problem. What information about plagiarism can you provide to educate students about this problem?

Read more

Plagiarism Tutorial

Play the Plagiarism Game

Suggested Reference Sources on this topic:

CQ Researcher: Plagiarism and Cheating (2013)

CQ Researcher: Combating Plagiarism (2003)

Annual Editions: Mass Media 06/07

Social Issues in America Encyclopedia: Cheating, Academic


Identity Theft

Imagine being denied a college loan, home loan, or job due to a bad credit report for money you did not spend, or receiving an arrest warrant for a crime you did not commit. These consequences are among the many devastating effects for victims of identity theft, one of the fastest growing crimes today Victims fall prey to this type of crime when any of their personal identifying informtaion such as a social security number, driver's license number, or bank account number is used by someone else for illegal purposes. With an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 people being victimized each year, the FBI calls identity theft one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States, but how to curb this problem effectively is unclear. How can students best protect themselves from the various types of identity theft that exist?

Read more

Watch a helpful video

Play the "Phishing" Game


Suggested Reference Sources on this topic:

CQ Researcher: Identity Theft (2005)

CQ Researcher: Improving Cybersecurity (2013)

CQ Researcher: Internet Regulation (2012)

Social Issues in America Encyclopedia: Identity Theft

Information Series on Current Topics: Crime, Prisons, and Jails



Most consumers are shocked when they learn how much of their personal information is available either publicly or for a fee via technology. Threats to privacy, whether in the form of tiny surveillance cameras, programs that track your visits to Websites, databases that collect information on all of your purchases, or disclosure of medical records and personal information, are so subtle that a person may not even know his privacy has been violated. With advances in technology, privacy can be easily violated by government agencies, criminals, and even a person’s workplace. In fact, within the workplace, many employers feel they have the right to monitor company-owned tools such as Internet and e-mail, and they have used these surveillance methods quite extensively to track their employees’ workday computer activity. What do students need to know about privacy? Is it possible for them to protect their privacy online?

Read more

Play a "Spyware" game



Suggested Reference Sources on this topic:

CQ Researcher: Big Data and Privacy (2013)

CQ Researcher: Online Privacy (2010)

CQ Researcher: Privacy in Peril (2006)

CQ Researcher: Social Media Explosion (2013)

CQ Researcher: Social Networking (2010)

Ethics and Values Encyclopedia: Volume 6

Annual Editions: Business Ethics 02/03

Social Issues in America Encyclopedia: Privacy

Social Networking

"Social networking sites have added a new factor to the "friends of friends" equation. By providing information about yourself and using blogs, chat rooms, email, or instant messaging, you can communicate, either within a limited community, or with the world at large. But while the sites can increase your circle of friends, they also can increase your exposure to people who have less-than-friendly intentions. You've heard the stories about people who were stalked by someone they met online, had their identity stolen, or had their computer hacked." What do students need to know about social networking and its possible hazards to best protect their privacy?

Read more

Play a social networking game

Suggested Reference Sources on this topic:

CQ Researcher: Social Media Explosion (2013)

CQ Researcher: Internet and Social Media (2013)

CQ Researcher: Social Networking (2010)

CQ Researcher: Cyber Socializing (2006)

Annual Editions: Computers in Society 06/07


The number of teen incidents of sexting is on the rise, and this particular activity can result in serious, long-term consequences. "Sexting is illegal. It is not specifically mentioned in any law, but it does fall under 'Child Pornography'. Under the current child pornography law, sexting can be a felony... [A] 15-year-old [girl] who has a momentary lapse of reason like most teenagers at some point, takes a semi-nude picture of herself and sends it to her boyfriend. That one act can lead to her being prosecuted for dissemination of child pornography—she is passing along nude or semi-nude photos of a minor, even if the minor is herself. The same is true if her boyfriend forwards the photo to one of his friends. And if his friend has the photo on his phone, he too may be violating child pornography laws. It’s estimated that 20% of teenagers have participated in sexting at some point." What would teens need to know about sexting to protect themselves from negative, life-altering consequences?

Read more

Take a relationship quiz


Suggested Reference Sources on this topic:

CQ Researcher: School Discipline (2014)

CQ Researcher: Preventing Bullying (2014)

Information Series on Current Topics: Electronic America (look up section "cyberbullying" in index)

Taking Sides: Human Sexuality (See article 4.3)





As the use of social networking sites and other communication technologies become increasingly popular with teens, the incidence of electronic bullying to threaten or humiliate others is increasing. Teen victims of cyberbullying report devastating consequences and long-term effects in some cases. Both governments and schools have begun to view cyberbullying as a serious problem and are looking at ways to prevent it from occurring. What would high school students need to know about cyberbullying in order to prevent and/or stop its devastating effects?

Read more

Watch a video

Play a Cyberbullying Game

Suggested Reference Sources on this topic:

CQ Researcher: Cyberbullying (2008)

CQ Researcher: Preventing Bullying (2012)

CQ Researcher: Bullying (2014)

Information Series on Current Topics: Growing Up Issues Affecting America's Youth

Annual Editions: Adolescent Psychology, Fifth Ed.

Social Issues in America Encyclopedia: School Violence


Step 3: Class Discussion on Information Ethical Dilemmas will take place in class using the following Powerpoint Presentation:

Technology: Friend or Foe Powerpoint