Ethics and Privacy of Information Systems: Case of Wiki Leaks

Information systems’ ethics and privacy issues are challenging to address for any person as they leave organizations and societies alike in a dilemma. Organizations hold the key to solving this matter by developing internal processes that will promote ethics among employees while at the same time safeguarding its information.

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Opening Case

WikiLeaks has raised a lot of issues regarding ethics and privacy of information systems by leaking firms’ confidential information to the public. This information is usually leaked out by internal parties and WikiLeaks has nothing to do with the ‘stealing’ of this information. This is well documented by the cases such as Bradley Manning, the United States army private. To some, the activities of WikiLeaks are ethical and legitimate as they provide detailed and truthful information; hence, the activities are healthy as they allow people to keep control over the actions of firms and governments.

Regardless of these rights, WikiLeaks should evaluate the impact that some information may cause before posting it on their website. It is recommended that it posts information that is likely to harm the life of human beings. For instance, it did a fantastic job in the case of Iceland’s Kaupthing Bank and the Swiss bank. However, it should not post documents that contain national secrets including security details as they may harm the security process in the country. What will happen if someone leaked out Julian Assange’s private emails in another site without legal authorization? It should act in a discerned, balanced and responsible manner when posting some documents. Overall, by posting classified documents WikiLeaks is infringing on property rights.

What it should understand is that it is not desirable to have a radical and an absolutely transparent world; thus, certain information should be reserved to relevant personnel as irrelevant people may abuse it. Therefore, firms that depend rely on keeping secrets need to design systematic processes that address the sharing of systems information among stakeholders. It is evident that technology based security solutions are not effective since information cannot be monitored and controlled through internet technology alone, but wholly throughout the organization ethics. Thus, nothing can be done to WikiLeaks.

Closing Case

Terry Childs acted unethically by creating unauthorized exclusive access to the council’s network. He had access to information that he had no jurisdiction over. From the perspective of the prosecutor, Childs work was to deal with the technical aspects of the network including servicing and maintenance, but not access to information that is internal to the operations of the council. By creating a private account to access the city’s payroll files, law enforcement documents, booking information of jail inmates, Childs was violating the privacy of the city’s network information as he may have been tempted to leak the information to third parties. This is because his work did not include maintaining the confidential information. What is more, the possession of other employees’ passwords meant that he had the intention to read through their accounts without their consent. Thus, Childs was guilty of computer tampering.

On the contrary, Childs’s defense lawyer defended him but it is clear that the arguments are not entirely based on the network, but personal allegations. Even if the other employees were incompetent, he had no reason to have access into the city’s private information. The case would have been different if he had passwords and exclusive access to the technical aspects of the network under his authority. Hence, Childs was a single point of failure of the city’s network. His actions and egoistic approach were not ethical as it may have led to the leaking of confidential information. To protect itself from Childs, the city should reconfigure its network and encourage ethical behaviour from its employees.


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