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CSCE 4010: Social Issues in Computing

Course Number: 
CSCE 4010
Course Name: 
Social Issues in Computing

Effect of technology in modern society, with emphasis on the role of the engineering and technical professionals.

Start Date: 
Monday, May 3, 2004
Last Review Date: 
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Credit Hours (Including Labs): 
UNT Topics: 
  1. Introduction
    1. Engineering ethics
    2. Reasons for studying ethics
    3. Engineering as managing the unknown
    4. Personal and professional ethics
    5. Origins of ethical thought
    6. Law and ethics
    7. Ethics problems as design problems
    8. The standard account
    9. STS (Science and Technology Studies / Science, Technology, and Society)
    10. Micro and Macro level analysis
  2. Professionalism
    1. Characteristics of professions
    2. Engineering as a profession
    3. Computing as a profession
    4. Professional societies
    5. Differences between engineering and other professions
    6. Social contract and business models of professions
    7. Motivations for professional ethics
    8. Codes of ethics
    9. Culture of computing
    10. Software engineering as a profession
    11. Resolving conflicting responsibilities
    12. Guns for hire vs professionals
  3. General Ethics
    1. Descriptive vs normative
    2. Ethics is normative
    3. Dialectic method
    4. Problems with viewing ethics as something “relative” 
    5. History of ethical thought
    6. Ethical theories
    7. Personal vs corporate morality
    8. Nonwestern ethical thinking
    9. Analogical reasoning in ethics
    10. Resolving conflicts
    11. Avoiding bribery
  4. Ethical Issues in Engineering Practice
    1. Environmental ethics
    2. Computer ethics
    3. Ethics and research
  5. Ethics in Society
    1. Information society
    2. Technology as instrumentation of human action
    3. Cyborgs, robots, and humans
    4. Features of IT-configured activities
    5. IT-configured domains of life
  6. Information Flow, Privacy, Surveillance
    1. Information flow with and without technology
    2. The importance of privacy
    3. Privacy as individual good
    4. Privacy as contextual integrity
    5. Privacy as social good essential for democracy
    6. Data mining, social sorting, and discrimination
    7. Is privacy over? Strategies for shaping data flow
    8. Fair information practices
    9. Privacy and globalization
    10. Laws
    11. End user license agreements (EULA)
    12. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) issues
  7. Intellectual Property
    1. Complexities of digital property
    2. Protecting property rights in software 
    3. Philosophical basis of property
    4. Proprietary vs open-source software
    5. Creative Commons
    6. Laws
  8. Digital Order
    1. Law and order on the Internet
    2. Sociotechnical order
    3. Online crime
    4. Hackers and the hacker ethic
    5. Sociotechnical security
    6. Who is to blame for security breaches?
    7. Trade-offs in Security
    8. Wikipedia: A New Order of Knowledge Protection
    9. Freedom of Expression and Censorship
  9. Laws
    1. Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA)
    2. Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA)
    3. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
    4. SOPA
    5. PIPA
    6. HIPAA
    7. FERPA
    8. COPPA
    9. US Patriot Act
    10. Anti-Phishing Acts
    11. Online Investor Protection Act
    12. Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act
    13. Americans with Disabilities Act
    14. Sarbanes-Oxley
UNT Outcomes: 
  1.  Develop an awareness of the social responsibilities of computer science and engineering.
  2. Understand the need for computer science and engineering ethics
  3. Generate an effective written communication incorporating a topic related to social and ethical issues and principles in computer science and engineering
  4. Deliver an oral presentation about a topic related to a particular social or ethical issue related to computer science and engineering. 
Course Materials: 

Computer Ethics, 4TH Edition, by Deborah G. Johnson, Pearson/Prentice Hall Publishers, ISBN: 978-0-13-11241-4

Engineering Ethics, 4TH/3RD Edition, by Charles B. Fleddermann, Pearson/Prentice Hall Publishers, ISBN: 978-013-214521-3 

UNT Department: 
Computer Science and Engineering (CSE)
Course Level: 
Course Documents: