Professional Issues in IT (ITPRD202A)
Assessment 1: Ethics Assignment
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Chip Technology
The purpose of this task is to encourage students to explore a variety of ethical theories and apply them to a contemporary ethical issue in an area of social computing.
Timelines and Expectations
Percentage Value of Task: 20% (35 marks) Due: Week 7 – Friday.
Learning Outcomes Assessed
The following learning outcomes for ITPRD202A are assessed by completing this assessment: K1, K2, K4, S3, A1 and A2.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chip technology has been in existence for many years now. RFID chips have been attached to many items to enable the collection of information about the items, and to track the movement of items. RFID technology has been increasingly utilised in providing efficient and effective solutions for product tracking in the supply chain arena (http://rfidarena.com/2013/11/14/benefits-of-implementing-rfid-insupply-chainmanagement.aspx). Other applications of the technology include library management, transportation management for perishable food and pharmaceutical drugs, and anti-theft processes in retail outlets. More recent applications of this technology include the embedding of RFID chips into animals and ultimately into the human body. A tiny chip can perform a variety of tasks in relation to the object the chip is attached to or embedded within, including the storage of key information related to object.
In today’s world, it is quite common with animals (e.g. cats and dogs) to be micro-chipped with ownership information. Proponents of utilising this technology in humans argue that there are many benefits to individuals and communities as a whole including providing ready access to health and medical information, the ability to locate missing persons, and the ability to track and monitor the activities of criminals or persons of interest (e.g. sex offenders, terrorism suspects). Opponents of the utilisation of this technology in humans point to security of information and privacy concerns, and the potential for this technology to result in a ‘big brother’ state where the state has the ability to track and control all citizens.
Students are required to undertake an ethical analysis of the benefits and issues associated with RFID chip implants in a human context. Students will prepare a business style report of approximately 2000 words which analyses RFID chip implants in humans through the lens of each of the FOUR (4) ethical philosophies presented in lectures, and ONE (1) element selected from the Australian Computer Society’s (ACS) code of ethics.
When analysing RFID chip implants, consider ONE (1) of the following ethical dilemmas:
• Is the practice of implanting RFID chips into humans appropriate?
• How should the practice of RFID chip implants in humans be governed?
• Do the benefits of RFID chip implants for individuals, organisations and/or the broader community outweigh security and privacy concerns with RFID chip implants?
For assistance in report writing techniques, see: http://unilearning.uow.edu.au/report/4b.html
A suggested report structure is as follows.
• title page
• executive summary
• table of contents
• ethical analysis of RFID technology o utilitarianism o deontology o social contract o character based o ACS code of ethics
The introduction section should provide context and background on the issue of RFID chips implanted in humans. It should clearly indicate the dilemma being discussed and provide an overview of how you intend to address the problem and proposed solution(s).
The body section of the essay should contain an overview of each of the four ethical theories, and the ACS code of ethics. It should include a discussion and proposed solution for the dilemma, from each of the four ethical theoretical viewpoints, and the ACS code of ethics. The discussion should show an analysis and synthesis of research undertaken and your own ideas.
Writing should be validated with concepts from other people’s work.
Please submit an ELECTRONIC copy only in Microsoft Word or .pdf format via moodle. Please refer to the “Course Description” for information regarding late assignments, extensions, special consideration, and plagiarism.