Social and ethical issues arise from the processing of data into information. There are many issues that affect people as participants and as indirect users.
The security of data and information is a major issue in any organisation. The cost of replacing data that is deliberately or accidentally damaged or lost can be enormous. People who gain illegal access to information systems are referred to as hackers. Hackers are often involved in information theft or financial theft. Information theft involves stealing data from one organisation and selling it to another organisation. Financial theft involves illegally transferring money from one account to another.
Computer crime provides our society with a difficult issue. First, even though there are hundreds of cases of computer crimes reported every year, many crimes are unreported. Second, is that computer crime is not viewed in the same light by the community as other crimes, like burglary or armed robbery. While the community holds the burglar in fear or contempt, the community regards the hacker as clever and the crime is not regarded as dangerous or threatening.
Data security involves a series of safeguards to protect data from deliberate or accidental damage. These include:
-Passwords are secret words or numbers typed on the keyboard to gain access to a computer system.
-Objects such as key cards or badges, which are required to gain access to the information system. These are often used together with a PIN, personal identification number.
-Biometric devices use personal characteristics for authentication such as fingerprint scanning, hand size, eye scanners and voice recognition.
-Data encryption is use to prevent data from being intercepted and read during a transmission. The data is scrambled, so that anyone intercepting it cannot read it and is meaningless and is then unscrambled by the recipient who uses the same encryption software.