You are an experienced programmer working on part of a project to bring automation to a pharmacy. This will automatically fill the most common prescriptions and allow the pharmacists to focus on more complex and less common prescriptions.
The project is behind schedule and risks losing some critical first sales that have already been made with a firm delivery date. In order to make the delivery date, it has been proposed that documentation be finished after the delivery. This would cause the testing schedule to be condensed to half the allotted time. Any problems not caught in testing will be dealt with in patches and updates.
Would the ethical considerations be the same if the software was to automate an auto parts store? A stationary store?
Sharing Trade Secrets
Suppose there are two large, competing telecommunications firms in your city. The companies are hostile to each other. You have worked for one of the companies for five years in a position that gives you access to company trade secrets. You are now interviewing for a job with the other company that would be a substantial step-up in your career. During the interview, you get the impression that the company expects you to share your knowledge, including the trade secrets, if they hire you. What are the ethical issues involved? What are the legal issues? Are they the same as the ethical issues?
You have signed a non-disclosure agreement as part of your condition of employment with your current company. Does this change the ethics involved? Suppose the first company fired you, would the ethics involved change?
You work for a large electronics distributor. Your job is to provide training and to be a troubleshooter and consultant for users of the company’s local area network. In the past, your job has required you to spend a lot of time traveling from building to building to assist users. Now, however, you have a utility program called LANSCAPE that lets you monitor the activities of any user who is logged in. You can see exactly what is being displayed on the user’s screen, and can even take over the session if you need to.
Using LANSCAPE has made your consulting and troubleshooting much more efficient. You even have time to scan users’ activities and make suggestions for avoiding problems, even when you have not received a call for help. As a result, the whole network is operating much more effectively.
Your boss tells you, in confidence, that she suspects one or more employees of dealing illegal drugs on company premises. She has no proof, but suspects that they are using the phone and maybe even the computer to make deals. She asks you to install LANSCAPE on the workstation in her office so she can randomly check on the suspects and gather evidence.
Do you think it would be ok to install LANSCAPE? Why or Why Not?