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Running head: TECH ISSUES/POLICY

Technology Issues and Policy Recommendations


Mohammad K. Al-Jarrah
Saginaw Valley State University

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Abstract

TECH ISSUES/POLICY

While exploring the many issues that any organization must tackle in regards to the
implementation and use of the various forms of information technology (IT), it is vital that the
social, legal, and ethical features be addressed with each issue. These features pose a great
concern for an educational organization that has the responsibility to actively demonstrate
awareness of social issues, to preserve ethical standards, and to maintain an atmosphere of safety
for its student population. For the purpose of this paper, I will be focusing on following IT
issues: student safety on the Internet, copyright and fair use, and computer fraud and
misuse.Technology Issues and Policy Recommendations
Student Safety on the Internet
For any school administration, it is of the highest importance that their students be
protected not only from predators on the Internet, but from their own curiosity, as well. Freedom
on the Internet is both a good thing and a bad thing. The freedom of speech allows for a world of
knowledge to be available to students in the forms of differing theories, thoughts, and opinions.
However, it also exposes them to the dark side of that freedom in the possible forms of
pornography, predators, and outright lies. As such, it is the schools responsibility to protect its
students from the vices of the Internet so that the students can enjoy the vast information without
being tainted during their searches. If I were in charge of this task, I would use software that
would block inappropriate content from innocent eyes and I would not allow students to use the
schools IT equipment and system to go onto social networking sites or chat rooms. If a student
had to do research on a topic such as breast cancer, the blocks can be removed from the
specific classroom computer being used while the students search is monitored by their
instructor or computer lab supervisor to ensure their safety. I would also make this policy
obvious to both staff members and students by providing this policy in an IT policy manual.

TECH ISSUES/POLICY

Furthermore, this policy would be displayed on unambiguous, clearly-placed posters to act as


reminders to all. Per Whitehead, Jensen, and Boschee, a Responsible Use policy, clearly
stating what is allowed and disallowed, will be made available so that both child and parent alike
should sign (2013).
Copyright and Fair Use
Another factor which is important to any organization is to maintain its integrity by
abiding by the federal copyright laws and the spirit of the law regarding fair use. Copyright
provides the creator of a work of art, literature, information or idea with the ability to control
how their work is used by others. This acts to protect the creators income and enables them to
create more original works. Incidentally, this can also be extended to the use and dissemination
of computer software since software piracy is a violation of copyright law and a form of theft.
While there are some companies which allow for their software to be shared or to be free for
anyone to use, there are many who require an organization to pay for the software and any
required licenses needed to account for the number of computers using the product. As with any
organization who is trying to maintain a budget, it can be tempting to use a copy of a protected
product. However, this is illegal and, if someone reports this conduct, the consequences can be
severe. Restitution costs for an organization using pirated software on their computers has the
potential to reach into the millions of dollars.
According to the article Software Enforcement and the U.S. Law (n.d.):
If the copyright owner brings a civil action against you, the owner can seek to
stop you from using its software immediately and can also request monetary damages.
The copyright owner may then choose between actual damages, which include the

TECH ISSUES/POLICY

amount it has lost because of your infringement as well as any profits attributable to the
infringement, or statutory damages, which can be as much as $150,000 for each program
copied. In addition, the government can criminally prosecute you for copyright
infringement. If convicted, you can be fined up to $250,000, sentenced to jail for up to
five years, or both.
Another noteworthy point, pirated software can also put an organizations IT security at
risk since some they may contain malware, viruses and other malicious software that can
endanger the technologies, their sensitive data, and other programs. By having a network
administrator control what programs are on the computers, an organization can more effectively
protect the system and stay legal with their software requirements.
An offshoot of the copyright would be the idea of fair use. Noted in Fair Use (n.d.),
fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring
permission from the rights holders. Fair use is of great importance to instructors since most
instructors may want to cite a chapter from a book, a newspaper article, a short story, an essay, a
poem, or illustration. For most instances, in regards to use by nonprofit organizations or for
educational purposes, copyrighted works are more likely to be available for fair use. According
to the rule, the need to copy should occur closely in time to the need to use the copies. If you use
something repeatedly, it is less likely to be considered fair use. The expectation is that you will
obtain permission from the copyright holder as soon as it is feasible. Using something over a
period of multiple semesters or years is not within the spirit of the fair use exception. Because
the stipulations for fair use are sometimes vague at best, I would make sure that my schools fair
use policy would be understandable and very specific so that none of my staff would be guilty of
plagiarism. If there was still a question as to whether something fell under the umbrella of fair

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use, it can also be presented to the IT department or other designated department to determine
whether or not the instructor is in compliance with fair use.
Computer Fraud and Misuse
Finally, there is the issue of computer fraud and misuse. In practice, any ordinary
computer has come under the jurisdiction of the law, including cellphones or other technology
devices, due to the inter-state nature of most internet communication (Computer Fraud and
Abuse Act, n.d.). This has become a far-reaching issue in regards to computer hacking and
identity theft. Pertaining to a school situation, with a very computer-savvy student population,
there is always the concern that someone may hack into the schools system to change grades,
deploy a virus, or cause any other form of disruption. Other methods of misuse could include:
running a personal business on school computers, storing personal materials (illicit or innocent)
on school hard drives and/or servers, and creating false identities. These behaviors, which one
would think of as obviously wrong, will be very clearly outlined in the IT policy manual. Also, a
reward system will be in place to encourage the reporting of any of these acts in order to
discourage those who may try to commit them. Although snitching seems unsophisticated, the
threat of it may effectively deter bad behavior.

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References

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. (n.d.). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_Fraud_and_Abuse_Act
Fair Use. (n.d.) In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use
Software Enforcement and the U.S. Law. (n.d.) In BSA:The software alliance. Retrieved from
http://www.bsa.org/anti-piracy/tools-page/software-piracy-and-the-law/?sc_lang=en-US
Whitehead, Bruce M.; Jensen, Devon; Boschee, Floyd A. (2013). Planning for technology: A
guide for school administrators, technology coordinators, and curriculum leaders. (pp.
122-124). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.