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Case Study 7 – Website Links
Han is a public servant, he is a web developer within a department of a state government. Han has been given responsibility for developing a tourism website by the I.T. Manager Sally. Han adds various links to news services to enliven this government webpage. These links include global news channels.
It is later found that those sites sometimes provide news on court cases which are currently under suppression order here in Australia as they are in process. When noticed this causes huge embarrassment to the government department.
Sally, the I.T manager of the department had not seen the website before it went live but even if she had it is unlikely that she would have noticed and tested every link. In any case the links were not problematic until a local court case gave rise to a publication suppression order.
Sally now needs to determine who should take responsibility and what actions should be taken about the event. She needs to prevent recurrence of this type of problem.
Briefly discuss the dilemma for Sally. Show your utilisation of either Thomas White or Chris MacDonald’s methodology to demonstrate how Sally might analyse and resolve the dilemma. Provide a recommendation of what actions Sally should initiate and to whom she needs to communicate throughout the process.
Include in your answer those clauses from the ACS code of Ethics and ACS code of Professional Conduct that are relevant and briefly explain why. Refer also to any relevant legislation again with an explanation of how it relates.
Case Study 9 – Alex the new Project Manager
Alex has been professionally employed in IT for 10 years. He has worked in various roles including Business Analyst, Programmer and IT Manager. He accepted an offer to join Initech Corp. as Project
Manager, responsible for overseeing and ensuring the effective implementation of the company's internal software projects.
Although Alex has previous experience as an IT Manager, Initech Corp. has an existing IT Manager, Paul, who is responsible for the server and network infrastructure.
Alex is aware that Initech Corp.'s directors are very concerned about intellectual property theft. They do not want any company data, including software source code, being taken to competing businesses.
The software developers complain to Alex that Paul takes pleasure in preventing them from being able to do their work. They state they do not have administrative access on their own computers, preventing them from installing tools and applications, and that they cannot use Print Screen to take screen snapshots for use in manuals or training.
As a Project Manager, Alex sees part of his role as removing roadblocks from the developers so they can focus on achieving the business objectives. He speaks with Paul about their concerns. Paul states he is just protecting the company's interests. He states if someone can use Print Screen they can email company information as a screenshot. He states if the developers have administrative access to their own computers they can run rogue tools to copy source code or do other things.
Alex sees Paul's views as extreme, but he understands the complexity of the situation. The directors do not want any intellectual property theft, but at the same time, the developers are being hindered from doing their very jobs. It seems the simplest tasks become a struggle because they have many constraints on what they can do.
Alex notes that Initech Corp. requires all employees to sign a confidentiality agreement, and also an acceptable use policy dictating how the computer systems may be used.
While speaking with the developers Alex learns the company web site is hosted externally and is available across the Internet. The developers upload new and modified web pages via an FTP client. As this web server is Internet-accessible, the developers also tell Alex they sometimes upload company source code and documents to the FTP server so they can download them at home. They say they do this because when they have tight deadlines they prefer to work at home near their family than sit in the office until late. They ask Alex not to tell Paul because they are concerned if he knew he would find some way to block this.
What should Alex do now that he has been given this information?
Case Study 10 – Jobs for You – Employment Agency
Jobs For You is an employment agency that specialises in filling short-term, casual labour requirements. The company has recently been involved in several court cases where employees claimed they had been unfairly terminated or treated. Jobs For You used several defences in different cases. In some they said that a short-term labour hire company like theirs could provide no guarantees of work for anyone. In another case they argued that they had offered work to the
employee on many occasions and the employee had continually refused because the client site was too far away or the pay was insufficient. In another case they claimed the employee was too drunk to go to work that day. In each case the company produced diary notes of phone calls and interactions with the employees, which they maintain on their database, as evidence.
Word of this spread and some employees became so concerned by what Jobs For You's files on them may say. They appealed to national privacy legislation to view their own records.
This caused great concern to Jobs For You's management, in case the employees might say the company was making false or discriminatory claims. Management has now instructed their HR staff to be very careful in everything they record in the database. They still want to be able to record ‘the truth’, as they see it, but are very concerned that the notes may be considered rude, insulting or discriminatory if read by the employees. And so they instruct the Recruitment Manager, Stella, to devise a set of codes to be used in the notes to represent statements such as, 'never hire this person again', 'difficult to work with', 'can't be trusted to turn up on time' etc, so they would be meaningless to the employees (and lawyers) and couldn't be used in court against the company.
Stella is concerned over what she considers are the ethical and privacy concerns. Management has told her there are no ethical issues involved and she simply needs to determine a set of codes that allows Jobs For You to record notes about workers without fear of being sued by employees.
How should Stella proceed?
From what you have learned during Week s 3 and 4 of your Professional Environments Course, discuss ethical, professional and legal issues which you consider arise from this scenario. Make some recommendations of actions which could be taken to resolve the situation and/or to minimise the chance the scenario may recur. Support your answers with relevant references (as well as the Codes and Laws).
Ethical dilemmas are a part of every business or organisation. It is imperative to address the dilemma at the right time and make a decision to ensure there are no failings. As a project manager, the role of any employee is to bring out maximum efficiency from the team. While extremely stringent measures can dampen productivity, too much leniency can cause security issues which in turn can cause company data to be compromised.
Step 1: Analyze the consequences
The consequences of developers using the current FTP clients are the below:
- Possible leakage of company source code and documents. This could be due to hacking or even due to a weak security system.
- Misuse of company information.
- Leak of customer data which could in turn lead to losing existing customers. This could further lead to prospective clients losing trust in the company.
If the developers are not allowed to use the FTP client, the work would get delayed, there would be inefficiency in deliveries and result in losing customers.
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