Ethics 10.9.3

The new accounting system is operational, but feedback from users has been negative. The most common complaint is that the system is not user-friendly. Some people in the IT department think that more user training would solve the problem. However, the IT manager is opposed to a fresh round of training. “Let’s just set up the network to monitor the users’ keystrokes and mouse clicks, and see what the patterns are,” he suggested. “We can analyze the data and come up with tips and suggestions that would make the system easier to use.” Your initial reaction is that the IT manager is wrong for two reasons. First, you believe that monitoring would not be an effective method to learn what users really want in your view, that should have been done in the system requirements phase. Second, you are bothered by an ethical question: Even though the proposed monitoring would involve company business, the company network, and company time, you feel that many users would resent the unannounced monitoring and might feel that their performance or other computing activities were being appraised without their knowledge The IT manager has asked to you to write up a recommendation. What will you say about the ethical question that troubles you?

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