Ethics Unit 4


Data protection act 1998

This act specifies the rules about collecting and holding data.These include:

Data being held mus tbe up tdate and accurate

You have the right to see what data is held about you

The data must be protected from unauthorised access

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Why does data need to be protected?

Personal data about each and every one of us is held on many computers worldwide.

We would like to know that this data is accurate and is being held for a specific reason.

A lot of this data is private and confidential and should not be available for anyone to look at.

It should be kept from people that want to use it for wrong or unlawful

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Data protection act 1998

The act includes a number of principles:  data must be processed fairly and lawfully data must be adequate, relevant and not excessive data must be accurate and up to date data must not be retained for longer than necessary data can only be used for the purpose for which it was collected data must be kept secure Not transferred outside the European Economic Area (EEC) without adequate protection

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How does this affect computers?

There must be procedures in place to keep personal data up to date and corrected if necessary

Login codes, passwords and encryption are required to protect the data

non relevant personal data should be deleted

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Computer misuse act 1990

Designed to prosecute hackers who gain access to computer systems without consent

software developers are not allowed to create programs which are capable of gaining unauthorised access to other programs or data

This act recognises the following offences:

Unauthorised access to computer material

unauthorised modification of computer material

unauthorised access with the intent of committing or facilitating a crime

making, supplying or obtaining anything which can be used in computer misuse offences

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Copyright, Designs and patents act (1988)

Copyright law protects the owner of a creative work from having it illegally copied.

When you see the © symbol and copyright owner information, it means that you are not allowed to copy or redistribute this work.

The law also applies to software.


1988 - apple launches a 5.5 Billion dollar lawsuit against Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard for "Copying" their GUI interface, first developed in the 1980's. In 1993, They finally lost the case.

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Copyright of software

It is illegal for an individual to copy software such as a game or an application such as a word processor or a graphics package. 

Software developers may use licensing systems so that you have to purchase a license in order to activate your software download.

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Illegal music and software sites

Some illegal music and software sites provide you with downloads for games and videos at little to no cost, and they do not pay royalties to the artists or programmers involved in the development.

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Creative Commons Licensing

A creative commons license is when an autyhor is willing to give people the right to share or use a work that they have created.

This could be a set of lesson plans, a piece of software, or a video (for example)

The creator can choose to allow only non-commercial uses so that their work cannot be profited from or copied.

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Freedom of information act 2000

in 2000, a new law was passed to give people access ro data held by public authorities.

This includes state schools, police forces, local authorities and the NHS.

It does not give access to personal data about other people.

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