Consequences of uses of computing

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This entire topic is for Year 1 of the course.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Computer Science Tutor

TRC Resources


Data Protection


Legal / Legislation

Data Protection Act

Freedom of Information Act

Computer Misuse Act

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act

Copyright, Designs and Patent Act

The Official Secrets Act

The Defamation Act

The Obscene Publications Act and the Protection of Children Act

Cookie Law

The Equality Act 2010

The Digital Economy Act

EU Digital Single Market


Cultural issues are all factors that influence the beliefs, attitudes and actions of people within society. Common cultural influences are family, the media, politics, economics and religion. These are cultural differences between different groups of people. For example, people from difference countries often have a different culture.

There are elements of computer use that have a cultural impact in that they can change our attitudes, beliefs and actions:

  • abuse / misuse of data
  • invasive technologies
  • over-reliance on computers
  • over-reliance on technology companies
  • 'big brother' culture
  • globalisation.

Moral / Ethical

Ethical issues are factors that define the set of moral values by which society functions. 
Moral issues are factors that define how an individual acts and behaves.

An ethical issue is one that concerns our own individual behaviour and our own personal concept of right and wrong. We learn our moral values from other people such as our parents, teachers and peers, and we learn them for ourselves from experience. Ethics vary slightly from morals in that they are a way of trying to define a set of moral values or principles that people within society live by. Ethical issues are sometimes referred to therefore as social issues.

The use and misuse of personal data

Most organisations collect data on an ongoing basis and much of these data are personal. At a basic level this might be name and address information, but may also include data about individuals' finances, health, relationship status, family, employment history and even their personal views.

This presents a number of issues:

  • personal privacy
  • data security
  • misuse of data
  • 'big brother'
  • online profile
  • profiling.

Other moral and social issues

There are a number of other moral and ethical issues relating to Computer Science:

  • unauthorised access
  • unauthorised use of software
  • inappropriate behaviour
  • inappropriate content
  • freedom of speech
  • unemployment
  • access to the Internet.

Ethical, Moral, Cultural Issues & the Digital Age

Asymmetry of Power

Practical Obscurity / Right to be Forgotten

Pervasive Surveillance

Issues of Scale

Challenges facing legislators in the digital age

Software and their algorithms embed moral and cultural values

Software can produce great good but with it come the ability to do great harm

Data in the Digital Age

More Information

Code of Conduct

BCS Code of Conduct



Free Software Foundation

Open Source Initiative

Copyright vs Copyleft

Linux Foundation