Ethics forum tackles digital spying in business

By Jennifer Kang

Faster. Better. Sneakier.

Just as superior technology has emerged in recent times, superior methods of corporate espionage have evolved to match. Cyber spying eliminates the need for spies to gather information in the flesh. But how do corporations judge the ethicality of such actions?

A panel will meet to address this issue Friday as a part of the sixth annual Hankamer School of Business Ethics Forum.

The panel will focus on privacy rights and the responsible use of technologies from the perspective of information systems professionals, said Dr. Mitchell Neubert, the Chavanne chair of Christian ethics in business.

Neubert said he believes individuals need to learn to use emerging technology both responsibly and ethically.

“Cyber ethics is important because organizations are increasingly wrestling with issues of information security, both in how to internally monitor employees and also in how to control those outside the organization who are trying to gain access to their systems to gain competitive information or to acquire private client or employee information,” Neubert said.

Panelists include two employees of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., the leading manufacturer of U.S. military aircraft: Richard D. Kilgore, the chief information security officer, and Jeff Skrocki, the ethics and business conduct officer.

In addition, Mark Chamberlin, executive director of information systems for the United States Automobile Association (USAA); David Cargile, managing director of advisory services for KPMG, an accounting firm; and Troy Stillwagon, vice president for information systems for Scott & White Health Plan will be featured in the panel. These expert panelists will speak about their positions and responsibilities and answer questions submitted via text about secure and ethical technology use by both individuals and organizations.

Panelists were chosen from a range of industries from accounting to health care, said Dr. Cindy Riemenschneider, associate professor of information systems and coordinator of the expert panel.

“I was choosing the panelists based upon their position within a company and their knowledge and expertise on ethics and also security. So you see that we’ve got Lockheed Martin that does defense contracts. We’ve got USAA that does insurance banking and financial investments for the military. We have people from different industries,” Riemenschneider said.

Neubert echoed Riemenschneider, addressing the importance of an expert panel.

“The value of an expert panel is in providing awareness of the real-life work issues that arise with the use of information technology in organizations,” Neubert said. “Their insights will help leaders and business students be aware of the challenges that they have to face when they buy or use new technologies, and what responsibilities they have to use technology ethically.”

The ethics forum planners partner with one of the departments in the business school, said Dr. Anne Grinols, assistant dean for faculty development and college initiatives.

A new department is selected each year. The forum will focus on cyber ethics and ethical dilemmas in technology since the management information systems department was selected this year, Grinols said.

The panel will occur from 1:30-3 p.m. in the banquet room on the fifth floor of the Cashion Academic Center, and is open for all students to attend.