Dec 6, 2008

Ethics for IT Pro. Requirements

MONTH OF DECEMBER 2008

CLASS REQUIREMENTS

CASE NO. 1

For IT 125 & IT 326 (BSIT IA & BSIT III)

MISSING WHITE HOUSE E-MAIL

E-mail problems in the Clinton White House became public in February, 2000, through a $90 million class-action suit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative group that had brought multiple law-suits against the Clinton administration since 1994.

In a sworn affidavit given in February 2000, Sheryl Hall, a computer specialist at the White House, said that she learned that beginning in August 1996, incoming e-mails to the Executive Office of the President were not transferred to computer systems in the White House. This transfer is part of a process called records management. Successful records management would allow the text of the e-mails to be searched in response to subpoenas and other inquiries. The e-mails involved were those sent to much of the West Wing staff, including the President and the top staff of the President and Mrs. Clinton.

Sheryl Hall went on to testify that because of this problem, when a searched of e-mails was done in the White House in response to a subpoena from an independent counsel, e-mails for the time period of November 1996 through at least November 1998 could not be searched. Although the White House officials learned of the records management problem (and its impact on searches in response to subpoenas) in May 1998, the problem was not fixed until after November 1998. As a result, six additional months on incoming e-mails were not records managed so that they could be searched for subpoenas.

The lost e-mails occurred at a time when members of Congress, the Justice Department, and the Office of Independent Counsel had issued subpoenas demanding all relevant White House documents related to campaign funding, the Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas, and President Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky. These e-mails were also part of a larger case that originated when Judicial Watch sued the F.B.I. and other defendants after the Clinton administration was given access to hundreds of F.BI. files on government appointees who served under Presidents Reagan and Bush. Judicial Watch further alleges that the administration threatened the workers who maintained the e-mail system with retribution if they revealed the lack of e-mail backups.

The White House insisted that the error that cause the e-mail problem was entirely unintentional and blamed it on the technicians who inadvertently capitalized the name of the mail server, designed to store the messages, effectively sending them to a storage server that didn’t exist.

According to further testimony from the contractors responsible for the e-mail system to the House Government Reform Committee in March 2000, the problem was first detected in January 1998 by Daniel A. Barry, a member of the White House computer staff. When lawyers asked him to search the server for e-mails related to Lewinsky, Barry found two messages sent to Lewinsky, but he couldn’t find the corresponding e-mails from Lewinsky. Barry reported the incident to his supervisor, but he wasn’t sure whether the missing e-mails were a minor glitch or an indication of a bigger problem.

In March 2000, White House counsel Beth Nolan wrote to Representative Dan Burton, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, that back-up copies of the e-mail were stored on computer tapes, but that reconstructing them would cost between $1 million and $3 million and take as long as two years.

Clinton administration officials have insisted that they didn’t realize the scope of the problem, still don’t know how many e-mails were affected, and do not know if the e-mails were pertinent to investigations.

QUESTIONS:

  1. State your reactions about the readings.
  2. What is the White House records management process? What is the significance of the records management process?
  3. Daniel Barry discovered a problem with that records management process in January 1998, but didn’t determine the extent of the problem. What further actions might he have taken to correctly assess the situation while avoiding potential personal repercussions?
  4. What could Barry’s supervisor have done to identify the extent of the problem earlier? Why might he have failed to follow through on resolving the problem? Can you identify any reasons why there was a six-month delay from the time the problem was finally recognized until it was fixed?

Note:

Two students in one answer will be allowed, but individual will be much better. No text and paragraph formats required, but don’t forget the FrontPage which will contains the name(s) of student(s), course and section, date submitted, course description, case number, case title and the words “ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS”. Submit your computerized clear answers on “3-piece” plain papers (Frontpage included) before CHRISTMAS VACATION. No answers will be marked ZERO for this undertaking. STRICTLY: Late papers will not be accepted. Stapled papers will be good enough; do not place it in folder. Make use of your 2-weeks time wisely. Please follow instructions (as stated line-by-line in this paragraph). God Bless.

Source: Ethics in Information Technology by George Reynolds, Thomson Asian Edition, copyrighted @ 2006 by Course Technology (For sale in the Philippines only)

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CASE NO. 2

For IT 125 (BSIT IB)

ONLINE BROKERS EXPERIENCE PROBLEMS

In January 2001, Te Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a report calling for brokerage firms and securities dealers to evaluate their online trading programs – especially their processing capabilities. The most common complaints submitted to the SEC by users of Web trading sites are related to inadequate operational capabilities – failures or delays in processing orders online, difficulty in accessing online accounts, and the errors in processing orders. As a preventive measure, the SEC recommended that online brokers maintain detailed records of capacity evaluations, system slowdowns, and systems outages, including information about the causes and impacts of problems. The SEC also urged companies to use every reasonable effort to notify customers when they are experiencing operational difficulties.

On February 12, 2001, Charles Schwab & Co. was forced to switch its online trading Web site to a backup server for six hours. During this time period, the discounted broker’s customers were unable to either receive trade confirmation messages or view of previous transaction records. As a backup process, Schwab customers were notified to contact Schwab representatives by telephone. Customer database problems were caused by a glitch in off-the shelf software or a homegrown system, not processing capacity limitations. This disruption occurred barely one month after the SEC issued its warning to brokerage firms and securities dealers; however, no SEC fines or sanctions were levied against Charles Schwab as a result of this incident.

In the same month as the Charles Schwab incident, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) fined online brokerage TD Waterhouse Investor Services $225,000 and censured it for problems related to Web site failures that temporarily stopped it from filling online stock orders and for inadequate customer service related to the outages. According to a NYSE statement, TD Waterhouse was unable to process online customer orders on 33 different trade days over an 18-month period starting in late1998. During this time period, TD Waterhouse had approximately 250,000 online customer accounts placing an average of 48,000 trades per day with webBroker, its online order entry systems. The Web site failures ranged from a couple of minutes to nearly two hours.

The NYSE also said in its decision that TD Waterhouse didn’t maintain adequate telephone routing systems to handle orders that would have been placed online, resulting in lengthy telephone hold times for customers Furthermore, TD Waterhouse failed to adequately advise customers of an alternative touch-tone telephone order entry system, TradeDirect, that was available during all webBroker outages. As a result, many customers were unable to place orders.

To further compound their problems, it is alleged that TD Waterhouse failed to report some 18,000 verbal and 2300 e-mail complaints related to these outages to the SEC as required by Exchange Information Memorandum 98-3. The statistical information on customer complaints is important because the information discloses trends and issues that may be used in determining the focus of future SEC examinations.

TD Waterhouse accepted the penalties without admitting or denying its guilt. A TD Waterhouse spokesperson said that the firm was sanctioned for the way it handles the outages, not the actual outages. The software issues that caused the outages have been corrected and no webBrowser outages have been reported since April 2001.

QUESTIONS:

  1. State your reactions about the readings.
  2. What material differences exist between the outage experienced by Charles Schwab versus those of TD Waterhouse? Do you think that the differences were significant enough that it was fair that the one firm received no fine or sanctions while the other was heavily fined? Why or why not?
  3. Do any elements of negligence present themselves in the actions of Charles Schwab? TD Waterhouse? Which company might be at greater risk of a negligence lawsuit on behalf of its customers? Why?
  4. Imagine that you are an outside consultant assigned to a TD Waterhouse team charged with responsibility to “put an end” to customer service interruptions. One focus area you wish to explore is the need for a professional code of ethics, licensing, and/or certification of employees that have anything to do with the online brokerage systems. How would you assess if such actions are appropriate?

Note:

Two students in one answer will be allowed, but individual will be much better. No text and paragraph formats required, but don’t forget the FrontPage which will contains the name(s) of student(s), course and section, date submitted, course description, case number, case title and the words “ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS”. Submit your computerized clear answers on “3-piece” plain papers (Frontpage included) before CHRISTMAS VACATION. No answers will be marked ZERO for this undertaking. STRICTLY: Late papers will not be accepted. Stapled papers will be good enough; do not place it in folder. Make use of your 2-weeks time wisely. Please follow instructions (as stated line-by-line in this paragraph). God Bless.

Source: Ethics in Information Technology by George Reynolds, Thomson Asian Edition, copyrighted @ 2006 by Course Technology (For sale in the Philippines only)


3 comments:

nilo said...

Salamat sa info, ngayon ko lang nalaman ito :)

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