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Gift of Fire, A: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing and the Internet, 3rd Edition

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Gift of Fire, A: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing and the Internet, 3rd Edition

  • By
  • Published Dec 27, 2007 by Pearson.


  • Sorry, this book is no longer in print.
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  • Focus on solutions to computer-related problems from technology and from markets, management, and law.
  • Discussion of how computers change established institutions and conventions.
  • Comparison of the risks and problems of computer technology with other technologies and non-computerized alternatives.
  • Historical background on many issues.
  • Analysis of ethical issues facing today's computer professionals.
  • Wide range of topics, including some not covered in similar texts.
  • Coverage of current issues and controversies, from multiple perspectives.
  • Problem-solving approach.
  • Many examples from real incidents and cases.
  • The Appendix features two professional codes of ethics for computer science professionals.
  • Shaded "boxes" that describe examples, cases, or historical background.
  • Roughly 350 exercises including review questions, essay questions, activities, and questions for class discussion. 
    • More than 130 are completely new; many others are revised and updated. 
    • The extensive amount of exercises, many of which are based on real cases, provides a wealth of options for classroom discussion, term paper topics, and further study.
  • Additional Supplements:

    -Visit the Author Website to access instructor materials including a lecture outline, assignments, class discussion questions and more. (Available 2/08)

    - To download additional password protected instructor files, including  Power Point Slides and Test Bank click on the 'Resources' tab.


  • Copyright 2008
  • Edition: 3rd
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-600848-8
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-600848-4

Gift of Fire is ideal for courses in Computer Ethics and Computers and Society.

In this revision of a best-seller, Baase explores the social, legal, philosophical, ethical, political, constitutional, and economic implications of computing and the controversies they raise. With a computer scientist's perspective, and with historical context for many issues, she covers the issues readers will face both as members of a technological society and as professionals in computer-related fields. A primary goal is to develop computer professionals who understand the implications of what they create and how it fits into society at large. 

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapters

Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Computing: Errors, Failures, and Risk

Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Computing: Professional Ethics and Responsibilities

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Unwrapping the Gift

1.1 The Ubiquity of Computers and the Rapid Pace of Change

1.2 New Developments and Dramatic Impacts

    1.2.1 Amateur Creative Works: Blogs and Video Sharing

    1.2.2 Connections

    1.2.3 Collaborative Efforts Among Strangers

    1.2.4 E-commerce and Free Stuff

    1.2.5 Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Motion

    1.2.6 Tools for Disabled People

    1.2.7 What Next?

1.3 An Introduction to Some Issues and Themes

    1.3.1 Issues

    1.3.2 Themes

    1.4 Ethics

    1.4.1 What Is Ethics, Anyway?

    1.4.2 A Variety of Ethical Views

    1.4.3 Some Important Distinctions

Chapter 2 Privacy

2.1 Privacy and Computer Technology

    2.1.1 Introduction

    2.1.2 New Technology, New Risks

    2.1.3 Terminology and Principles for Data Collection and Use

2.2 Big Brother Is Watching You

    2.2.1 Databases

    2.2.2 The Fourth Amendment, Expectation of Privacy, and Surveillance Technologies

    2.2.3 Video Surveillance

2.3 Diverse Privacy Topics

    2.3.1 Marketing, Personalization and Consumer Dossiers

    2.3.2 Location Tracking

    2.3.3 Stolen and Lost Data

    2.3.4 What We Do Ourselves

    2.3.5 Public Records: Access vs. Privacy

    2.3.6 National ID Systems

    2.3.7 Children

2.4 Protecting Privacy: Technology, Markets, Rights, and Laws

    2.4.1 Technology and Markets

    2.4.2 Rights and Law

    2.4.3 Privacy Regulations in the European Union

2.5 Communications

    2.5.1 Wiretapping and E-mail Protection

    2.5.2 Designing Communications Systems for Interception

    2.5.3 Secret Intelligence Gathering

    2.5.4 Encryption Policy

Chapter 3 Freedom of Speech

3.1 Changing Communications Paradigms

    3.1.1 Regulating Communications Media

    3.1.2 Free-Speech Principles   

3.2 Co


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