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The Issue of Ethics in Software Systems


Ethics in software systems is one of the greatest factors to be put into consideration by software developers. Software systems are very necessary to all users, and this factor calls for high levels of ethics among all software users. Therefore, software systems developers need to ensure good and friendly relations between them and the software system users. Without considering positive behaviors among the software systems users, good morals would deteriorate hence leading to potential unforeseen ethical lapses in the software solution. This paper focuses on issues and devises remedies for ethical lapsing in online job boards as one of the software systems.

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It is the responsibility of the system developers to enhance ethics between all the parties involved as users of software systems. Ethics is the study of principles relating to right or wrong conduct; in other words, morality should be considered adversely. Good and positive morals should be embraced and put into action by all the users of the system software. According to Ozkaya (2019), open computer programming models, together with consumer-to-consumer and business-to-business internet businesses, naturally presented remarkable design problems in areas, for instance, security, ownership, access rights, data rights, external system reliance, etc. All these software systems design concerns are directly related to ethics.

Unforeseen lapses in ethical controls have been a big challenge. For instance, in the case of online job boards, critically, it is right to conclude that this sector is affected by ethical issues. This problem has been due to the outcome of the increased accessibility of macro or big data systems and, more so, the infiltration of artificial intelligence (AI) into the software-empowered systems. Most apprehensions today regarding software engineering spin around the ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) (Ozkaya, 2019). The apprehensions mostly pay attention to the unbiased and fair use of data of system users. Artificial Intelligence is the opinion and growth of computer systems able to carry out tasks requiring human Intelligence. This Intelligence includes visual recognition, decision making, speech acknowledgment, and language conversion. All these factors make it possible for software system users, in this case, online job boards, to have access to software customers’ information or data.

To some extent, evil-minded persons convince some soft-hearted software users and lure them with false online business promises which even do not exist. They end up stealing hefty amounts of cash from these customers. This theft factor, therefore, clearly explains the unethical behaviors of such evil-minded individuals. To combat this issue, software systems developers need to put some strict measures on such persons. It must be done to secure the lured people on such false promises regarding benefiting from an online job that does not even exist in the real sense. This is a feasible remedy as the system developers can access each activity happening or happening on their system; hence easier to track the persons whose ethical or good morals on using a system software have lapsed. This action, therefore, will help cater to the most vulnerable people who are most likely to be lured, for example, the aged and the illiterate persons.

To another extent, ethical lapsing may result in to use of online job boards in some ways that may lead to dilemmas. According to (SHRM, 2021), posting a job ad on an online job board that does not exist is an ethical dilemma that arises in recruiting. This act can impact the reputation of the involved company and the individual recruiter. On the other hand, the applicants, after realizing that the posted position was imaginary, may end up lacking the interest to apply to the victim company in future posts even if the positions will be there. This behavior will result due to a lack of trust by the job applicants due to earlier false posts and promises. This action then will adversely affect the organization’s performance if it lacks the required workforce. To avoid this issue, the online job board software system’s developers will need to regulate the check-out of the company’s posts regarding position seekers. Again, this remedy will be achievable as the developers have access to anything posted on the system.

Software developers greatly consider ethics in their development of software systems. This is of great importance to the system developers to evade some ethical challenges. This factor is to protect the software systems’ customers’ privacy and protection against illegal invaders (Ozkaya, 2019). Therefore, system developers face some consideration to challenges in formulating software systems. To avoid leaking and exposing system customers’ data and information to unnecessary persons and invaders, developers need to find implications on how to develop the software and how it will be configured, deployed, and validated.

New technologies raise some new ethical and legal questions when used for hiring purposes. Online job boards, therefore, fall under this category when it comes to posting and hiring individuals online. These questions arise around the privacy of the software systems’ customers and users and should be considered keenly by developers. One example of such questions that system developers should be asking in hiring concerns would be what temptations would the companies face concerning the candidate’s privacy relating to personal characteristics? Big or macro data and artificial Intelligence will continue to be able to determine the proxy for private, personal characteristics with increased accuracy as technology advances. Due to artificial Intelligence, an online job board can use online platforms, such as Facebook, to infer sexual orientation and race. This option would infer considerably more accuracy due to AI. These actions clearly describe the ethical lapse of the company using individuals’ protected information in the even unlawful hiring process.

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In explanation, when companies are tempted to use such tools to screen candidates, they may engage in unethical behaviors due to discriminating against candidates upon their gender, sex, place of birth, or native language. This unethical behavior will be stimulated by artificial Intelligence to access protected individual personal data and information without the knowledge of the owner. The company can further illegally access private and protected information that it does not have the right to examine, such as mental ailment and likely physical illness. It is unclear how the court can control such a situation where employers have depended on using these proxy variables.

Despite this uncertainty about court decisions on such a situation, the fact remains that it is illegal to take adverse protected individual information and attributes, no matter how the data was learned and deduced. This action hence becomes evidence of unforeseen ethical lapse on online job boards. In addition, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act typically forbids employers from using lie detector checks as a pre-employment screening tool. On the other hand, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act forbids using genetic details in employment determinations. These acts hence help to resolve the ethical lapse issue among employers using online job boards.

Another question that developers should be asking themselves when formulating and developing software systems is what temptations will corporations face in terms of the candidate’s privacy concerning their way of life and activities? Employers using online platforms can easily approach and access all information regarding candidates’ daily activities, for instance, check-ins. The check-ins may include activities such as church attendance on Sunday, their visit to their grandparents, a candidate’s wedding during the weekend, or even another filing a divorce in a civil court (Harvard Business Review, 2021). Again, access to candidates’ check-ins is stimulated by artificial Intelligence making the candidate’s privacy to be easily accessed by individuals not meant to access the information. The software community, therefore, needs to put some strong measures regarding their customer’s private and protected information access to irrelevant persons online. This action will, therefore, include employers and prevent them from accessing candidates’ information without their knowledge to avoid employers’ unethical practice of discrimination against the candidates they hired online using online job boards.

Among the other many questions that systems developers should ask themselves upon formulating and developing software systems, they should ask themselves, what temptations would the corporations face about candidates’ privacy in relation to disabilities? Due to the new technology and AI, employers can have access to private information of their candidates regarding their private attributes, private lives, state of mind, and private challenges. This access will mean an ethical lapse in online job boards by employers due to illegal access to candidates protected and private information without the candidate’s consent. Therefore, the software community needs to formulate new and strong strategies to help them combat these issues of access to people’s private information. Furthermore, software engineers should willingly and faithfully follow and avail of the available Software Engineering Code of Ethics in their software development (HyperionDev Blog, 2021). They should therefore act consistently in the interest of the public and safeguard their customers’ private information as tight as possible.

Online job boards, employers, and recruiters have got some key roles to play to combat ethics, elapsing to the software systems whenever they use them. Human resource individuals of various companies should use Artificial Intelligence in a way that prevents job discrimination in the job market. By doing this, all controversial features that could result in legal and ethical consequences for corporations regarding candidates’ discrimination and unfairness in the job market could be evaded. Therefore, the human resource department, in their recruitment process, should not discriminate against candidates as they interact with them through the help of Artificial Intelligence online. The HR, therefore, should not discriminate against candidates based on facial expression or physical attractiveness, sexual orientation in images and voice, age, race, gender, the connotation of words, and so on (Fernández-Martínez & Fernández, 2020). This act will help evade unethical behavior of the company’s HR individuals hence combating the ethics lapse problem on online job boards.


Conclusively, there should be consequences for unethical software, especially for system engineers. The system engineers of a software system whose ethics have adversely lapsed should be subjected to face the consequences upon violation of the Software Engineering Code of Ethics. This would be appropriate to protect employers against discriminating candidates upon finding and accessing all their private information on various software systems platforms. These actions will help companies use the online job board to eradicate the problem of unethical behavior towards their candidates hence combating unforeseen ethics that elapse on online job boards.


Fernández-Martínez, C., & Fernández, A. (2020). AI and recruiting software: Ethical and legal implications. Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics, 11(1), 199-216. Web.

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Harvard Business Review. (2021). The Legal and Ethical Implications of Using AI in Hiring. Harvard Business Review. Web.

HyperionDev Blog. (2018). How to handle ethics issues in software development. Hyperiondev blog. Web.

Ozkaya, I. (2019). Ethics is a software design concern. IEEE Software, 36(3), 4-8. Web.

SHRM. (2021). what are some common ethical dilemmas that HR professionals face during the recruiting process? SHRM. Web.

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