Case Study : The Internet of Things and Ethics

Antoniou, Josephina orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0169-1299 and Andreou, Andreas (2019) Case Study : The Internet of Things and Ethics. The Orbit Journal, 2 (2). ISSN 2515-8562

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The Internet of Things (IoT) may be defined as a network of networks, where the end devices are not user-handled devices but can be computing devices, mechanical and digital machines. In many businesses, IoT-based software is used increasingly as a means to deliver enhanced customer service and improved business management procedures. By using IoT to monitor business operations, through tracking-capable software, businesses are, for instance, able to track products and employees. The issue is further explored through literature review and a case study of a company developing IoT based monitoring software.

The review focuses on the effects of using IoT as part of Smart Information Systems, especially systems supported by 5G networks in the near future. The effects on the users of SIS are referred to by the term Quality of Experience (QoE) and the specific effects of 5G networks on QoE are discussed in this background review. Since the user experience is also affected by such actions as employee and asset monitoring with the use of IoT, a brief overview of legal aspects follows the technological details of QoE in an IoT-aware 5G system. The legal/human rights analysis is presented through the literature, and takes into account some suggestions for guidelines and policies on monitoring is offered. A discussion on ethics and perceptions around monitoring and tracking is further presented.

The CRM.COM case focuses thereafter on how the company provides tracking software as a service and as a product for businesses nationally and in several countries worldwide. The case study discusses the ethics of such IoT-powered software, by considering both their design and their usage.

Overall, the area of using IoT-based tracking and monitoring applications to assist and enhance specific business processes is growing and becoming increasingly popular, both in terms of development and use. Being a new research area, however, it lacks sufficient literature that examines the ethical, social, economic and legal implications of the use of this technology. Such studies into the design, development and use of such IoT-based applications present important relevant information that enriches the state-of-the-art literature on the topic both from an academic and a practical perspective.

This report offers an original case study on the use of an IoT related SIS in the software design and development area. Many of the ethical and legal issues discussed in this report have been analysed more generally within academia and assessed in other areas of application, but have rarely been associated with the IoT usage for tracking and monitoring. Therefore, this report will be highly valuable for the development and furthering of theory, knowledge and application for designing, developing and using such IoT based applications.

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