Gift of Fire, A: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing Technology, 5th edition

  • Sara Baase, 
  • Timothy M. Henry

Your access includes:

  • Search, highlight, notes, and more
  • Easily create flashcards
  • Use the app for access anywhere
  • 14-day refund guarantee

$10.99per month

Minimum 4-month term, pay monthly or pay $43.96 upfront

Learn more, spend less

  • Listen on the go

    Learn how you like with full eTextbook audio

  • Find it fast

    Quickly navigate your eTextbook with search

  • Stay organized

    Access all your eTextbooks in one place

  • Easily continue access

    Keep learning with auto-renew


Watch author Timothy Henry's webinar on engaging students in Computer Ethics.

For courses in Computer Ethics and Computers and Society.


An objective study of technology ethics that inspires critical thinking and debate


In Gift of Fire, A: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing Technology, Sara Baase presents a balanced exploration of the social, legal, philosophical, ethical, political, constitutional, and economic implications of computing and the controversies they raise. With an objective computer scientist's perspective, and with historical context for many issues, Baase covers the issues students 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. This text encourages students to think about the ethics and philosophical direction behind topics but doesn’t necessarily lead students to conclusions. The 5th Edition contains updated material on new topics and examples, outdated material has been removed, and several topics have been reorganized. New material appears throughout, including material on current trending topics such as drones and autonomous cars.

Published by Pearson (July 14th 2021) - Copyright © 2018

ISBN-13: 9780137501946

Subject: Computer Ethics

Category: Gift of Fire, A: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing Technology


Table of Contents

  1. Unwrapping the Gift
    • 1.1 The Pace of Change
    • 1.2 Change and Unexpected Developments
      • 1.2.1 Self-Driving Vehicles
      • 1.2.2 Connections: Mobile Phones, Social Networking, and the Internet of Things
      • 1.2.3 E-commerce and Free Stuff
      • 1.2.4 Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Sensors, and Motion
      • 1.2.5 Tools for Disabled People
    • 1.3 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
  2. Privacy
    • 2.1 Privacy Risks and Principles
      • 2.1.1 What Is Privacy?
      • 2.1.2 New Technology, New Risks
      • 2.1.3 Terminology and Principles for Managing Personal Data
    • 2.2 The Business and Social Sectors
      • 2.2.1 Marketing and Personalization
      • 2.2.2 Our Social and Personal Activity
      • 2.2.3 Location Tracking
      • 2.2.4 A Right to Be Forgotten
    • 2.3 The Fourth Amendment and Changing Technology
      • 2.3.1 The Fourth Amendment
      • 2.3.2 Background, Law, and Court Decisions
      • 2.3.3 Applying the Fourth Amendment in New Areas
    • 2.4 Government Systems
      • 2.4.1 Video Surveillance and Face Recognition
      • 2.4.2 Databases
      • 2.4.3 Public Records: Access versus Privacy
      • 2.4.4 National ID Systems
      • 2.4.5 The NSA and Secret Intelligence Gathering
    • 2.5 Protecting Privacy: Technology and Markets
      • 2.5.1 Developing Privacy Tools
      • 2.5.2 Encryption
      • 2.5.3 Blocking Ads
      • 2.5.4 Policies for Protecting Personal Data
    • 2.6 Protecting Privacy: Theory, Rights, and Laws
      • 2.6.1 A Right to Privacy
      • 2.6.2 Law and Regulation
      • 2.6.3 Contrasting Viewpoints
    • 2.7 Privacy Regulations in the European Union
  3. Freedom of Speech
    • 3.1 The First Amendment and Communications Paradigms
      • 3.1.1 Free Speech Principles
      • 3.1.2 Regulating Communications Media
    • 3.2 Controlling Speech in Cyberspace
      • 3.2.1 What Is O ensive Speech? What Is Illegal?
      • 3.2.2 Censorship Laws and Alternatives
      • 3.2.3 Child Pornography and Sexting
      • 3.2.4 Spam
      • 3.2.5 Challenging Old Regulatory Structures and Special Interests
    • 3.3 Decisions about Legal but Objectionable Content
    • 3.4 Leaking Sensitive Material
    • 3.5 Anonymity
    • 3.6 The Global Net: Censorship and Political Freedom
      • 3.6.1 Tools for Communication, Tools for Oppression
      • 3.6.2 Aiding Foreign Censors and Repressive Regimes
      • 3.6.3 Shutting Down Communications in Free Countries
    • 3.7 Net Neutrality: Regulations or the Market?
  4. Intellectual Property
    • 4.1 Principles and Laws
      • 4.1.1 What Is Intellectual Property?
      • 4.1.2 Challenges of New Technologies
      • 4.1.3 A Bit of History
      • 4.1.4 The Fair Use Doctrine
      • 4.1.5 Ethical Arguments About Copying
    • 4.2 Signi cant Fair Use Cases and Precedents
      • 4.2.1 Sony v. Universal City Studios (1984)
      • 4.2.2 Reverse Engineering: Game Machines
      • 4.2.3 Sharing Music: The Napster and Grokster Cases
      • 4.2.4 User and Programmer Interfaces
    • 4.3 Responses to Copyright Infringement
      • 4.3.1 Defensive and Aggressive Responses from the Content Industries
      • 4.3.2 The Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Anti Circumvention
      • 4.3.3 The Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Safe Harbor
      • 4.3.4 Evolving Business Models
    • 4.4 Search Engines and Online Libraries
    • 4.5 Free Software
      • 4.5.1 What Is Free Software?
      • 4.5.2 Should All Software Be Free?
    • 4.6 Patents for Software Inventions
      • 4.6.1 Patent Trends, Confusion, and Controversies
      • 4.6.2 To Patent or Not?
  5. Crime and Security
    • 5.1 Introduction
    • 5.2 What is Hacking?
      • 5.2.1 The Evolution of Hacking
      • 5.2.2 Hacker Tools
      • 5.2.3 Is “Harmless” Hacking Harmless?
    • 5.3 Some Speci c Applications of Hacking
      • 5.3.1 Identity Theft
      • 5.3.2 Case Study: The Target Breach
      • 5.3.3 Hacktivism, or Political Hacking
      • 5.3.4 Hacking by Governments
    • 5.4 Why Is the Digital World So Vulnerable?
      • 5.4.1 Vulnerability of Operating Systems and the Internet
      • 5.4.2 Human Nature, Markets, and Vulnerability of the Internet of Things
    • 5.5 Security
      • 5.5.1 Tools to Help Protect the Digital World
      • 5.5.2 People Who Can Help Protect the Digital World
      • 5.5.3 Hacking to Improve Security
      • 5.5.4 Backdoors for Law Enforcement
    • 5.6 The Law
      • 5.6.1 The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
      • 5.6.2 Criminalize Virus Writing and Hacker Tools?
      • 5.6.3 Penalties for Young Hackers
    • 5.7 Whose Laws Rule the Web?
      • 5.7.1 A Crime in One Country but Not Another
      • 5.7.2 Libel and Freedom of Speech
      • 5.7.3 Culture, Law, and Ethics
      • 5.7.4 Potential Solutions
  6. Work
    • 6.1 Fears and Questions
    • 6.2 Impacts on Employment
      • 6.2.1 Job Destruction and Creation
      • 6.2.2 Changing Skills and Skill Levels
      • 6.2.3 Are We Earning Less and Working More?
    • 6.3 Changing Work Patterns: From Telecommuting to Gigs
      • 6.3.1 Telecommuting
      • 6.3.2 The Sharing Economy, On-Demand Services, and GIG Work
    • 6.4 A Global Workforce
    • 6.5 Employee Communication and Monitoring by Employers
      • 6.5.1 Social Media Content
      • 6.5.2 Separating–or Merging–Work and Personal Systems
      • 6.5.3 Monitoring Employer Systems and Tracking Employees
  7. Evaluating and Controlling Technology
    • 7.1 Evaluating Information
      • 7.1.1 The Need for Responsible Judgment
      • 7.1.2 Computer Models
    • 7.2 Neo-Luddite Views of Computers, Technology, and Quality of Life
      • 7.2.1 Criticisms of Computing Technologies
      • 7.2.2 Views of Economics, Nature, and Human Needs
    • 7.3 Digital Divides
      • 7.3.1 Trends in Access in the United States
      • 7.3.2 Reaching the Next Billion Users
    • 7.4 Control of Our Devices and Data
      • 7.4.1 Remote Deletion of Software and Data
      • 7.4.2 Automatic Software Upgrades
    • 7.5 Making Decisions About Technology
      • 7.5.1 Questions
      • 7.5.2 The Di culty of Prediction
      • 7.5.3 Intelligent Machines and Super-intelligent Humans–Or the End of the Human Race?
      • 7.5.4 A Few Observations
  8. Errors, Failures, and Risks
    • 8.1 Failures and Errors in Computer Systems
      • 8.1.1 An Overview
      • 8.1.2 Problems For Individuals
      • 8.1.3 System Failures
      • 8.1.4 Example: Stalled Airports at Denver, Hong Kong, and Malaysia
      • 8.1.5 Example:
      • 8.1.6 What Goes Wrong?
      • 8.1.7 Problems For Individuals
    • 8.2 Case Study:The Therac-25
      • 8.2.1 Therac-25 Radiation Overdoses
      • 8.2.2 Software and Design Problems
      • 8.2.3 Why So Many Incidents?
      • 8.2.4 Observations and Perspective
    • 8.3 Increasing Reliability and Safety
      • 8.3.1 Professional Techniques
      • 8.3.2 Trust the Human or the Computer System?
      • 8.3.3 Law, Regulation, and Markets
    • 8.4 Dependence, Risk, and Progress
      • 8.4.1 Are We Too Dependent on Computers?
      • 8.4.2 Risk and Progress
  9. Professional Ethics and Responsibilities
    • 9.1 What Is “Professional Ethics”?
    • 9.2 Ethical Guidelines for Computer Professionals
      • 9.2.1 Special Aspects of Professional Ethics
      • 9.2.2 Professional Codes of Ethics
      • 9.2.3 Guidelines and Professional Responsibilities
    • 9.3 Scenarios
      • 9.3.1 Introduction and Methodology
      • 9.3.2 Protecting Personal Data
      • 9.3.3 Designing an Application with Targeted Ads
      • 9.3.4 Webcams in School Laptops
      • 9.3.5 Publishing Security Vulnerabilities
      • 9.3.6 Specifications
      • 9.3.7 Schedule Pressures
      • 9.3.8 Software License Violation
      • 9.3.9 Going Public with Safety Concerns
      • 9.3.10 Release of Personal Information
      • 9.3.11 Conflict of Interest
      • 9.3.12 Kickbacks and Disclosure
      • 9.3.13 A Test Plan
      • 9.3.14 Artificial Intelligence and Sentencing Criminals
      • 9.3.15 A Gracious Host


The Software Engineering Code and the ACM Code

A.1. Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice

A.2. ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct


Your questions answered

Pearson+ is your 1-stop shop with eTextbooks, study tools and exam prep features designed to help students get better grades in college. eTextbooks come with built-in tools that simplify studying, like flashcards, audiobook and search. Pearson+ also features Channels, which includes practice problems, study guides, Q&A with experts, video lessons that help you understand tricky topics and more—all in one place. Channels can be purchased separately or added on to your eTextbook at the time of purchase as part of the Study & Exam Prep Pack.

A Pearson eTextbook is an easy-to-use digital version of your book for class that includes upgraded study tools to help you learn how you learn best. Use enhanced search to find what you need within your eTextbook, highlight and make notes to mark important info, generate flashcards to test your knowledge, and use audio to listen to the text. Every feature is designed to help you learn more efficiently and get results. Plus, you can learn on the go with the Pearson+ app. Find this and more in your eTextbook, available in Pearson+.

The Study & Exam Prep Pack includes practice problems, study guides, Q&A with experts, Channels video lessons that help you understand tricky topics and more. It can be added on to your eTextbook or your MyLab and Mastering learning platform at the time of purchase.

Your eTextbook subscription gives you access for 4 months. You can make a one‑time payment for the initial 4‑month term or pay monthly. If you opt for monthly payments, we will charge your payment method each month until your 4‑month term ends. You can turn on auto‑renew in My account at any time to continue your subscription before your 4‑month term ends.

When you purchase an eTextbook subscription, it will last 4 months. You can renew your subscription by selecting Extend subscription on the Manage subscription page in My account before your initial term ends.

If you extend your subscription, we'll automatically charge you every month. If you made a one‑time payment for your initial 4‑month term, you'll now pay monthly. To make sure your learning is uninterrupted, please check your card details.

To avoid the next payment charge, select Cancel subscription on the Manage subscription page in My account before the renewal date. You can subscribe again in the future by purchasing another eTextbook subscription.

Channels is a video platform with thousands of explanations, solutions and practice problems to help you do homework and prep for exams. Videos are personalized to your course, and tutors walk you through solutions. Plus, interactive AI‑powered summaries and a social community help you better understand lessons from class.

Channels is an additional tool to help you with your studies. This means you can use Channels even if your course uses a non‑Pearson textbook.

When you choose a Channels subscription, you're signing up for a 1‑month, 3‑month or 12‑month term and you make an upfront payment for your subscription. By default, these subscriptions auto‑renew at the frequency you select during checkout.

When you purchase a Channels subscription it will last 1 month, 3 months or 12 months, depending on the plan you chose. Your subscription will automatically renew at the end of your term unless you cancel it.

We use your credit card to renew your subscription automatically. To make sure your learning is uninterrupted, please check your card details.