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Social Issues in Computer Technology

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  1. Privacy of the Individual.
  2. Health and Safety.
  3. Data Security.
  4. Conclusion

One issue that Australians will be confronted with in the future is the privacy of the individual, in lieu of the proposal of computerizing personal medical records. Due to the fact that medical records hold highly sensitive information about what are possibly an individual's most intimate details, the right to privacy is of principal importance in the medical records context (Davis, 2001). Demographic information such as age, sex, race, marital status, children, and occupation; financial information, such as employment status, income, and methods of payment; personal identifiers other than name, including social security number, addresses, and phone numbers are found in medical records. Moreover, information of the reasons why the patient needs treatment are also specified in these documents. This reason can perhaps range from being a victim of a violent crime, firearm injury, or the at-fault party in an auto accident. Additional information can be those which certify that an individual has a communicable or other disease, or a particular genetic propensity (Hodge, 2000).

[...] And to add there are still those numerous healthcare employees who view an individual's personal health information in the course of treatment, or the ease of access to computer terminals within the hospital setting. If an estimate is to be made, roughly more than four hundred people are likely to view part or all of a patient's medical record during a typical hospital stay (Davis, 2001). Weakness in keeping medical records private threatens not just the possibility of unwarranted and possibly illegal misuse or discrimination by healthcare providers, insurance companies, employers and marketplace participants but also could negatively affect the quality of care. [...]

[...] They have also emphasized the value of consulting workers early on in the introduction of novel technology to gain their support. Training and retraining are also valuable in optimizing the positive effects of new technology (Aborg, 1994; Linsenmayer, 1985). However, on the negative side, experts are also worried about the new hazards posed by technology. One specific example that has been cited is the erratic action patterns of robot arms that have been documented in Europe, Japan, and the United States. [...]

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