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Ethics of an IT device about collecting DNA (IT prespective )

31272 Project Management and the Professional

Leveraging off some Australian research, a small company has developed hardware to perform genetic tests. It is a small device which attaches via USB to a computer or mobile phone (as long as it can run the appropriate software). The software to control the device uploads and self installs enabling anyone to interpret the results.

In essence it means anyone with one of these devices can read, analyse and store any other human’s DNA. All that’s needed is a single human hair not less than 0.1 cm in length, some saliva, skin cells, or other human cells.. The analytical software that comes with the device will allow the user to look for any defects, analyse the genes, etc., The software allows you to store a complete DNA code and compare it to others stored using external storage.

The software is yet to be written, you have been offered a job as Human Computer Interaction Specialist for a major part of the User Interface. You have been chosen for your previous history of providing high quality, simple, intuitive, user interfaces. The job meets all your expectations.

The manager then advises you this device is going to generate a lot of public interest and release of the product may be delayed. He said he thinks the company has a strategy to deal with this.
Task :

Part 1 (15%) Report – to be given to the manager.

To ensure that you understand the issues involved, before being employed, the manager has asked you to write a report on the ethics of such a device (the hardware and the easy to use software) in terms of its use.. You must keep in mind that without a simplified user interface to the complex software of the device, it could only be used by trained medical staff.
He has asked you for this report to clarify what ethical issues will be relevant to you, an IT professional, as you will be employed by him. You are not to concern yourself with other ethical issues of the device, as that is outside your expertise and, understanding the other issues, is the manager’s responsibility.
You should report from the viewpoint of potential stakeholders (e.g. members of the ACS, businesses, general public, various government departments etc) in terms of at least 3 of the ethical theories discussed by Dr Grant Mooney in his lectures (slides 24 28, PMP lecture 3). Why might these stakeholders agree or object to this proposal?

The report should also discuss the ethical IT issues in relation to the ACS code of ethics and code of conduct.

Although the company is currently thinking of implementing this service in Australia, it may want to use the software in other countries – you should also look at at least one other ethical code of conduct, for example that of the Chartered Institute for IT (BCS), the US Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) or the New Zealand Computer Society (NZCS) . Differences between these ethical guidelines should be discussed in relation to the report.

N.B. All your points will need to be argued with appropriate reasons and references. Merely making statements will be insufficient. Failure to make a decision and support it can incur the loss of up to 6% of your marks.

Part 2(5%) Personal Opinion – NOT to be given to the manager.

Would you accept the job? Are there any conditions where you would accept the job or not accept the job?

Hint :

The movie Gattaca may be useful background to help understand some of the issues, although there are many other sources.

Hand In

A MANAGEMENT REPORT that includes the following sections:
1. Executive Summary (for task 1 only)
2. Table of Contents
3. Task 1 (this should include an introduction, recommendations
and a conclusion)
4. Task 2 (this should include an introduction and a conclusion)
5. Bibliography
6. Appendices (if applicable).

Your management report must be in a business report format and include cross references to support information.

Referencing and the Bibliography must be in an acceptable format. See Referencing Standards below.

Assessment : The Marking Scheme is as follows:

Presentation up to 5% of marks can be lost if the following are not present..

● Cover sheet
(student #, name, Tutor Name, Tutorial Number, report title
NOT just the FEIT cover sheet)
● Executive summary
● Quotes, Diagrams (where applicable)
● Correct Harvard referencing
● Correct English expression, & spelling
● Introduction, body of essay, & recommendations
● Logical division of chapters or sections
● Assertions backed up by quoted sources
● More than 10 references for part 1 and 2 or more references for part 2.

Content 15% Task 1 – 5% Task 2

● Correct length of answer without verbosity
● Deals correctly & fully with the topic
● Arguments for (and against where appropriate)
● Clarity in the overall aim of the answer
● Clarity and sufficient amount of analysis
● No large amount of material quoted
● Appropriate referencing if needed

Referencing Standards:
All material derived from other works must be acknowledged and referenced accordingly using the Harvard Referencing Style,

Late penalty:
Late submission of assignment 1 will attract a one mark per day late penalty, more than seven days late the assignment will receive zero unless special consideration has been sought and granted. Special consideration, for late submission, must be arranged beforehand with the subject co-ordinator.

Students are reminded of the principles laid down in the “Statement of Good Practice and Ethics in Informal Assessment” (pages 5 & 6 of the Faculty Handbook). Unless otherwise stated in a specific handout, all assessment tasks in this subject should be your own original work. Any collaboration with another student (or group) should be limited to those matters described in “Acceptable Behaviour” section of the Handbook. For essay questions, students should pay particular attention to the recognition of “Plagiarism” as described in that section of the Handbook (page 6). Any infringement by a student will be considered a breach of discipline and will be dealt with in accordance with Rules and By-Laws of the University. Penalties such as zero marks for assignments or subjects may be imposed.

Expected standard of the work
You are expected to conceptualize the problem or issue, find relevant references for context, facts, theory and examples, come up with a point of view (not necessarily one sided) and support that point of view with argument and references. In some cases, the “point of view” will be a design proposal. Your presentations should be written as if they are addressing an audience, not attempting to satisfy course requirements.

Improve your academic and English language skills: HELPS (Higher Education
Language and Presentation Support) Service provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS is located in Student Services, on level 3 building 1 at City campus and via the Student Services area at Kuring-gai campus. Phone 9514-2327 or 9514-2361.

The Faculty of Engineering and IT intranet (MyFEIT: and the Faculty Student Guide
( provide extensive information about the services and support available to students within the Faculty”


You should reference the relevant ACS site:

1. You are encouraged to use the UTS Library on-line Journal Database accessible from
You need to obtain UTS e-mail user id and password by activating your UTS e-mail account at in order access the resource through out-of-campus facilities.

2. Most organisations have templates for management reports, such as the list of sections given in the assignment. It serves 2 purposes:
a. a checklist for the writer to make sure all topics are covered that the company thinks are relevant.
b. Makes it easier for management to find information in the report. Individual managers will often not read the whole report.

In other words, if you are given a template, USE IT.

3. The Executive Summary summarises the report’s findings & recommendations. It can stand by itself as an overview of your ideas. You write it last. An Introduction tells you what the report is going to cover. (see UTS-Online as well as google this!)

Guideline that I(the student requesting this) personally wrote.
Here are few guidelines to help understand what needs to be delivered.

1- Focus on Privacy (but the report shouldn’t be entirely about privacy)
2- Please use the following resources in the report. And you may add whatever you find suitable. (at least 10 references are needed for part 1 and 2 for part 2.

3- Here is an example of what should be done in the body of the report. “Deontology is “…”. From the point of view of deontology, a small consumer group may disapprove because they believe it is …. A member of the ACS may agree because …
Ethical Relativism is “…”. From the point of view of ethical relativism, a small consumer group may disapprove because they believe it is…
The disapproval is static, but what causes them to disapprove? This could lead on to how can we persuade them to change their opinion.

4- Discuss between each point of view of the stakeholders that are mentioned in the assignment sheet and compare, relate and debate using all Ethical codes of conduct that I gave you links for( ACS, NZCS, BCS and ACM)

5- Please follow the marking criteria and scheme provided in the assignment sheet.
6- Thank you.


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