Ethics is a set of moral principles that govern the behavior of an individual or group of people. Computer ethics is the application of moral principles to the use of computers and the Internet. Examples include intellectual property rights, privacy policies, and online etiquette, or "netiquette".
Computers make it easy to duplicate and redistribute digital content. However, it is ethical to respect copyright guidelines. When using software, it is important to understand and follow the license agreement, or SLA. Using commercial software without paying for a license is considered piracy and is a violation of computer ethics. Hacking, or gaining unauthorized access to a computer system, is also an unethical way to use computers.
As technology advances, computers and the Internet have an increasing impact on society. Therefore, computer ethics must be part of the discussion whenever creating new technologies. A modern example is how artificial intelligence affects existing jobs and human communication. When computer ethics is part of the conversation, it helps ensure new technologies positively affect society.