To start real conversations on IT ethics, we can turn to a fictional story

I have written a book titled The More Things Change: A Case Study to Introduce Information Technology Ethics.” I felt people needed a fictional story to help them understand how ethics questions come up in the day to day life of a programmer. For this story, I set it in Manitoba in the 1980s but some things have not changed since those days, and the privacy issues that the protagonist, Carol, struggles within the story could still happen today.

The good news is that IT ethics issues are becoming more visible. CBC radio recently ran a segment titled “Why computer science students are demanding more ethics classes.”

In the segment, Nora Young interviews Shannon Vallor who teaches ethics and emerging technology at Santa Clara University. Shannon Vallor talks about her students and says:

“Primarily, I’m teaching them to think more critically and more reflectively about the kinds of social, political and moral challenges that are emerging from new technologies and what kinds of resources as individuals, as members of organizations and industries, and as citizens of a democratic society they will need, in order to manage those challenges wisely and well.”

Unfortunately, the segment also makes the statement that “In Canada, computer science students aren’t generally required to take ethics courses.” For decades now, CIPS has made ethics training a requirement for any program that is accredited with it. There are more than 25 universities in Canada and many more colleges and institutions that have multiple programs accredited through CIPS. Canadian IT students take ethics courses.

Despite this, I give presentations about IT Ethics and often get questions afterward asking “What does all this philosophy mean to me?” My book makes ethics as approachable as a fictional novel. It is a bit nostalgic about some old technologies and introduces some people and internal office politics that may feel familiar.

The More Things Change: A Case Study to Introduce Information Technology Ethics” is available from Benchmark Press and on



Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Donna Lindskog
Donna Lindskog
Donna Lindskog is an Information Systems Professional (retired) and has her Masters degree in Computer Science from the University of Regina. She has worked in the IT industry since 1978. Most of those years were at SaskTel where she progressed from Programmer, to Business Analyst, to Manager. At one point she had over 48 IT positions reporting to her and she has experience outside of IT managing Engineers. As a Relationship Manager, Donna worked with executive to define the IT Principles so departmental roles were defined. As the Resource Manager in the Corporate Program/Project Management Office, she introduced processes to get resources for corporate priorities. In 2003 she was given the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in Technology.

Featured Download

IT World Canada in your inbox

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Latest Blogs

Senior Contributor Spotlight