Social Implications of a Computerized Society

Simon Fraser University

Spring Term 2009

Tentative Lecture Schedule


(Last update: March 17 2009)






Assigned Reading





Jan 6

Introduction to course. Introduction to issues and problems. Benefits of computers.

A Gift of Fire, Chapter 1.

Syllabus handed out





Part I: Web 2.0 issues.






Jan 13

Ethical Theories. Intellectual Property and Copyright Law. Music and Video Sharing.

AGF, 1.4., Ch.4.
Copyright Readings





Jan 20

Intellectual Property and Copyright Law ctd. The social web: Use and abuse of Facebook, Blogs, Wikis.

AGF, 7.1, 7.2
Internet Impact Readings.

Quiz #1




Jan 27

The social web ctd. Computer Crime. Hacking, online scams, and other computer crimes.
Sections 5.2.2-5.2.3 and 5.5 won't be on the exams, but you can discuss them in a paper/presentation.

AGF, Ch.5.






Part II: Computers and Civil Liberties






Feb 3

Freedom of Speech: Offensive speech, spam, sensitive information.
Sections 3.4, 3.6 won't be on the exams, but you can discuss them in a paper/presentation.

AGF, Ch.3


Ali, Ivan.
Jesse, Steve.



Feb 10

Web Censorship. Anonymity and Access. Privacy: introduction.

AGF, Ch.4.4-4.5, 7.3, 7.4.1-7.4.2


Danky Hung.

Feb 17 is break


Feb 24

Privacy: new threats and issues. Consumer data and privacy. Internet issues. Government use of and personal data. Surveillance technologies.

AGF, 2.4-2.5, 3.1-3.2.





March 3

Privacy ctd. Technical methods of privacy protection. Philosophical and legal views of privacy. Policies for privacy protection; encryption and private communcation.

AGF, 2.1-2.3


Alex, Jim, Andrew.




Part III: Computers in the Economy






March 10

Computers and the Work environment. Telecommuting, Employee Monitoring.
Sections 6.4, 6.5.1-.6.5.3 won't be on the exams, but you can discuss them in a paper/presentation.

AGF, Chapter 6.

Paper draft due. Comments due Sat. March 14.

Hao Chun, Branden.



March 17

Computers and Employment. Offshoring and outsourcing.
Computer errors and failures. Responsibility for failures.

AGF, Ch. 6, Ch. 8.

Final paper version due.

Ryan Quiring.



March 24

Computer errors and failures. Responsibility for failures.
Ethical issues for computer professionals. The Software Engineering Code or the ACM Code. Section 9.3 won't be on the exam, but you can discuss it in a paper/presentation.

AGF, Ch.8., Ch.9.1, 9.2


Jeffrey, Sarah,

Last quiz.


March 31

Evaluating Technology. The scope of computer technology. Could there be threats from intelligent machines?

AGF, Ch.7.4, 7.5.
Alan Turing, (1950). Computing machinery and intelligence. Mind, 59, 433-460.



No quiz.


April 7

Review for final exam. Attendance is optional. From 5:30 to about 6:30 pm, in classroom.






April 9

Final Exam, 7-10 pm, AQ 3182.







Feb 17, mid-term break. April 6, classes end