HW 20: Chapter 20

20.10:  You work for a software company that has developed a system that provides information about consumers and that is used within a SoS by a number of other retail businesses. They pay you for the services used. Discuss the ethics of changing the system interfaces without notice to coerce users into paying higher charges. Consider this question from the point of view of the company’s employees, customers, and shareholders.

I would say this definitely intrudes into the unethical category of software design.  Anything done with the intention of tricking the user into paying more money is wrong in my opinion.  I think that if they were going to implement this feature they should definitely have transparency about the changes they made.  I think all software releases should provide users with a detailed change log regardless of the purpose of the changes.  If I was an employee at this company, I would not want to develop this feature and would probably lose my job if I refused to do so.  Not only this, but I would be concerned about footing the blame if the customers found out.  Obviously, as a customer of this service, you would not be happy if you found out this had happened, and would seek reimbursement or perhaps it could be grounds for legal action (although, I know there are many software companies that have adopted a similar business model and not been punished).  Sadly, it probably makes sense for shareholders to come up with such an idea and implement it based on their risk versus reward analytics.  


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