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Legal issues

Data protection act 1998

Computer misuse act 1990

Freedom of information act 2000

Ethical issues

LEGAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES BUSINESS COMMUNICATION EBONY THOMPSON BARNET AND SOUTHGATE COLLEGE


Ebony Thompson

Business Communication

P5 - Explain the legal and ethical issues in relation to the use of business information In this assignment I will be referring to Coca Cola when I am discussing the legal and ethical issues. Coca Cola operate on a large scale selling their drinks in many different countries all over the world so they should operate their business ethically thinking about saving energy and giving their workers a fair wage. Legal issues Legal issues are matters that individual people or businesses have to deal with where they have carried out activities that raises questions of the law. Data Protection Act 1998 – the data protection protects the information obtained about people from being misused. Information that is stored by businesses in their databases must be: o o o o o o o

Obtained fairly and lawfully Used only for the purposes stated during collection Adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the intended Accurate and up to date Not kept for longer than necessary Processed in line with your rights Subject to procedures to prevent unlawful processing, accidental loss, destruction and damage to personal data o Protected from transfer to an area outside the European economic area Coca Cola have policies in place of how they protect personal information ‘Coca-Cola takes the protection of personal data seriously. Our database is hosted in the USA and we’ implement similar safeguards as required by European standards to ensure that your personal data is protected from loss or theft’.

Reference: An example of Carphone Warehouse breaking the data protection act.

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Ebony Thompson

Business Communication

Above is an example of how a few years ago Carphone Warehouse broke the data protection act. In 2008 Carphone Warehouse and their sister company TalkTalk allowed some customers to be exposed to information about other customers personal account information. As well as sharing personal information about other customers to each other they have shared this information along with incorrect customer account details with credit and debt collection agencies. This breaches of the data protection act because Carphone Warehouse customers have signed a contract only releasing their personal details to Carphone Warehouse and no other company. Even though Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk claim that it happened because they were going through a busy period, they should been taking more care when opening customer accounts and not getting customers information mixed up. The data protection act explains that customers, employees and other people have the right not for their information to be passed on to other people or businesses without authorised permission, therefore Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk should not have allowed their customers account details to be exposed to other customers. Also Carphone Warehouse have the right to pass on their customers information to debt collection agencies if they feel as if their customers have failed to pay their bill, however, they should not have got customers information muddled up and passed on the wrong customers information. As a result of this breach the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) carried out an investigation on Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk finding out that they had failed to meet basic standards of the data protection act. However, Carphone Warehouse now have a link on their website that explains how they handle customers’ data and what they do to protects it.

Example, of Carphone Warehouse privacy policy

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Ebony Thompson

Business Communication

Computer Misuse Act 1990 – this act is protection against people and other organisations against hacking, copying and pasting personal/confidential information of people without their permission. Copyright is a form of breaking the computer misuse act. This is an act that says that activities such as hacking into peoples computers, misusing software or helping a person access to protected files on someone else’s computer. The computer misuse act covers these three sections: o Unauthorised access to computer material o Unauthorised access to computer systems with intent to commit another offence o Unauthorised modification of computer material.

The BBC broke the computer misuse act by using a computer programme to gain access to peoples’ computers and bring down other organisations websites. This BBC programme 3


Ebony Thompson

Business Communication

managed over 20,000 computers by sending out spams to gain access to the content of people’s email accounts. The BBC clearly broke the computer misuse act because they purposely create a software programme with the intent to hack into peoples personal email accounts on their home computers. As an institution the BBC had no right to hack into peoples email accounts by sending out spams to online web links. As a result of this the BBC had to shut down their illegal programme and stop using it immediately. Also the police arrested two journalists as a result of this hacking scandal as they were considered to be the two main people involved in running the illegal programme. Example, of the BBC’s privacy policy.

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – this act gives people the right to know about information that has been obtained that effects them or that they are affected by.

This act says that individual people and organisations have the right to request information held by a public authority. Public authorities must tell applicant whether they have information about them on their database about them.

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Ebony Thompson

Business Communication

An example of how Coca Cola customers can fill in a request for to receive any information from Coca Cola that they have about them.

The freedom of information act allows people to find out information about them that organisations have records of. For example, a hospital, doctors or dentist will have medical records about people and they do not have permission to give out these records to any un authorised person or organisation unless the person has said so. In the event that a person wanted to change their doctor or dentist they can call up their doctor and ask them to release their medical records to them. However, sometimes doctors might refuse to do so but under the freedom of information act people have the right to see what ever, records that are on file about them whether they are medical, criminal, personal or work related. On the Coca Cola UK website they have published reports about their business that they feel customers need to know. For example, they have published, financial reports, the ingredients that is in their drinks and how they are environmentally friendly.

This is an example of how the Scotland local authority has breached the freedom of information act and they were reprimanded because of their unlawful actions. The Scotland authority denied access to an organisation that wanted to seek information from their speed camera feeds in the area of Scotland.

Ethical issues Ethical issues are committing acts where a person or a business has acted morally by knowing what are the rights and wrongs. For example the use of emails, internet and whistle blowing is a part of the ethical issues conduct. If a person gives out their email address to a company and they do not have permission to give it out to third parties unless they’ve ticked the box that allowed them to. However, very often this happens where organisations will give out their customers/clients email address or telephone numbers to their sister companies or third parties. The use of internet in terms of ethical issues means that a person or a company cannot use the internet to obtain illegal or personal information about someone or something. For example, if a person uses their friend or family members 5


Ebony Thompson

Business Communication

password to look into their personal bank account or online social website that would be doing something wrong under operating ethical issues. Whistle blowing (when an employee reports some unethical activities that have taken place in their work place) is something else that it considered unethical. An example of people whistle blowing is through the WikiLeaks website, a website that is designed for whistle blowers to anonymously leak information to them and then they will publish it. Organisational policies and code of practice are rules or a code of conduct that businesses put together that outlines the way in which they intend to operate and run their business. Organisations, like Coca Cola have policies that explains how they will operate their business and practice ethically. For example, Coca Cola has a general code of conduct that all of their divisions (Europe, American, and North Africa) will abide by and operates their division according to the Coca Cola code of business conduct. As part of their policies Coca Cola have ownership over all of the information they retain daily and employee records. The information that Coca Cola have in their ownership they have to keep confidential and can only be view by authorised people. For example, Coca Cola’s employee and division records they have to keep private and they have to protect it from it being leaked.

Bibliorgraphy http://www.coca-colacompany.com/investors/code-of-business-conduct http://www.out-law.com/page-8808 http://www.out-law.com/page-9863 http://selfhelp.carphonewarehouse.com/SelfHelp/request.do?view()=c{9dca8690-e4b611de-e56d-000000000000} http://www.out-law.com/page-5760

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Ebony Thompson

Business Communication

http://www.bbc.co.uk/privacy/information/protecting/your-information.html http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/faq/

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