Mobile Technology, its Developments and Integration into the Society
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This research concentrates on mobile technology and its legal, ethical and security aspects. Mobile technology has helped global communication to improve. In addition, it has facilitated efficient business processes by enabling easy recording of customers’ information, updating information and placing quick orders with suppliers. Advancements in mobile technology have facilitated the production of smartphones that are lighter, cheaper and faster. However, ethical and legal issues have also risen as users interact with mobile technology. Some of these include privacy policies. In addition, security concerns have also risen because of mobile technology usage. This essay focuses on the developments of mobile technology and its integration to the society.
The history of mobile technology dates back to 1843 when Michael Faraday carried out studies on whether electricity could be conducted through space. In 1865, doctor Mahlon Lomis became the first man to communicate through wireless atmosphere. Mobile technology works by sending and receiving wireless radio signals (Lim & Siau, 2003). Examples of mobile technology devices include laptops, netbooks, global positioning system devices and wireless debit/credit card payment terminals. Mobile phone users communicate with each other through base stations that are interconnected by switching centers. Communication using mobile technology is facilitated by global system of mobile communications (GSM), Bluetooth technology and wireless fidelity networks. Other facilities that help mobile technology communication include virtual private networks, dial up services and general packet radio service (GPRS).
The potential benefits of mobile technology are many. It has enabled businesses to improve the quality of services offered to consumers. Customers are able to pay for their bills using smartphones. It saves customers travelling costs that they would have incurred if they paid their bills in the premises of a business. In addition, it helps customers to place or cancel their orders for the delivery of goods without the need to visit business premises (Goggin, 2008). Mobile technology has also improved the quality of services offered by health care facilities. Patients argue that this technology helps them to make fast requests for treatment, access health care education and communicate with hospital staff. It also helps patients to give feedback on the quality of services they receive from health care facilities.
Productivity of workers has also increased because of mobile technology. Managers are able to send urgent messages to their workers using email. It helps workers to respond to urgent issues in an organization thus improving their productivity. Workers are also able to access training programs from the Internet using their laptops (Tarasewich, Nickerson & Warkentin, 2002). Such programs help to improve skills of workers reducing wastages. Mobile technologies have also helped companies to market their products. Organizations sometimes send text messages to their consumers informing them about the introduction of new products. Moreover, companies are adopting the trend of advertising their products using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Smartphones provide links to social media sites thus helping companies to market their products. Mobile technology has also helped companies to increase innovation. This form of technology is highly interactive enabling companies to get feedback on the quality of services that it offers consumers. A company is able to develop products that match consumer needs.
Legal and Ethical Issues
Mobile technology faces several legal issues. One of the major issues is on the liable party in case a security breach occurs when a customer pays his/her services through mobile technology. It is either the customer or the service provider who faces the legal liability depending on the circumstances of the case. Another legal issue relates to the privacy of customer’s data. Companies engaging in mobile commerce have the right of tracking the location users. However, an issue rises on how these companies should use such information (Tarasewich, Nickerson & Warkentin, 2002). Some companies have faced legal liability after releasing private information of their consumers to other advertising agents. Another key legal issue concerns mobile data management. Different states have different laws on what private data should be displayed to the public. An example of this information includes hospital records.
Ethical issues have also faced mobile technology. One of the ethical issues is the increase of spyware due to the increase in mobile technology. Spyware is malicious software that collects personal information from the smartphones or laptops of consumers without the knowledge of users. Spyware disables the security settings of mobile technology devices thus making them vulnerable to attacks from hackers (Lim & Siau, 2003). Spyware attacks are unethical, because they expose personal information of users to the public. In addition, they sometimes disable the antivirus software of users’ devices making them vulnerable to virus attacks. Another ethical issue is downloading of pirated songs from illegal websites. Using laptops, people are able to download pirated songs from websites such as Piratebay. In addition, Bluetooth technology has enabled mobile users to share songs for free. Music recording companies have made massive losses because of piracy.
Wireless technologies face various security concerns. One of these concerns is attacks from viruses and worms. Examples of worms that have attacked mobile technologies include Sasser and Kargo. Worms are dangerous to wireless technology, because they penetrate firewalls and destroy network security measures (Chalmers & Sloman, 1999). Wireless network viruses also attack mobile technology devices. Example of such viruses includes MVW-WiFi. It bores into a laptop through wireless network and sends probe request packets to look for other local wireless networks. In addition, wireless technologies face the risks of flaws of software. Examples of software flaws include SQL injection flaws and cross-site scripting. Such flaws may expose personal information of consumer users to hackers thus helping them to commit frauds. Another security concern involves intrusion of personal information. External parties may access mobile technology devices that have weak firewalls. These parties may use this information to commit fraud. In addition, they may install harmful software to the mobile devices of users destroying important information.
Health care institutions have also expressed security concerns that are brought about due to mobile technology. This is because mobile technology devices connect to the medical IT networks making the records of patients to face the risk of exposure. If patients’ records are exposed to third parties, there is a risk that treatment records may be lost. It would be thus difficult to know the history of diagnosis of a particular patient. In addition, patient confidential information may also be revealed to the public. Bluesnafing and bluejacking are also a security concern facing mobile technologies. Bluejacking allows unauthorized users to send messages to a phone user connected through Bluetooth technology. Using Bluetooth technology, bluesnufers are able to steal critical data from the mobile phone of a user (Tarasewich, Nickerson & Warkentin, 2002). Experts dealing with security of mobile technologies warn that these crimes are dangerous, because it is hard to track bluesnafers and bluejackers.
Mobile technology has also caused many social problems. Drivers are exposed to the risk of road accidents when they communicate via mobile phones while driving at the same time. Research conducted by Harvard Center for Risk Analysis revealed that drivers who used cell phones while driving caused over 6 % of auto accidents. Moreover, communication via cell phones exposes private conversations to third parties. Another social problem of mobile technology is poor mobile etiquette while using cellular phones. It is common for people to answer calls while they are in classrooms. It disrupts lessons, because students lose their concentration when they listen to the conversation of mobile users (Goggin, 2003). Mobile technology has also contributed to the spread of photography. Using Bluetooth technology, smartphone users are able to share phonographic videos. In addition, laptop users download pornographic videos and pictures from pornographic websites. Pornography has brought many problems to the society, because it has encouraged the spread of prostitution and human trafficking.
Scientists also claim that mobile technology devices expose users to many health risks. Such devices produce electromagnetic fields that are harmful to the human brain. Excessive electromagnetic fields have been linked to cause memory loss, brain tumors, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases (EHHI, 2012). In May 2011, International Agency for Research on Cancer conducted a study on whether overexposure of electromagnetic fields exposed users to cancer. Their studies were not conclusive, but they revealed that electromagnetic waves exposed patients to the risk of developing giloma and acoustic neuroma.
Researchers need to conduct further studies on whether mobile technology exposes users to adverse health risks. In addition, more research needs to be conducted on how mobile security measures could be tightened to prevent attacks by hackers, bluejackers and bluesnafers. Research also needs to be conducted on the impacts of cloud computing to mobile technology.
To conclude, mobile technology has caused many issues as it integrates with the society. It has increased the quality of services that businesses offers to consumers, because it enables easy settling of bills. In addition, it has helped companies to advertise their products through social media sites. However, it faces legal issues on the liability of customer or service providers in case of security breach. It faces ethical issues, because it has allowed easy piracy of music. Security concerns affecting mobile technology include attacks by virus and worms. It may lead to loss of data. Social problems, for example, increase in pornography, have also been brought about by developments in mobile technology. Mobile technology also exposes users to the risk of developing adverse health effects because of the electromagnetic waves that are released by mobile technology devices. Future research needs to be conducted on how to increase the security of mobile technology.