OCR Computing A-Level Revision

Implications of Computer Use

Effects of Computers (1.6.a, 1.6.b)

Economic

Social

Legal

Ethical

Environmental

Privacy (1.6.c)

There are various ways to maintain privacy while using a computer. The most reliable way is simply to not give anyone else access to the computer (and therefore disconnecting it from the internet and other networks). This is a bit extreme, but the concept is used all the time. For example, rooms with computers in are normally kept locked, and screens are often angled so people can't easily snoop.

When sending information over the internet, it is protected by SSL (along with packet switching) which means that passwords and other confidential information cannot be read by a third party, even if they were able to collect all the packets and arrange them in the correct order. Similarly, removable media containing sensitive information (e.g. medical records) should be encrypted so that it cannot be read if it is lost (or stolen).

Computing Legislation (1.6.d)

These questions will generally focus of processing of personal data in accordance with the 8 principles of the Data Protection Act 1998, although there may be questions about the Computer Misuse Act 1990.