Teach Computing

Revision notes, activities, lesson plans, teaching ideas, and other resources for GCSE, A-Level, and IB Computer Science teachers and students.

What's New

CommandPoint CAD

CommandPoint by Northrop Grumman offers a range of CAD systems for various ...

CAD+911 System

TriTech Software Systems is a company that specialises in Computer Aided Di...

London Ambulance CAD failure

The 1992 London Ambulance Service CAD failure is probably the most notoriou...

Washington State 911 Failure

A 911 emergency telephone system in Washington State and Oregon shut down f...

London ambulance failure (2017)

A 2017 failure of a London ambulance dispatch system is believed to have le...

Computer Aided Dispatch outage

A 911 system failure left emergency calls unanswered and is said to have co...

Load balancing videos

This short article and the associated video explain 5 load balancing algori...

Intergraph Computer-Aided Dispatch (I/CAD

Intergraph Computer-Aided Dispatch (I/CAD) is a system offering many of the...

Boolean logic worksheet pack

These three Boolean logic worksheets have exam style questions on logic sta...

Resources discount offer

Consequences of uses of computing

Myriad examples and case studies exist which address the moral, ethical, legal, and cultural impacts of technology on individuals and societies. Of course, the nature of information technology and computer science means new cases are arising constantly. The examples below are a highlight of some of the more significant cases from the last few years, along with examples of sites that provide up to date examples. Click here for recommended AQA A-Level Computer Science textbooks.

Ethical issues related to surveillance

NSA Internet surveillance

NSA Internet surveillance

In June 2013, the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers published revelations about a secret, quasi-legal US government Internet surveillance programme known as PRISM and operated by the National Security Agency (NSA). In the following weeks global media continued publishing revelations of ever more extraordinary surveillance systems. First, revelations that the NSA had worked with the British intelligency agency GCHQ to side-step legal issues, then evidence that online images were being collected and mined, and finally, confirmation that thousands of mobile phones had been monitored and tracked. Foreign allies were quickly alienated as it was revealed that the NSA had spied on supposedly friendly governments and ministers, including the Germans, Chileans, and Brazilians. The articles below highlight some of the key events in the scandal, and make excellent material for classroom discussion of the ethics of surveillance.


Updated: 2015-05-06
Enemy of the State DVD

Enemy of the State DVD

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Instant Video

Many of the surveillance technologies and methods featured in Enemy of the State - which features Will Smith as a lawyer tracked down by government agents - may seem pure fantasy. However, recent revelations about NSA spying once again make this a relevant and pertinent film that deals with contemporary issues.


Updated: 2015-05-06
United States of Secrets PBS documentary

United States of Secrets

A compelling two-part PBS documentary about the US government (and particularly the NSA's) warrantless surveillance of the Internet of millions, which was only revealed after Edward Snowden leaked classified information

The documentary does a good job of addressing both sides of the surveillance argument, featuring interviews with government insiders, including those who were the architects of the now infamous surveillance systems.

Watch the documentary on the PBS website


Updated: 2015-05-06

Ethical issues related to software development

Software development ethical case studies

The following ethical case studies involving software developers make excellent material for assignments or classroom discussions and debates:

The Occidental Engineering Case Study from Santa Clara University. This case study focuses on a software engineer pressured by management to certify a safety critical system he knows is not finished.

Therac-25 is a classic computer science case study. Between 1985 and 1987, software errors in the Therac-25 radiation therapy machine caused death or severe injury to six patients. Involving mistakes throughout the development and support processes, the case highlights the need for professional standards when dealing with safety critical systems.


Updated: 2015-04-29

Ethical and legal issues related to databases

Data security

Examples of database security problems

The news articles below cover some of the major risks of malicious actions such as hacking or malware. Myriad examples of these problems exist (and new ones seem to appear every few weeks), but the examples below highlight some of the more famous cases (and the greatest losses).


Updated: 2015-04-18
Ethical case studies

Database ethics case study

Should Companies Admit They've Been Hacked? This is an extremely relevant case study as the past few years as seen a slew of high-profile companies attacked by criminals intent on stealing sensitive customer details (usually credit card details and passwords) from their databases. Some companies chose to hide the breaches from their customers while others were open about being compromised. This case study discusses the ethics of each approach.


Updated: 2015-04-29

Ethical issues resources

Ethics in Computing

Ethics in Computing

Ethics in Computing covers a wide range of ethical situations from intellectual property to free speech and privacy. Different areas are covered - including government, medical, and educational. Each section is subdivided and has a plethora of links to case studies or news articles. This means some work is needed to find the most relevant articles, and the site itself is probably better suited to older students.


Updated: 2015-05-07