Moral Codes - History, Philosophy and Methodology of Engineering and Informatics

5.3.2. Moral codes

In 1992, the influential International Association for the Development of Computer Engineering (Association for Computing Machinery - ACM), headquartered in New York, 93 thousand members, has adopted an ethical code. We give its content in abbreviated form.

1. Common moral imperatives

1.1. Promote the development of society and the growth of people's well-being.

1.2. Avoid damage to others.

1.3. Be honest and trustworthy.

1.4. Be polite and do not allow discrimination.

1.5. Respect the rights to property, including copyright and patent law.

1.6. Do not take someone else's intellectual property.

1.7. Respect the privacy of others.

1.8. Keep confidential.

2. Special professional duties

2.1. Strive to achieve the highest quality, efficiency and dignity in professional activities.

2.2. Acquire and maintain your professional competence.

2.3. Learn and observe the existing laws of professional activity.

2.4. Use best practices, participate in its development and critical evaluation.

2.5. Let's comprehensively and thoroughly evaluate the evolution of computer systems and their consequences, including the analysis of possible risks.

2.6. Comply with contracts, agreements, and responsibilities assumed.

2.7. Promote a better understanding of the relevance of the use of computers by society.

2.8. Use only those computing and communication resources to which you have authorized access.

3. Imperatives for the leaders of the organization

3.1. Formulate the responsibilities of members of the organization and encourage their strict implementation.

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3.2. Manage staff and resources in such a way as to develop and create information systems that improve the quality of work.

3.3. Achieve proper and authorized use of the organization's computing and communication resources.

3.4. Strive to ensure that users and organizations dependent on the work of the organization clearly articulated their needs in the process of developing requirements. Then the organization should be adapted to meet the needs of customers.

3.5. Develop and maintain a policy of protecting the interests of consumers and those affected by the organization.

3.6. Create opportunities for members of the organization to learn the principles and limitations of computer systems.

4. Compliance with the Code

4.1. Maintain and develop the principles of this Code.

4.2. Consider violations of this code as incompatible with membership in AFM.

For comparison, we quote the "Ten Commandments", which were compiled by R. Barkven and endorsed by the Institute of Computer Ethics (Computer Ethics Institute - CEI), based in Washington. Obviously, the author imitates the Bible.

The Ten Commandments CEI

1. Do not use your computer to harm other people.

2. Do not prevent other people from using your computer.

3. Do not pry other people's files.

4. Do not use your computer for theft.

5. Do not use your computer for perjury.

6. Do not use software that you did not pay for.

7. Do not use the computer resources of other people without permission.

8. Do not take someone else's intellectual property.

9. Consider the social consequences of programs written by you.

10. Using a computer, respect people and pay attention to them.

For the sake of completeness, we present the main provisions of the hacker ethic developed by Steven Levy2.

Ethics of the hacker (by S. Levy)

1. All information should be free.

2. The activities of the hacker must be evaluated according to its results, and not in accordance with race, gender or social status.

3. You are able to create art and beauty through the computer.

4. Computers can change your life for the better.

If necessary, ethical codes1 must be formulated through words of general content: promote the development of society, be honest, do not harm anyone, etc. Positions of this kind only at first glance form an organic ethical whole. This impression is deceptive: some provisions are arbitrarily joined by others, there is no clear conceptual connection between them. In addition, provisions of a general nature are not brought to the true concepts of computer science, therefore, their relevance to computer science remains unproven. Thus, ACM members consider it unacceptable without permission to use confidential information. Hackers take the opposite view. Both sides are sure that they are right, but it is not proved. The ethical code is effective only when it is accompanied by a well-organized theory of computer ethics. Without it, any ethical code loses its validity. However, despite all their weaknesses, ethical codes can be useful: to ask some direction of productive search. However, in an inadequately defined form.

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