Professional and ethical responsibility
*Software engineering involves wider
responsibilities than simply the application of
*Software engineers must behave in an honest and
ethically responsible way if they are to be
respected as professionals
*Ethical behaviour is more than simply upholding
Issues of professional responsibility
• Engineers should normally respect the confidentiality of their employers or clients irrespective of whether or not a formal confidentiality agreement has been signed.
• Engineers should not misrepresent their level of competence. They should not knowingly accept work which is out with their competence.
l Intellectual property rights
• Engineers should be aware of local laws governing the use of intellectual property such as patents, copyright, etc. They should be careful to ensure that the intellectual property of employers and clients is protected.
l Computer misuse
• Software engineers should not use their technical skills to misuse other people’s computers. Computer misuse ranges from relatively trivial (game playing on an employer’s machine, say) to extremely serious (dissemination of viruses).
ACM/IEEE Code of Ethics
l The professional societies in the US have cooperated to produce a code of ethical practice.
l Members of these organizations sign up to the code of practice when they join.
l The Code contains eight Principles related to the behavior of and decisions made by professional software engineers, including practitioners, educators, managers, supervisors and policy makers, as well as trainees and students of the profession.
Code of ethics - preamble
• The short version of the code summarizes aspirations at a high level of the abstraction; the clauses that are included in the full version give examples and details of how these aspirations change the way we act as software engineering professionals. Without the aspirations, the details can become legalistic and tedious; without the details, the aspirations can become high sounding but empty; together, the aspirations and the details form a cohesive code.
• Software engineers shall commit themselves to making the analysis, specification, design, development, testing and maintenance of software a beneficial and respected profession. In accordance with their commitment to the health, safety and welfare of the public, software engineers shall adhere to the following Eight Principles:
Code of ethics – principles
• Software engineers shall act consistently with the public interest.
2. CLIENT AND EMPLOYER
• Software engineers shall act in a manner that is in the best interests of their client and employer consistent with the public interest.
• Software engineers shall ensure that their products and related modifications meet the highest professional standards possible.
• Software engineers shall maintain integrity and independence in their professional judgment.
• Software engineering managers and leaders shall subscribe to and promote an ethical approach to the management of software development and maintenance.
• Software engineers shall advance the integrity and reputation of the profession consistent with the public interest.
• Software engineers shall be fair to and supportive of their colleagues.
• Software engineers shall participate in lifelong learning regarding the practice of their profession and shall promote an ethical approach to the practice of the profession. Ethical dilemmas
l Disagreement in principle with the policies of
l Your employer acts in an unethical way and
releases a safety-critical system without finishing
the testing of the system
l Participation in the development of military
weapons systems or nuclear systems
What is a system?
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