Just a Theory

By David E. Wheeler

Posts about ACM

ACM Code of Ethics

From the Preamble to the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, updated this summer after two years of development:

The Code as a whole is concerned with how fundamental ethical principles apply to a computing professional’s conduct. The Code is not an algorithm for solving ethical problems; rather it serves as a basis for ethical decision-making. When thinking through a particular issue, a computing professional may find that multiple principles should be taken into account, and that different principles will have different relevance to the issue. Questions related to these kinds of issues can best be answered by thoughtful consideration of the fundamental ethical principles, understanding that the public good is the paramount consideration. The entire computing profession benefits when the ethical decision-making process is accountable to and transparent to all stakeholders. Open discussions about ethical issues promote this accountability and transparency.

The principles it promotes include “Avoid harm”, “Be honest and trustworthy”, “Respect privacy”, and “Access computing and communication resources only when authorized or when compelled by the public good”. The ACM clearly invested a lot of time and thought into the updated code. Thinking about joining, just to support the effort.