COMP427 Ethics for IT Professionals and IT Users by 91R80e


Ethics for IT Professionals
       and IT Users
Consider the following questions ?

1. What are the key characteristics that distinguish a
   professional from other kinds of workers and what is the role
   of an IT professional?
2. What are the various professional relationships that must be
   managed by the IT professional and what are the key ethical
   issues that can arise in each?
3. How do codes of ethics, professional organizations,
   certification, and licensing affect the ethical behaviour of IT
4. What are the common ethical issues that face IT users?
5. What approaches can be taken to support the ethical
   practices of IT users?

•   Identify the key characteristics that distinguish a
    professional from other kinds of workers.
•   Understand various professional relationships and
    associated key ethical issues.
•   Discuss how codes of ethics, professional organizations,
    and certifications and licensing affect the ethical behavior
    of IT professionals.
•   Identify the key tenets of 4 different codes of ethics that
    provide guidance for IT professionals.
•   Identify the common ethical issues that face IT users.
•   Discuss approaches for supporting the ethical practices
    of IT users.
      What is a Professional?

• Profession is a calling requiring specialized knowledge and
  often long intensive academic preparation.
• The United States Code of Federal Regulations defines a person
  “employed in a professional capacity” as one who meets these
  four criteria:
   – One’s primary duties consist of the performance of work
      requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science
      or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of
      specialized intellectual instruction and study or work.
   – One’s instruction, study, or work is original and creative in
      character in a recognized field of artistic endeavor and the
      result of which depends primarily on the invention,
      imagination, or talent of the employee.
   What is a Professional?

– One’s work requires the consistent exercise of discretion and
  judgment on its performance.
– One’s work is predominately intellectual and varied in
  character and is of such character that the output produced
  or the result accomplished cannot be standardized in relation
  to a given period of time.
 Definition of an IT Professional

• Given the definition of “professional”, there are many business
  workers whose duties, background and training, and work
  could qualify them to be classified as professionals.
• These people include marketing analysis, financial
  consultants, and IT specialists.
• A partial list of IT specialists includes programmers, systems
  analysts, software engineers, database administrators, LAN
  administrators, and chief information officers (CIOs).
• It could be argued that not every IT role requires “knowledge”
  of an advanced type in a field of science or learning
  customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized
  intellectual instruction and study.
 Definition of an IT Professional

• Eg. Does someone who completes a two-year, part-time
  training program in LAN administration meet the criteria to be
  classified as a professional?
• From a practical standpoint, the IT industry recognizes people
  from a wide set of backgrounds, education, and personal
  experience in many different roles as IT professionals –
  provided they can do the job required by such a role.
      Information Technology
• Many workers in the IT industry are considered to
  be professionals. A partial list includes:
  –   Programmers/Analysts
  –   Software engineers
  –   Database administrators
  –   Network administrators
  –   Chief information officers
   Professional Relationships

• IT professionals become involved in many different types
  of relationships.
   – Professional-employer
   – Professional-client
   – Professional-supplier
   – Professional-professional
   – Professional-IT user
   – Professional-society
    Stewards of IT Resources

• IT professionals must set the example and enforce the
  policies that promote ethical use of IT resources.
• Software piracy is the act of illegally making copies of
• Trade secret is a piece of information that is generally not
  known to the public that is held confidential.
      Professional Codes of Ethics

• A professional code of ethics states the principles and core
  values essential to the work of a particular occupational group.
• Practitioners in many professions subscribe to a code of
  ethics that governs their behaviour.
• Most codes of ethics created by professional organizations
  have two main parts.
    – Outlines what the professional organization aspires to
    – Typically lists rules and/or principles by which members of
      the organization are expected to abide
• Many codes also include a commitment to continuing
  education as a fundamental tenet in recognition of need for
  life-long learning by those who practice the profession.
      Professional Codes of Ethics

• Laws do not provide a complete guide to ethical behaviour.
• Just because an activity is not defined as illegal does not
  mean that it is ethical.
• We cannot expect a professional code of ethics to provide the
  complete answer – no code can be the definitive collection of
  behavioral standards.
• Only by understanding and adopting the principles behind the
  code and interpreting what is really intended can one achieve
  the intent.
• If one fully embraces and practices according to a
  professional code of ethics, there are many benefits – for the
  individual, for the profession, and for society as a whole.
      Professional Codes of Ethics

• The following are the benefits of a code of ethics :
   – Improves ethical decision-making
   – Promotes high standards of practice and ethical behaviour
   – Enhances trust and respect from the general public
   – Provides an evaluation benchmark
 Improves Ethical Decision-Making

• Adherence to a professional code of ethics means that
  practitioners will use a common set of core values and
  beliefs to serve as a guideline for ethical decision-
  Promotes High Standards of Practice

• Adherence to a professional code of ethics reminds
  professionals of the responsibilities and duties that they
  may be tempted to compromise to meet the press of
  day-to-day business.
• The code also defines the behaviours that are
  acceptable and unacceptable to guide professionals in
  their interactions with others.
• Strong codes of ethics actually have procedures for
  censuring professionals for serious violations, with
  penalties up to and including the loss of the right to
  continue to practice.
   Promotes High Standards of Practice

• Such codes are the exception, and no such codes exist
  in the IT arena.
• Public trust is built on the expectation that a professional
  will behave ethically.
• We often find ourselves placed in a position where we
  must depend on the integrity and good judgment of a
  professional to tell the truth, abstain from giving self-
  serving advice, and offer warnings of the potential
  negative side effects of our actions.
• Thus, adherence to a code of ethics enhances our trust
  and respect of the professional and their profession.
Provides an Evaluation Benchmark

• A code of ethics provides an evaluation benchmark
  that can be used by the professional as a means of
• Peers of the professional can also use the code for
  purposes of recognition or censure of individuals.
      IT Professional-Society

• IT professionals develop and support systems that interact
  with the world around them.
• The public expects that the members of the IT profession
  will practice the profession in a way that will not bring
  harm to society.
   Association of Computing Machinery

• A computing society founded in 1947
• The ACM serves more than 80,000 professionals in over
  100 countries and offers more than 24 publications for
  technology professionals.
• The ACM has a code of ethics and professional conduct
  with supplemental explanations and guidelines.
• The ACM code consists of 8 general moral imperatives,
  8 specific professional responsibilities, 6 organizational
  leadership imperatives, and 2 elements of compliance.
 Association of Information Technology
          Professionals (AITP)

• The AITP was formed in the 1950s to enable its
  members to keep ahead of the rapid pace of change
  in information technology.
• Its mission is to provide superior leadership and
  education in information technology.
• One of its goals is to help its members become more
  marketable in the broad and rapidly changing career
  field of information technology.
• The AITP also has a code of ethics and standards of
   Computing Society of the Institute of
   Electrical and Electronics Engineers
• The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  (IEEE) covers the very broad fields of electrical,
  electronic, and information technologies and
• The IEEE-CS is one of the oldest and largest IT
  professional associations with over 100,000
• Nearly a third of its members live and work outside
  the United States.
• Founded in 1946, it is the largest of the 36 societies
  of the IEEE.
   Computing Society of the Institute of
   Electrical and Electronics Engineers
• The IEEE-CS’s vision is to be the leading provider of
  technical information and services to the world’s
  computing professionals.
• The society promotes an active exchange of
  information, ideas, and technological innovation
  among its members through its many conferences,
  applications-related and research-oriented journals,
  local and student chapters, technical committees,
  and standards working group.
    IT Professional Bodies in Hong Kong

• Association for Computing Machinery (HK Chapter)
  ACM is the world's oldest and largest educational and scientific
  computing society. Since 1947 ACM has provided a vital forum
  for the exchange of information, ideas, and discoveries. Today,
  ACM serves a membership of more than 80,000 computing
  professionals in more than 100 countries in all areas of
  industry, academia, and government.

•    Hong Kong Computer Society
    The Hong Kong Computer Society (HKCS) was founded in 1970
    as a non-profit making professional body with the primary
    objective to promote the uses of information technology (IT) in
    Hong Kong by providing a medium for disseminating
    knowledge and promoting the appreciation of IT and related
  IT Professional Bodies in Hong Kong

• Hong Kong Society of Medical Informatics
  Founded in April 1987 by a group of medical practitioners and
  informatics professionals with special interests in medical
  informatives and computing and communications. The specific
  objectives of the Society are to promote the establishment of
  Information Infrastructure, applications and information
  content of Information technology in Medicine...

• Information Security and Forensics Society

• Information System Audit and Control Association (Hong Kong
  IT Professional Bodies in Hong Kong

• Internet Professionals Association

• Professional Information Security Association
  PISA is a not-for-profit organization for local information
  security professionals. PISA focus on developing the
  local information security market with a global presence
  in the industry. Its vision is to be the prominent body of
  professional information security practitioners, and utilize
  our expertise and knowledge to help bring prosperity to
  the society in the Information Age..
  Certification & Licensing

• Certification is a process administered by a
  profession or organization that one undertakes
  voluntarily to prove competency in a set of skills.
• Licensing is a process generally administered by
  the state that professionals must undertake to
  prove that they can practice their profession in a
  way that is ethical and safe to the public.
     Current IT Certifications

•   Institute for Certification of Computing
    Professionals (ICCP)
•   Associate Computing Professional (ACP)
•   Certified Computing Professional (CCP)
•   American Society for Quality Control (ASQC)
      Issues Associated with
    Licensing IT Professionals
•    No universally accepted core body of knowledge.
•    It is unclear who should manage the content and
     administration of licensing exams.
•    No body to do accreditation of professional education
•    No body to assess and assure competence of
     individual professionals.
    IT Professional-Employer

• The relationship between a professional and an employer
  requires ongoing efforts by both parties to keep it strong.
• Professionals and employers discuss many job aspects
  before employment begins.
         IT Professional-Client

• In this relationship, the professional and client each agree
  to provide something of value to each other.
• The IT professional usually provides a hardware or
  software product and the client provides compensation.
     IT Professional-Supplier

• IT professionals may have many different relationships
  with many software, hardware, and service providers.
• The IT professional must be on guard to keep the
  relationships honest and business related.
IT Professional-Professional

• Professionals feel a degree of loyalty to other members in
  the profession.
• Professionals help support each other publicly.
• Professionals owe one another an adherence to the
  profession’s code of conduct.
                   IT Users

•   Common IT users ethical issues:
    – Software piracy.
    – Inappropriate use of computing resources.
    – Inappropriate sharing of information.
       IT Professional-IT User

• An IT user is a person for whom the hardware or software
  is designed.
• Professionals have a duty to understand the needs and
  capabilities of users.
• Professionals have a responsibility to deliver their product
  or service on time and within budget.
        Supporting Ethical
       Practices of IT Users
•   Define and limit the appropriate use of IT resources.
•   Establish guidelines for the use of company software.
•   Structure information systems to protect data and
•   Install and maintain a corporate firewall.

• A professional is someone:
   – who requires advanced training and experience.
   – who exercises discretion and judgment during work.
   – whose work cannot be standardized.
• IT professionals have many different relationships that
  have different ethical issues.

•   A professional code of ethics states the principles and
    core values essential to the work of a particular
    occupational group.
•   Licensing and certification of IT professionals would
    increase the reliability and effectiveness of information

•    IT users encounter many ethical issues, including:
    – Software piracy.
    – Inappropriate use of IT resources.
    – Inappropriate sharing of private and secret data.
•    An IT usage policy helps users understand how to
     appropriately use IT resources.

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