COMP427 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 professionals? 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? Objectives • 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 Professionals • 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 software. • 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 become – 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- making. 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 self-assessment. • 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 (ACM) • 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 conduct. Computing Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE-CS) • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) covers the very broad fields of electrical, electronic, and information technologies and sciences. • The IEEE-CS is one of the oldest and largest IT professional associations with over 100,000 members. • 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 (IEEE-CS) • 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 tools. 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 Chapter) 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 programs. • 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 information. • Install and maintain a corporate firewall. Summary • 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. Summary • 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 systems. Summary • 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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