computer systems' ethical issues that aren't part of the law


There are number of laws enacted to protect society from illegal behaviour, but computer systems also raise ethical issues that are not part of the law.


For example, imagine a company that has employed a number of workers for years on their assembly line. Then a new computerised robot system becomes available that will do the work of half of them. The new system will work 24 hours a day without a break, without sick leave, absences or overtime. From a business point of view it makes sense to install the new system. But ethically the company also has an obligation to the displaced workers. Of course, there are employment laws to protect worker rights, but some companies may choose to go beyond those from an ethical point of view.


  • computing and privacy - who keeps what, when, and for how long.
  • responsibility of computer professionals - being honourable engineers.
  • computing and disability - need to include as many people as possible.
  • computing and political freedom - ethics and can raise some very tough questions.
Computer Ethics Online Privacy


  • PUBLIC: Software engineers shall act consistently with the public interest.

  • CLIENT: Software engineers shall act in a manner that is in the best interests of their client and employer, consistent with the public interest.

  • PRODUCT: Software engineers shall ensure that their products and related modifications meet the highest professional standards possible.

  • JUDGEMENT: Software engineers shall maintain integrity and independence in their professional judgment.

  • MANAGEMENT: Software engineering managers and leaders shall subscribe to and promote an ethical approach to the management of software development and maintenance.

  • PROFESSION: Software engineers shall advance the integrity and reputation of the profession consistent with the public interest.

  • COLLEAGUES: Software engineers shall be fair to and supportive of their colleagues.

  • SELF: 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.