3. 4 Articulate, apply, and support policies and processes that reflect the principles in the Code.
Leaders should ensure that organizational policies are consistent with
the ethical principles in the Code, are
clearly defined, and are effectively communicated to all stakeholders. In addition, leaders should encourage and
reward compliance with those policies,
and take appropriate action when policies are violated.
Leaders should verify that processes used in the development of
systems protect the public good and
promote the dignity and autonomy
of users. Designing or implementing
processes that deliberately or inadvertently violate, or tend to enable the
violation of, the Code’s principles is
3. 5 Create opportunities for members
of the organization or group to learn
and be accountable for the scope,
functions, limitations, and impacts of
Educational opportunities are essential for all organization and group
members. Leaders should ensure that
opportunities are available to computing professionals to help them
improve their knowledge and skills
in professionalism, in the practice
of ethics, and in their technical specialties. These opportunities should
include experiences that familiarize
computing professionals with the
consequences and limitations of particular types of systems. Computing
professionals should be fully aware of
the dangers of oversimplified models,
the improbability of anticipating every possible operating condition, the
inevitability of software errors, the
interactions of systems and the contexts in which they are deployed, and
other issues related to the complexity
of their profession.
3. 6 Retire legacy systems with care.
Computing systems should be retired
when it is judged impractical to continue supporting them. System developers
should take care when discontinuing
support for systems on which people
still depend. Developers should thoroughly investigate viable alternatives to
removing support for a legacy system.
If these alternatives are not practical
or unacceptably risky, the developer
should assist stakeholders’ graceful
migration from the system to an al-
ternative. When system support ends,
stakeholders should be notified of the
risks of their continued use of the un-
System users should continually
monitor the operational viability of
their computing systems, accepting the
timely replacement of inappropriate or
outdated systems. The primary consideration must be the impact on stakeholders, who should be kept informed
at all times.
3. 7 Recognize when a computer system
is becoming integrated into the infrastructure of society, and adopt an appropriate standard of care for that system and its users.
When organizations and groups develop systems that become an important
part of the infrastructure of society,
their leaders have a responsibility to
be good stewards of these socially integrated systems. Part of that stewardship requires establishing policies for
fair system access, including for those
who may have been excluded. That
stewardship also requires that computing professionals monitor the level
of integration of their systems into the
infrastructure of society. Continual
monitoring of how society is using a
system will allow the organization or
group to remain consistent with their
ethical obligations outlined in the
Code. As the level of adoption changes, there are likely to be changes in the
ethical responsibilities of the organization or group. When appropriate
standards of care do not exist, computing professionals have a duty to ensure
they are developed.
4. COMPLIANCE WITH THE CODE.
A computing professional should...
4. 1 Uphold, promote, and respect the
principles of the Code.
The future of computing depends on
both technical and ethical excellence.
Computing professionals should
adhere to the principles of the Code.
Each ACM member should encourage
and support adherence by all computing professionals regardless of
4. 2 Treat violations of the Code as
inconsistent with membership in
Computing professionals who recognize breaches of the Code should take
actions to resolve the ethical issues they
recognize, including, when reasonable,
expressing their concern to the person
or persons thought to be violating the
Code. Possible actions also include reporting the violation to the ACM, which
may result in remedial action by the
ACM up to and including termination
of the violator’s ACM membership.
Don Gotterbarn ( chair@Ethics.acm.org gotterbarn@acm.
org) is chair of the ACM Committee on Professional Ethics
and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Computing at
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City.
Amy Bruckman ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a professor of
Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology,
Catherine Flick ( email@example.com) is a Senior Lecturer
in Computing and Social Responsibility at De Montfort
University, Leicester, U. K.
Keith Miller ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Orthwein
Endowed Professor for Lifelong Learning in the Sciences
College of Education, University of Missouri, St. Louis.
Marty J. Wolf ( email@example.com) is a professor of
Computer Science at Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN.