As an ACM member and an organizational leader, I will....
3. 1 Articulate social responsibilities
of members of an organizational unit
and encourage full acceptance and
satisfaction of those responsibilities.
Because organizations have impacts on
the public, they must accept responsibilities to society. Organizational procedures and attitudes oriented toward
quality, transparency, and toward the
welfare of society will reduce harm to
members of the public. This serves the
public interest and fulfills social responsibility. Therefore, organizational
leaders must encourage full participation in meeting social responsibilities
and quality performance.
3. 2 Manage personnel and resources to
design and build systems that enhance
the quality of working life.
Organizational leaders are responsible
for ensuring that (computer) systems
enhance, not degrade, the quality of
working life. When implementing a
system, organizations must consider
the personal and professional development, physical safety, psychological well-being, and human dignity of
all workers. Appropriate human-computer ergonomic standards should be
considered in system design and in the
3. 3 Establish appropriate rules for au-
thorized uses of an organization’s com-
puting and communication resources
and of the information they contain.
Organizational leadership has the responsibility to clearly define appropriate and inappropriate uses of organizational computing resources. These
rules must be clearly and effectively
communicated to those using their
computing resources. In addition, the
organization must enforce those rules,
and take appropriate action when they
3. 4 Ensure that the public good is a
central concern during all professional
The needs of people—including users, other people affected directly and
indirectly, customers, and colleagues
—should always be a central concern
in professional computing. Tasks associated with requirements, design,
development, testing, validation, deployment, maintenance, and disposal
should have the public good as an explicit criterion for quality. Computing
professionals should keep this focus no
matter which methodologies or techniques they use in their practice.
3. 5 Articulate, apply, and support poli-
cies that protect the dignity of users and
others affected by computing systems
and related technologies.
Dignity is the principle that all humans
are due respect. This includes the general public’s right to autonomy in day-to-day decisions.
Designing or implementing systems
that deliberately or inadvertently violate, or tend to enable the violation of,
the dignity or autonomy of individuals or groups is ethically unacceptable.
Computing professionals who are in
decision making positions should verify
that systems are designed and implemented to protect personal dignity.
3. 6 Create opportunities for members
of the organization to learn, respect,
and be accountable for the principles,
limitations, and impacts of computer
Imperative 3. 6 complements the imperative on public understanding (
imperative 2. 7). Educational opportunities are
essential to facilitate optimal participation of all organizational members.
Opportunities must be available to all
computing professionals to help them
improve their knowledge and skills in
professionalism, the practice of ethics,
and computing, including experiences
that familiarize them with the consequences and limitations of particular
types of systems. Professionals must
know the dangers of building systems
around oversimplified models, the improbability of anticipating and designing for every possible operating condition, the inevitability of software errors,
the ways in which systems impact and
are impacted by the contexts in which
they are deployed, and other issues related to the complexity of their profession.
3. 7 Recognize when computer systems
are becoming integrated into the infrastructure of society, and adopt an
appropriate standard of care for those
Computing professionals who develop
computer systems that have or may
become an important part of the infrastructure of society have a responsibility
to be good stewards of that commons.
Part of that stewardship requires that
computing professionals monitor the
level of integration into the infrastructure of society. As the level of adoption
changes, there are likely to be changes
in the ethical responsibilities of the organization. Continual monitoring of
how society is using its computer system
will allow the organization to remain
consistent with their ethical obligation.
Where such standards of care do not exist, there may be a duty to develop one.
4. COMPLIANCE WITH THE CODE.
4. 1 Uphold, promote, and respect the
As an ACM member I will....
principles of this Code.
The future of computing depends on
both technical and ethical excellence.
ACM members should adhere to the
principles expressed in this Code.
Each member should encourage and
support adherence by all computing
4. 2 Treat violations of this code as in-
consistent with membership in the
If an ACM member does not follow this
code membership in ACM may be terminated.
5. COPE INVITES COMMENTS
The Committee on Professional Ethics
is asking you to participate in this project. We invite you to share your views
with the Code 2018 Task Force. We are
soliciting suggestions about areas of
computing that have changed and need
to be addressed in an updated Code. For
more details, and to provide input, visit
Bo Brinkman ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is an associate
professor of computer science and software engineering at
Miami University, Oxford, OH.
Don Gotterbarn ( email@example.com) is chair of the ACM
Committee on Professional Ethics and Professor Emeritus
in the Department of Computing at East Tennessee State
University, Johnson City.
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.
© 2016 ACM 0001-0782/16/12 $15.00