Company Y contracts Company X to help develop a
software to help them fix a security hole in their fire wall.
Company Y over anticipates the delivery of the software
there by putting company X on pressure of delivering the
software prematurely due to a penalty clause that was put in
the contract, Company X delivers the software but with key
When the systems administrator at Company Y installs the
software he finds that he was now able to access all the
personal files of the computers on the network and as he
was looking through them he found child pornography on
one of the computers, when he brought this forward before
the concerned authorities he was ignored
Looking over the list of eight principles of the
code of Ethics for software engineers, we find
these to be most relevant to our scenario:
Client and employer
We examine the lists of clauses associated with
these principles and identify those which are most
Somebody has misused the company's PC by using it to
store images of pornography. By this principle the systems
administrator has an obligation to report what he discovered.
1.04. Disclose to appropriate persons or authorities any
actual or potential danger to the user, the public, or the
environment, that they reasonably believe to be
associated with software or related documents.
While revealing the existence of the pornography may harm the
employee, possessing child is illegal. Applying this principle
would lead the systems administrator to disclose what he
6.05. Not promote their own interest at the expense of the
profession,client, or employer/employee.
Simply because a person had these files on his computer
does not necessarily mean he/she is guilty. Perhaps
someone else broke into their computer and stored the files
7.07. Not unfairly intervene in the career of any colleague;
however, concern for the employer, the client, or public
interest may compel software engineers, in good faith,to
question the competence of a colleague.
The systems administrator discovered the pornography by
violating the company's policy
against examining files on personal computers used by
Our analysis is more complicated because the systems
administrator violated company policy to uncover the
pornography on someone's Pc.
Once he has this knowledge, however, the remaining
principles guide the systems administrator to reveal what he
has discovered to the relevant authorities within the
corporation, even though management may punish the
There is the possibility that person that had pornographic
material is a victim.
Someone else may be trying to frame that person or use his
computer as a safe stash for their collection of images. The
systems administrator should be discreet until a complete
investigation is completed and the person has had the
opportunity to defend himself
Looking over the different software
We found the one below to be the most relevant
to our scenario
The mea culpa dilemma occurs when staff members must
deliver a product that still lacks key functionality or has
known software defects.
So from our scenario company X was required to release
the product prematurely, before contractual obligations
associated with a penalty clause come due.And this led to
delivering of software lacking some key functionality.
A whistleblower is someone who breaks ranks with an
organization in order to make an unauthorized disclosure of
information about a harmful situation after attempts to report
the concerns through authorized organizational channels
have been ignored or rebuffed .
Sometimes employees become whistleblowers out of fear
that actions taken by their employer may harm the public;
other times they have identified fraudulent use of tax .
The systems administrator could be the whistleblower since
he disclosed the findings to the relevant authorities but he
While it is fair to say that all whistleblowers are trying to
bring an end to wrongdoing, they may well have other
reasons for publicizing a problem. We can evaluate the
morality of whistleblowing by considering whether the
whistleblower is motivated by a desire to help others or to
So it would be ethical if the systems administrator's desire
is to help rather than harm.
Schools of Ethics
This ethical school holds that a person's
character or essential moral identity is the
chief ethical issue.
By this judgment.
The Systems administrator was in a right
principle to conduct himself in a sense that would
be expected of as far as the company's morals
Common Good and Public interest.
Common Good and Public interest.
Common good includes the distinctive and critical
perspective the various professions have to offer on basic
human values, and on facets of the human good.
The common good, therefore,refers to that which constitutes
the well-being of the community-its safety, the integrity of its
basic institutions and practices,the preservation of its core
The systems administrator had to disclose his findings just
for the sake of the common good since pornography is one
of the things that the community does not stand for.
To promote the public interest is to maximize the collective
realization of individual interests, and to protect the integrity
and functioning of those social
arrangements,institutions,and values that make peaceful,
orderly social life possible and mutually advantageous.
Company X did not preserve the integrity and functioning of
those social arrangement of company Y since they
developed software that did not meet the required
 Irena Blonder. "Blowing the Whistle." In Codes of Ethics
and the Professions, pages 166~
190. Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, Australia, 1996.
 Kevin W. Bowyer. "Goodearl and Aldred versus Hughes
Aircraft: A Whistle- Blowing
Case Study;' In Frontiers in Education, pages S2F2-S2F7.