This presentation considers the Code of Conduct adopted by Association for Computing Machinery, and of raises a number of ethical questions related to the fields of IT and software development. We will discuss real-world cases of software producers facing ethical dilemmas, and how these dilemmas can be approached. The topics include considerations of privacy and information sharing, failing to deliver a service, security vulnerabilities and bugs, and building software that encourages evil behavior.
IT professionals wield a lot of power in today’s society. The ways technology influences society can be overt and subtle, immediate and long-lasting, bring out the best and the worst in people at large. We all need to be better informed to make ethical and moral choices in our work.
• Evil software
• software that is likely to do harm
• what to keep, what to publish, how to use
• is it OK to not fix a bug or vulnerability
• is it acceptable to deliver poor or untested product
Software and hardware bugs
• What is the harm?
• Who was harmed,
• What is the ethical
course of actions?
Picking into private matters
- Devices listen for specific word.
- Record audio and send out.
• Can this technology be trusted?
• What is the harm, if any?
Ethics of software products
• Does software add to the good of the people?
• Is there “evil” software?
• Who is responsible for software misuse leading
• Should we, developers, be concerned about improper use?
• Is it OK for software to extend privileges to
some groups over others?
• Programmers have the power to decide who is “worthy”
Video jail visitation
- Leads to bans on in-person visits
- Limits accessibility of visitation
Encrypted communication makes
It harder for authorities to detect
Illegal and terrorist activities
Allows to target real-life harm to people.
Alt-right uses social networking sites
to spread their message.
Disseminates false information
for financial or political gain
Software development industry
• Is where a trade off between productivity and
diversity and inclusion?
• Is it OK to fail?
• Is it ethical to require a “death march” from the
• Is it acceptable to keep a high-performing
person who is a bully?