Monday, August 11, 2008

Codes of Ethics

Background (Relationship between Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct)
The term professional code of conduct and code of ethics both are used.
The code of ethics is seen as being more aspirational and less regulatory than a professional code of conduct.
Both professional code of conduct and code of ethics is distinct from code of practice, which is concerned with good practice in doing the job.

Ethical code of conduct
It is not possible to develop a detailed set of rules, policies or procedures that cover all circumstances. The best guidelines are individual integrity, common sense and compliance with law.
The code of ethics provides a basic guide to assist our management, employees and others acting on our behalf in understanding their responsibilities.
Code applies to each of our directors, officers, employees and other representatives.

Individuals should have legal and ethical behavior is one of our most valuable assets. We are responsible for safeguarding this important assets.
Company should have a policy of strict compliance with all laws, whether federal, state, local or foreign. The highest standards of moral and ethical behavior are essential to maintaining a good reputation. We do not tolerate unethical or dishonest conduct.

Professional codes of conduct: are particularly valuable in addressing conduct which can be seen as an abuse of the professional status.
For e.g. Doctors can be struck off, that is deprived of their registration, for entering into sexual relationships with their patients or for drug taking.

Professional codes of conduct are, by their very nature, collectivist and rule-based. Nevertheless, rule-based ethical systems always seem too rigid and restricted to handle complicated situations on their own and they are incapable of handling situations in which rules conflict or several different actions are possible but all in some way violate the rules.
Codes of Conduct of Professional Bodies
Australian Computer Society, Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. (ACS)
British Computer Society Code of Conduct. (BCS)
Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineering Code of Ethics (IEEE).
British Computer Society (BCS)
The BCS vision and mission statements
Vision Statement (Long-term aim of BCS)
Our vision is to see the IT profession recognized as being a profession of the highest integrity and competence.
Mission Statement (Core purpose of BCS)
BCS will lead the development and implementation of standards for the IT profession through innovative and valued products and services and by being the respected voice informing and influencing individuals, organizations and society as a whole.

BCS will lead the change in the standing of the IT profession by creating an understanding of what is required to implement successful IT projects and programmes, and to advise, inform and persuade industry and government on what is required to produce successful IT enabled projects.

BCS Values
Focus on serving the profession
Providing superior quality service that meets the individual needs
Developing and delivering valued products and services that makes a difference to people worldwide
Recognition and Concern for People
Respecting the individual
Advocating fair treatment
Rewarding exceptional performance
Showing commitment to personal and professional growth
Encouraging teamwork

Maintain High Ethical Standards
Treating customers and suppliers with integrity, fairness and respect
Avoiding even the appearance of conflict of interest
Providing leadership in industry, government and trade and regulatory associations
Innovative and Results-oriented
Dedicating ourselves to maximising the value of the organization for stakeholders
Encourage creativity

ACS Code of Conduct
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the recognized association for Information & Communications Technology (ICT) professionals, attracting a large and active membership from all levels of the ICT industry.
The society was founded in 1966.
ACS members work in all areas of business and industry, government and academia, and are qualified and experienced ICT professionals

Mission and Objective
To advance professional excellence in information technology.
Principal Objective
To promote the development of Australian information and communications technology resources.

Secondary Objective
To advance professional excellence in information and communications technology.
To further the study, science and application of information and communications technology.
To promote, develop and monitor competence in the practice of information and communications technology by persons and organizations.
To define and promote the maintenance of standards of knowledge of information and communications technology for members.
To promote the formulation of effective policies on information and communications technology.
To extend the knowledge and understanding of information and communications technology in the community.
To maintain and promote the observance of a code of ethics for members of the Society.
IEEE Code of Conduct
We, the members of the IEEE, in recognition of the importance of our technologies in affecting the quality of life throughout the world, and in accepting a personal obligation to our profession, its members and the communities we serve, do hereby commit ourselves to the highest ethical and professional conduct and agree:
1. to accept responsibility in making decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment;
2. to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible, and to disclose them to affected parties when they do exist;
3. to be honest and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on available data;
4. to reject bribery in all its forms;
5. to improve the understanding of technology, its appropriate application, and potential consequences;

to maintain and improve our technical competence and to undertake technological tasks for others only if qualified by training or experience, or after full disclosure of pertinent limitations;
7. to seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of technical work, to acknowledge and correct errors, and to credit properly the contributions of others;
8. to treat fairly all persons regardless of such factors as race, religion, gender, disability, age, or national origin;
9. to avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious action;
10. to assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them in following this code of ethics.

Public interest and Social implications
Health and safety issues
Health and safety at work usually only hits the headlines when there is a major disaster. Unfortunately, in recent years there has been an unprecedented number of these.
we can still recall the horror of Zeebruggeferry disaster and Paddington rail crash etc. although all of these involved the activities of people at work, one circumstance that made them particularly news-worthy was that, with exception of Piper Alpha, the majority of people who suffered as a consequence of the incidents were members of the public.

Number of fatal accidents at work has fallen sharply since the beginning of the 1970’s but around 200 employees each year still die as a result of accidents at work and significant number of members of the public lose their lives as a result of work activities.
There is nothing like an accident for motivating people to adopt safe working practices. The problem lies in changing attitudes before disasters occurs and in creating a safe working environment, or at least one that is as safe as is possible.

The best way of achieving this is by building in safety from the start in plant design, factory layout, training and so on, but so often this is compromised by other considerations which may seem to be more important in the short-term, such as pressure of time or financial concerns.
This has obvious implications for the design of the control software that is now everywhere. In many high-risk areas, such as the oil, chemical and nuclear industries, the safety systems themselves are often computer controlled; the software must be of the highest integrity and must handle safety all foreseeable (predictable) eventualities (possibilities).

Similar considerations apply to other applications such as “fly-by-wire” aircraft where proper control is wholly dependent on the correct and safe operation of the aircraft’s computer systems.

To summarize, the main recommendations of the Robens (chairman) Committee on Safety and Health at work (1972) were:
Safety and health objectives should be clearly defined at all levels within firms.
Workers should be more involved in safety and health at their workplace.
There should be a legal duty on employers to consult their employees on safety and health matters necessary at their workplace.
A National Authority for safety and health should be established.
Existing statutory (legal) provisions (terms) should be replaced by provisions under a new enabling Act.

Voluntary (intentional) codes of practice should be introduced.
The scope of the legislation should be extended to include all employees (with minor exceptions) and the self-employed (temporary).
The existing safety and health inspectorates should be amalgamated (merged).
New administrative sanctions should be adopted.
Local authority work should be coordinated with that of the new authority.
The interests of the public should be taken into account in the new legislation.
The Employment Medical Advisory Service should function as part of the new authority.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
General Terms
Section 2(1): 'It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably possible, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees'.
Section 3 of the Act requires both employers and the self-employed (temporary) to ensure that persons not in their employment (i.e. the general public) are not thereby exposed to risks to their health and safety.
Section 4 of the Act places a similar duty on persons in control of premises.

Section 7 places duties on employees. These duties are to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and of others who might be affected, and also to co-operate with the employer in complying with the relevant statutory provisions (legal terms).
Section 8 contains a global requirement that no person, whether employee or not, adult or child, should deliberately interfere with anything provided to ensure health and safety.
Environmental protection
Environmental Law
1990: Environmental Protection Act
Environmental law is a body of law, which is a system of complex and interlocking statutes, common law, treaties, conventions, regulations and policies which seek to protect the natural environment which may be affected, impacted or endangered by human activities. Some environmental laws regulate the quantity and nature of impacts of human activities: for example, setting allowable levels of pollution. Other environmental laws are preventive in nature and seek to assess the possible impacts before the human activities can occur.

In this Act,
“adverse effect” means one or more of,
(a) impairment of the quality of the natural environment for any use that can be made of it,
(b) injury or damage to property or to plant or animal life,
(c) harm or material discomfort to any person,
(d) an adverse effect on the health of any person,
(e) impairment of the safety of any person,
(f) rendering any property or plant or animal life unfit for human use,
(g) loss of enjoyment of normal use of property, and
(h) interference with the normal conduct of business; (“consequence pr√©judiciable”)
For further read that Act from internet

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