Chapter 4: Professional Ethics
- What is professional ethics?
Professional ethics concerns one's conduct of behaviour and practice when carrying out professional work. Such work may include consulting, researching, teaching and writing. The institutionalisation of Codes of Conduct and Codes of Practice is common with many professional bodies for their members to observe.
- What is a computer professional?
A computer professional, basically, is a person who specializes in the field of technology. He is someone who works on different kinds of technologies that involve the use of computer.
- Do computer professionals have special moral responsibilities that ordinary computer users do not have? If so, what are some of those special responsibilities?
I believe that computer professionals do have special moral responsibilities that ordinary computer users do not have. These are responsibilities like they must think of how their work would be affecting ordinary computer users and how they would protect information placed on the Internet in order to protect the users as well as themselves.
- Why is it useful to limit our discussion of moral issues affecting computer professionals to issues affecting software engineers and engineering teams, computer science instructor, and IT support professionals, as opposed to professionals such as lawyers and accountants who also use computers and why may work for computer organizations?
In my view, it is useful that we limit our discussion of moral issues affecting computer professionals to issues affecting software engineers and engineering teams, computer science instructor, and IT support professionals because this will help us focus more on the problems being encountered by computer users. I think that it is also because the scope of these issues are very big and it affects almost all fields of work.
- How do Gotterbarn, Miller, and Rogerson propose that we define the profession of software engineering? Who is included in a software engineering team?
Software engineers are those who engage the planning, analyzation, design, development, testing, and maintenance of software programs or systems.
- What are professional codes of ethics, and what functions do these codes serve?
I. Purpose and Scope
- This Code of Professional Ethics (hereinafter called the "Code") lays down the standards of integrity, professionalism and confidentiality which all members of the Association shall be bound to respect in their work as conference interpreters.
- Candidates shall also undertake to adhere to the provisions of this Code.
- The Council, acting in accordance with the Regulation on Disciplinary Procedure, shall impose penalties for any breach of the rules of the profession as defined in this Code.
II. Code of Honour
- Members of the Association shall be bound by the strictest secrecy, which must be observed towards all persons and with regard to all information disclosed in the course of the practice of the profession at any gathering not open to the public.
- Members shall refrain from deriving any personal gain whatsoever from confidential information they may have acquired in the exercise of their duties as conference interpreters.
- Members of the Association shall not accept any assignment for which they are not qualified. Acceptance of an assignment shall imply a moral undertaking on the member's part to work with all due professionalism.
- Any member of the Association recruiting other conference interpreters, be they members of the Association or not, shall give the same undertaking.
- Members of the Association shall not accept more than one assignment for the same period of time.
- Members of the Association shall not accept any job or situation which might detract from the dignity of the profession.
- They shall refrain from any act which might bring the profession into disrepute.
For any professional purpose, members may publicise the fact that they are conference interpreters and members of the Association, either as individuals or as part of any grouping or region to which they belong.
- It shall be the duty of members of the Association to afford their colleagues moral assistance and collegiality.
- Members shall refrain from any utterance or action prejudicial to the interests of the Association or its members. Any complaint arising out of the conduct of any other member or any disagreement regarding any decision taken by the Association shall be pursued and settled within the Association itself.
- Any problem pertaining to the profession which arises between two or more members of the Association, including candidates, may be referred to the Council for arbitration, except for disputes of a commercial nature.
III. Working Conditions
With a view to ensuring the best quality interpretation, members of the Association:
- shall endeavour always to secure satisfactory conditions of sound, visibility and comfort, having particular regard to the Professional Standards as adopted by the Association as well as any technical standards drawn up or approved by it;
- shall not, as a general rule, when interpreting simultaneously in a booth, work either alone or without the availability of a colleague to relieve them should the need arise;
- shall try to ensure that teams of conference interpreters are formed in such a way as to avoid the systematic use of relay;
- shall not agree to undertake either simultaneous interpretation without a booth or whispered interpretation unless the circumstances are exceptional and the quality of interpretation work is not thereby impaired;
- require a direct view of the speaker and theroom and therefore will not agree to working from screens except in exceptional circumstances where a direct view is not possible, provided the arrangements comply with the Association's appropriate technical specifications and rules;
- shall require that working documents and texts to be read out at the conference be sent to them in advance;
- shall request a briefing session whenever appropriate;
- shall not perform any other duties except that of conference interpreter at conferences for which they have been taken on as interpreters.
Members of the Association shall neither accept nor, a fortiori, offer for themselves or for other conference interpreters recruited through them, be they members of the Association or not, any working conditions contrary to those laid down in this Code or in the Professional Standards.
IV. Amendment Procedure
This Code may be modified by a decision of the Assembly taken with a two-thirds majority of votes cast, provided a legal opinion has been sought on the proposals.
- List some of the benefits of professional code of ethics. Describe some of the criticism of these professional codes.
- To be a socially responsible organization
- To provide Employees and Official with guidelines
- To establish a better corporate culture
- To improve Mensa's public image
- To improve management
- To minimize the risk of white collar crime
- Why does John Ladd believe that professional codes of ethics rest on a series of errors that are both intellectual and moral? Describe the arguments he uses to support his position.
- Explain Don Gotterbarn's three-fold distinction: codes of ethics, codes of conduct, and codes of practice. Do Gotternbarn's distinctions help to eliminate any of the criticisms that have been raised against professional codes?
- How does the IEEE-CS/ACM Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice improve on earlier professional codes?
- Do computer professionals have presumed, or prima facie, obligation to loyalty to their employers?
- Describe the arguments by Ronal Duska and John Ladd regarding employee loyalty.
- What exactly is whistle-blowing? Acc. to Michael Martin, what are the three general approaches that have been taken in analysis of whistle-blowing cases?
- Describe De George's criteria for determining when one is required to blow the whistle as opposed to when one is permitted to do so. Are De George's criteria useful in making this disticntion?
- In which ways do Gene James and Kenneth Alpern disagree with De George's model for whitsle-blowing?
- Describe John Ladd's argument in defense of De George's position on whistle -blowing.
- Why does Helen Nisssenbaum believe that the notion of accountability has been "systematically undermindes in the computer age"? How does she distinguish between accountability and responsibility?
- What does Nissenbaum mean by "problem of many hands" in a computing context?
- Why does Nissenbaum believe that it is important to distinguish between moral accountability and legal liability?
- According to Don Gotterbarn, what is required for a model of risk analysis to be adequate in the software development process for safety-critical systems?