NETHERLANDS

VRI (NEDERLANDSE VERENIGING VAN REGISTERINFORMATICI) CODE OF ETHICS

Preamble

The Code of Ethics of the VRI (the Dutch Association of Information Scientists) has been developed to serve as an evolving framework for the thinking, acting and testing of persons, who want to be recognizable as RIS (Registered Information Scientists) in their occupational performance in the field of informatics.

The VRI thinks that the RIS in applying this Code contributes to a constructive development and application of informatics.

Code

In my role as an information scientist I will constantly positively serve the interests of society in all its aspects. I have therefore registered myself in the Register of the Information Scientists. I hereby indicate that I would like to be publicly recognized as such and will at all times be answerable for having followed the Code of Ethics.

Rules of Conduct

1. The RIS should be recognizable as such at all times.
2. The RIS should be aware of the consequences of his acts for society.
3. In his professional activities the RIS should act in accordance with the interests of his employer.
4. The RIS should constantly aim at providing and/or achieving high standard services, contributions or results.
5. The RIS should treat data, obtained within the framework of the assignment, confidentially and may only use these for the purpose for which they were given.
6. The RIS should act within the framework of the assignment in such a way that his procedure may be examined at all times.
7. The RIS should act in such a way that the prestige of his profession and that of his colleagues remains unharmed.
8. The RIS should not (co)operate in bringing about information systems, the application of which could deliberately harm persons, institutions or the public interest or which are against the law.
9. The RIS should be aware of the limits of his knowledge and skill in his occupational performance.
10. The RIS must at all times keep himself informed of developments in the field in which he profiles himself as an expert.

Comments on the rules

1. The RIS should be recognizable as such at all times

The application of informatics is still increasing. As a consequence the information scientist is involved in a growing number of developments.
It is therefore important to know in which way an information scientist applies his knowledge and skill and whether he has committed himself explicitly to act in accordance with standards and rules.

Since the RIS has committed himself to follow previously set standards of quality and integrity, he should be recognizable as an RIS by those he is involved with. The importance of recognizability has not only a positive significance as meant previously, but can also be related to negative situations.

If an RIS does not behave in accordance with the Code of Ethics one should be able to call upon him with reference to the obligations his entry in the Register of information Scientists imposes upon him.

Anyone who thinks the RIS is not acting in accordance with the Code of Ethics may settle the dispute before the arbitration court of the VRI.

2. The RIS should be aware of the consequences of his acts for society

Application of informatics and therefore the work of the RIS brings about fundamental changes in society in general, and organizations in particular. By implementing information systems, working conditions, organization and cooperations will change.

Adjustments of duties and responsibilities of employees are often taken into consideration. Corollaries of this, with regard to the prestige of the work in question and the changes in the social position of those involved, are often not taken into consideration or even recognized.

The RIS must also include these aspects in realizing information systems. Likewise the RIS should be aware of the possible abuse of the information system he is realizing. The possibility that an application will be used differently from the way it was meant may be reason enough not to develop that application nor have it developed.

To prevent application of technologies having too much an autonomous character, much attention must be given to the effects that can be expected. On the other hand, the RIS must be very much aware of situations in which application of information technology may bring about improvement in circumstances, persons, organizations or society. Encouraging applications is also part of the ethics of the RIS. In all circumstances it is of great importance that the RIS is explicit in his considerations whether or not to contribute to, or to initiate the development of information systems.

3. In his professional activities the RIS should act in accordance with the interests of his employer

The RIS is engaged by his employer as an expert.

Through lack of time, knowledge, skill, quality or any other reason, the employer himself is not able to serve his interests sufficiently. Therefore the RIS will advise and actively support so he can make the right decision himself at a given moment. Should the employer act or decide contrary to the advice of the RIS, then the RIS must make explicit the consequences of not following his advice.

4. The RIS should constantly aim at providing and/or achieving high standard services, contributions or results

In return for his money, every employer expects a product or a service in agreement with his expectations. The RIS, therefore, is obliged to define requirements as to the quality and measure points. As testing afterwards can only lead to approval or disapproval, the RIS must constantly be aware of the quality aspect.

In this way possible uncertainty of employers caused by much negative publicity can be diminished or removed entirely.

In spite of the fact that the quality aspect will initially only lead to an increase of the development costs the explicit requirements as to quality will therefore often be absent, the RIS must do his utmost to emphasize the quality aspect to the employer and to point out the long-term effect of a decrease in the running costs.

In this way something is supplied which will also meet the expectations of the employer in the long run.

5. The RIS should treat data, obtained within the framework of the assignment, confidentially and may only use these for the purpose for which they were given

The nature of the duties of an RIS often involves examination of and/or access to data considered confidential by the owners or by those to whom the data refer.

It is ethically irresponsible towards people and institutions to use these data for other purposes than they were supplied for, or to treat them carelessly so that a third party could use or abuse these data.

By taking the utmost care the RIS can gain or enlarge the trust with regard to the registered information scientist.

Even when aspects of privacy do not seem to apply or seem exaggerated the RIS must, in view of the above, treat all data supplied as confidential.

6. The RIS should act within the framework of the assignment in such a way that his procedure may be examined at all times

When a project starts the final result will generally be known. From this can be concluded what final products must be accomplished to achieve this.

When the assignment is finished the result can be compared to the previously defined requirements and discharge could follow. However, it still happens much too often that (large scale) information projects fail, partly due to the fact that the interim evaluation did not or could not take place.

That is why the rule wants to indicate that proceedings must be verifiable not only at the end of the assignment but during all stages of its completion.

In this way the employer or client will not be faced with unpleasant surprises and the employer or client will be invited to participate in the process.

Testing will require certain criteria.

These can consist of (interim) results previously agreed upon or standards that prescribe how the job needs to be done. In accordance with this, the extent to which the RIS has contributed to the effectuation of the result can be judged.

The authorities, society or the RIS colleagues must be able to verify his work if necessary. In all openness, without the RIS hiding behind technicalities or jargon.

7. The RIS should act in such a way that the prestige of his profession and that of his colleagues remains unharmed

The statements, attitude and behaviour of the RIS are inspired by dignity, sincerity and integrity in such a way that a harmonious functioning in exercising his profession is achieved.

Among other things this is reflected in dealing responsibly with the risks of informatics as well as in charging socially accepted tariffs.

8. The RIS should not (co)operate in bringing about information systems, the application of which could deliberately harm persons, institutions or the public Interest or which are against the law

Before an RIS accepts an assignment he has to assure himself of the preconceived objectives of the product or service that will result.

Apart from general social standards, his own ethical standards are important too. As to the public interest not every RIS will apply the same standards.

However, he should at all times be aware of the effects that result from his professional activities and he must be able to justify these.

9. The RIS should be aware of the limits of his knowledge and skill in his occupational performance

The field of informatics knows many disciplines. The RIS will only master one or just a few of them. Whenever the RIS has to go beyond the limits of his professional knowledge or even the limits of the profession itself, he should not hesitate to call upon other specialists.

The RIS may, of course, be asked to go beyond the limits of his professional knowledge or he may suggest this himself. In this way the RIS is able to enlarge his knowledge or skill.

Explicit agreement with the employer and other parties involved must then be obtained.

10. The RIS must at all times keep himself informed of developments in the field in which he profiles himself as an expert

Developments in the fields of computer science, methods and technologies for the designing of information systems and the market of those who provide services, change rapidly.

After initial training and education the knowledge of an information scientist soon lags behind. Besides this there are experiences of others with means and methods the information scientist must be able to pass on to interested parties.

A permanent education is necessary to retain an ability to judge the importance of new developments and where and how they can be applied.

Definitions

Informatics is the field in which one occupies oneself with the automation of information systems and all related fields, such as technology and social, administrative and industrial organizations, man and society.

The term information scientist refers to anybody who works in the field of informatics.

The term RIS refers to every person who has been registered in the Dutch Register of Information Scientists.

The term information system refers to the entire body of systematically collected, recorded, processed, reproduced and provided data in any form, in order to obtain information.

An employer is an individual or a legal person who gives the assignment to supply services and products.

The client is he who uses the services or products supplied by the information scientist.

VRI (Nederlandse Vereniging van Registerinformatici)

Secretariaat VRI

Postbus 63

1243 ZH 's-Graveland

Telefoon: 035-62262

Fax: 035-64073

Postgiro: 3803

Verenigingenregister KvK

's-Gravenhage V411324


Edited 94/10/04


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