1. The ACM's Code of Professional Conduct is much more than merely a description of obligations of computer professionals. Members of the ACM are legally bound the by the canons.
2. The five canons of the ACM code of Professional Conduct are:
1. An ACM member shall act at all times with integrity.
2. An ACM member should strive to increase his competence, and the competence and prestige of the profession.
3. An ACM member shall accept responsibility for his work.
4. An ACM member shall act with professional responsibility.
5. An ACM member should use his special knowledge and skill for the advancement of human welfare.
From your reading of the Cuckoo's Egg by Cliff Stoll, and assuming that Stoll was a member of the ACM or a similar professional organization, give your opinion of the ways in which he adhered to, or violated, the canons of the above code in his search for the intruder into the Berkeley computer system.
Canon 1. He acted with integrity by sticking to the task to which he was assigned.
Canon 2. He certainly had to extend his own competence to understand the problem he was undertaking.
Canon 3. He took responsibility for his work by being willing to go to court to prosecute the intruder.
Canon 4. Difficult to judge.
Canon 5. He certainly protected "human welfare" by trapping a person who was attacking the "law and order" of international espionage.
3. On the first day of this course I introduced you to a set of "American values" as part of a progression to develop "community guidelines" from which we might develop a basis for judging the appropriateness of our actions. This was followed by the "Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics" and eventually by several codes developed by computer-related organizations. The "standard" against which we have chosen to judge ethical situations has been the ACM Code of Ethics. In several of the debates the opinion was expressed that such a code was only applicable to members of that organization who had agreed to abide by its precepts. In the US, as the only well established code associated with computer related activities, is it by default the "community standard" and thus applicable to a wider community that just members of the ACM? If not, why not? Justify your answer.
4. The "ACM Code" is a:
5. The "Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics" which were handed out in class at the beginning of the semester were developed by a group which had some strong connections with a religious order, and thus have a basis in the "Ten Commandments" of the Jewish and Christian faiths. If you were (or are) of some other denomination (or agnostic), would you be offended by this "take-off" on the "Ten Commandments"? Would you be concerned that this was mixing religion and professional behavior in an inappropriate manner? Explain your arguments and suggest alternative strategies for presenting ethical guidelines
The ACM Code of Ethics suggests some general moral imparatives. Which is NOT one of them:
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Last updated 99/05/13
© J.A.N. Lee, 1999