Summary Questions

Summary Questions

  1. What topics are addressed in the code of ethics?

  2. Describe in two to three sentences the essence of each section of the Code of Ethics of Software Engineering.

  3. In the Relevance for Software Engineering section, we said that although the code of ethics can be addressed on different levels (individual, team, organization, country), in this chapter we limit the discussion to the individual level. At this stage, you are asked to suggest situations from the daily life of software developers in which ethical considerations address the team, the organization, and the country levels.

For Further Review

  1. Visit a software house and ask software developers about dilemmas they faced that required them to address ethical considerations. Find out if they are familiar with the Code of Ethics of Software Engineering. Ask them to analyze the situations they describe by using the Code of Ethics of Software Engineering.

  2. The Web is full of stories and case studies that raise ethical dilemmas. See the end of this chapter for a partial list. Select two to three stories and for each case check in what ways the code of ethics is helpful. Specify what principles of the Code of Ethics of Software Engineering you considered .

  3. Compose a story that raises ethical considerations. Interview software engineers about this case. Ask them to express their opinion and behavior in such a case. Analyze these reactions. Are all of the reactions similar? In what ways do they differ from each other and from your opinion? What do these reactions imply with respect to software development? What lessons will you take from this experience in your future development of software?

  4. Intellectual property in the age of computing is a central topic when analyzed from the ethical perspective. Surf the Web, find basic ethical rules that address this topic, and connect them to the daily life of software engineers.

  5. Netiquette is the ethics of using e-mail and other types of electronic communication. Search the Web for the basic rules of Netiquette. Select several of its guidelines, and explain their source and importance.

References and additional resources

The Code of Ethics of Software Engineering: .

[Kasher02] Kasher, Asa, Professional Autonomy and Its Limits, The Research in Ethics and Engineering conference (April 25 “27, 2002), Delft University of Technology, .

Bowen, Jonathan P., The Ethics of Safety-Critical Systems, Communications of the ACM 43(4), (April 2000): pp. 91 “97.

Collins, Robert, W., et al., How Good is Good Enough? An ethical analysis of software construction and use. Communications of the ACM 37(1), (January 1994): pp. 81 “91.

Johnson, Deborah, Computer Ethics, Third Edition, Prentice Hall, 2001.

Kreie, Jennifer, and Cronan, Timothy Paul, Making Ethical Decisions, Communication of the ACAM , 43(12) (December 2000): pp. 66 “71.

Towell, Elizabeth, Teaching Ethics in Software Engineering Curriculum, Proceedings of the 16th conference on Software Engineering Education & Training , Madrid, Spain, (2002): pp. 150 “157.

Online Resources

The Research Center on Computing & Society at Southern Connecticut State University, Computer Ethics in the Computer Science Curriculum,

The National Institute for Engineering Ethics: . The Web site also presents an analysis of the case study.

CPSC 451: Practical Software Engineering course of the University of Calgary . . The Web site also presents an analysis of the case studies.

The Software Engineering Ethics Research Institute:

Professor Richard Upchurch, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Computer and Information Science, Social and Ethical Aspects of Computing course Web site:

Nancy Leveson, Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, Peter G. Neumann, moderator, Volume 6: Issue 18, January 29, 1988. The forum URL is