Ethics Essay: Professional Computing Ethics
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is a professionally recognized association in Australia that deals with individuals and organization who are active players in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). In ensuring that the ICT professionals’ standing is raised and that the different views of various stakeholders in Information Technology, such as the government, various industries and the community at large, are safeguarded, ACS has employed the concept of filtering the web pages of its clients. In this process, the ACS Code of Ethics has significantly been looked into. In addition, the ACS has established another task force, E-Security Task Force, that work in collaboration with the filtering team in giving advice on the policies, technical issues, objectivity and transparency in ICT (ACM , 2010). Due to the threat of security caused by cyber attackers, remedies to provide a more secure and safer access to the internet have been keenly looked into. Thus, this has led to the calling to work the multifaceted initiatives of the government, social and industrial approaches in providing relevant knowledge to the internet users.
The filtering regulations and specifications have addressed what content has to undergo the process, where and exactly how the filtering is to occur, type of traffic and protocols for filtering, filtering enforcement mechanisms and the effectiveness of the process of filtering. In applying the filtering task force to achieve cyber security, various issues that are in line with the ACS Code of Ethics have been put into consideration. Confidentiality is one of the key issues that the ACS Code of Ethics addresses. Personal and confidential information belonging to a client ought not to be disclosed to anyone else within the network unless consent has been acquired from the rightful legal owner of the data or in a case where there is either a legal or a professional duty to make known the same. Since professionals in Information Technology, due to their occupation’s nature, have access to their clients’ information, they should ensure confidentiality of this information. This is because disclosure of the same as a result of their mistake or negligence will expose the client to the threat of having his/her information altered or his business and occupational arenas interfered with thus incurring great losses (ACMA, 2009). Therefore, when making and implement filtering policies or during the actual process of filtering, IT professionals have to make sure that clients’ information is not unintentional or unwarrantedly viewed by third parties.
Integrity is a function of confidentiality. With the IT professionals ensuring secrecy of their clients’ data, they are maintaining the trust that has been bestowed in them by the general public. This trust should not be breached at any single moment even in filtering the web pages to be viewed. The professional’s decisions and actions have to be based on the principles of utmost integrity and honesty. Though handling clients’ details that may be abused for their own benefits or for others, they ought not to be tempted to act fraudulently. Likewise, when undertaking web pages filtering, the trust and confidence that the clients have put on the IT professionals must be observed on the part of the professionals. In so doing, the filtering process will have overwhelmed prosecution of deliverable access, circulation or publication to the unwarranted individuals, groups of individuals or even organization that have indulged in cyber crimes.
In the establishment of Internet Server Provider (ISP) level filtering, need to ascertain security for children and others groups of individuals who are vulnerable to either undesirable or illegal materials has to be taken into consideration. This is a move towards realizing the deliberate attention to the interests of the public. Web pages filtering should aim at safeguarding the interests of the stakeholders, i.e. the clients. This is purposed to make certain that interest of the members of the society do not conflict with their responsibilities and loyalties that the community at large owe them, irrespective of gender, class, geographical location, color, ethnicity or occupation. Professionals in Information and technology are duty-bound to see to it that the filtering process is carried out in a manner that is in line with the laws, policies and norms laid down by various social, educational and political institutions (ACM Council, 1992). For instance, ISP-based filtering has been geared towards getting away with the access to child pornography. Though the interests of the various clients in different locations within Australia are divergent and have to be met satisfactorily, the filtering personnel have the responsibility to safeguard everyone in the network. They should execute their responsibilities in a way that protects the fundamental rights of human beings with respect to their cultural diversities. Moreover, professionals in computing should aim at mitigating the negative consequences associated with the systems in computing. These include both health and security threats. Consequently, in filtering the pages to be viewed in the internet, attempts must be made by the IT professionals in assuring that they are socially fit and meeting the needs in the current society. At the same time, materials that will probably have harmful effects on the society members’ welfare and health ought to be earmarked.
Multilevel ISP filtering can be done. This is achieved through filtering traffic whose origin is either a backbone service provider or an international supplier filtering between the customer and the ISP and also filtering between two customers. This multiple-level filtering beeps up the respect for the privacy of others within the network. Since it is the responsibility of the professionals in IT to maintain the integrity and privacy of the data describing their clients, they are moreover obliged to carrying out multi-level filtering in a manner that respects the clients’ solitude. In efforts to achieve these, the professionals endowed with the process of multiple level filtering are indebted to institute precautions that assure the accuracy of the client’s information and the deterring of unauthorized access (Australian Computer Society, 2010). Additionally, these precautionary measures must ensure that the clients’ private information does not accidentally come to the sight of individuals who are inappropriate or having malicious intentions. In continued privacy reinforcement, regular reviews of the records should be provided. Besides, corrective measures have to be provided in cases of realized discrepancies. Similarly, the filtering process ought to be frequently reviewed so as to fill up the existent loopholes that arise as a result of technological advancements. During the system’s normal operation and maintenance duties, user data has to be handled with strictness and confidentiality.
People get to surf so as to be updated on the various current activities taking place round the globe. Consequently, when performing the filtering activity, the professional should ensure that pages in the web that highlight the current news in the world are available to the internet users. This calls for these personnel to be kept up to date on the new technologies, standards and practices relevant to their duties of also assuring the clients that they have access to the currents news in any country in the world. Keeping technologically updated will provide the professionals to possess an advantageous edge since many have preferences of their sites. Moreover, they have to be at par with the daily and rapid advancements in technology. Moreover, competence is to be utilized since nor professional can carry out any of these technological transformations without prior knowhow. Information technology and more specifically filtering of web pages in not based on guesswork. The concerned have to depict high levels of competence that cannot be doubted. As a result, it is advisable for these computing professionals to get their hands on additional expertise, especially from individuals who are appropriately qualified in this field of Information Communication and Technology and also in Information Technology. Competence assures the realization of the required skills in achieving success in filtering without compromise of other ethical issues within the ACS Coode of Ethics such as confidentiality and integrity in information relating to the different needs of the clients (Berleur, Duquenoy & Whitehouse, 1999). Though full competence is hardly attainable, these professionals ought to be sufficiently knowledgeable and in a position to identify the moments in which they need additional information and expertise.
Different internet users have differing surfing needs and objectives. For instance, a company may opt to have its operations done online so as to link properly with the rest of its chain branches distributed in different states within the country or in different countries and continents. For that reason, the personnel concerned with the filtering of the pages are obligated to increase the benefits of the client company, or even individuals efficiently and effectively. The distinct filtering policies and terms should meet the clients’ defined task and within the pre-described environment and scope. In situations where some changes arise in the filtering process, or were some of the procedures within the clients’ play court prove to be unsatisfactory; the computing professionals should make the same known to the relevant clients (Australian Computer society, 2009). Moreover, the benefits that the client realizes through the filtering process ought to be beyond the immediate expectations of his or her expectations.
Filtering is not a process that is done haphazardly with the sole aim of blocking access to information. Though done with caution and with the purpose of hiding relevant information from unwarranted third parties, it should play a pivotal role in promoting Information Technology and also the image of the IT profession in the society. Since the nationals of any country are kept updated, they get to understand and appreciate the work of IT. Application of this technology in business is worthy of embrace and incidences of inaccuracy, statements that are misleading and untrustworthiness be eliminated through adequately educating the concerned. Moreover, the computing professionals have to exercise the various ethical virtues so as to paint IT well and as an imperative practice.
ACM Council. (1992). ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Retrieved on 20 August 2010 from http://www.acm.org/about/code-of-ethics
ACM.(2010). Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice. Retrieved on 20 August 2010 from http://www.acm.org/about/se-code#full
Australian Communications and media Authority. (2009). Developments in Internet Filtering Technologies and Other Measures for Promoting Online Safety. Sydney.
Australian Computer Society Inc. (2010). Code of Professional Conduct and Professional Practise. Retrieved on 20 August 2010 from http://www.acs.org.au/index.cfm?action=show&conID=copc2#A1
Australian Computer Society. (2009). Technical Observations on ISP Based Filtering of the Internet. Sydney, Australia.
Berleur, J., Duquenoy, P. & Whitehouse, D. (1999). Ethics and the Governance of the Internet. Laxenburg, Australia.