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Programming & Plagiarism: Introduction to Computer Ethics

A guide to computer programming ethics, plagiarism, and intellectual property.

Technology & Ethics

Ethics is a branch of knowledge that deals with moral principals, and helps us distinguish between right and wrong. Computer Ethics (CE) or Information Ethics (IE) is a branch of ethics that pertain to the relationship between the creation, organization, dissemination, and use of information, and the ethical standards and moral codes governing human conduct in society.

Generally, ethics in Computer Science relate to:

  • computer crime (theft, hacking)
  • responsibility for computer failure (quality assurance)
  • protection of computer property, records, and software (security)
  • privacy of the company, workers, and customers

Which Code of Ethics Would You Abide By?

Some key highlights:

From ACM:

  • 1.3 Be honest and trustworthy.
  • 2.9 Design and implement systems that are robustly and usably secure.
  • 2.7 Foster public awareness and understanding of computing, related technologies, and their consequences.
  • 2.6 Perform work only in areas of competence.

From "Uncle Bob":

"I Promise that, to the best of my ability and judgment . . . The code that I produce will always be my best work. I will not knowingly allow code that is defective either in behavior or structure to accumulate."