Computer ethics

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/en The use of computers is increasing and the Internet has become a need with it to do varied social and work activities currently. In this more and more globalized world, people have the need of keeping in contact with society around them, therefore is achieved with the Internet.

However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the Internet is a non-regulated communications net, and therefore it makes a way for commiting non-ethic and illegal activities that harm society. As many other professions, computer science has seen itself in the need of thinking about specific ethics. It is known that kind of ethics as Computer Ethics.

Definition

Computer ethics is a new discipline that intends to gain access between applied ethics and that it has emerged in the world few years ago with strength. Its origin is in the more and more massive introduction of computers in many areas of our social life, which is increasingly been computerized. Its existence has the fact that computers involve some ethic problems as starting point, therefore different from other technologies.

Generally, Computer Ethics is the discipline that analyses ethic problems that are created by computer technology, or those that are transformed or compounded by that technology. There is a lack of rules about how to use these new technologies.

Objective

Its objective is to provide action guides where there’s no regulation or when existent rules are obsolete. These are some examples:

  • Discover and articulate key ethic dilemmas in computer science.
  • Determine how much are they aggravated, transformed or created by computer technology.
  • Analyse and propose an appropriate conceptual framework and formulate action principles to determine what to do in new activities caused by computer science in which action guidelines are not perceived clearly.
  • Use ethics theory to clarify ethic dilemmas and detect errors in ethic reasoning.
  • Propose an appropriate conceptual framework to understand ethic dilemmas caused by computer science and, moreover, to establish a guide when regulation about use of the Internet doesn’t exist.

Ethic Deontological Code of Computer Science

Computer professionals associations and some companies realted to computer science have developped professional behaviour codes that guide to the proper use of computers in the workplace. These codes have different functions:

  • The fact that ethic rules exist for a kind of job means that a professional, a technician in this case, is not only responsible of technical aspects of the product, but also economic, sociologic and cultural consequences of itself.
  • They are useful like a flexible instrument as an addition legal actions and policies because, in general, these actions are very slow compared to the speed of information technologies development. The codes act like a supplement of the law and are helpful for legislative, administrative and judicial bodies.
  • They are helpful as public awareness because when this kind of rules is created it makes people aware of problems and encourage a debate to designate responsibilities. These rules have a sociological function since they give to computer scientists an identity as a group that think in a particular way. It is a professional status symbol and part of their definition as professionals.
  • These regulations are also helpful as a public testing source, and they are a call to resposibility that allows society know what happens in that profession. Worker reputation and public trust rises.

The Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics

  1. You shall not use a computer to harm others.
  2. You shall not interfere with the work of others.
  3. You shall not inquire others files.
  4. You shall not use a computer in order to steal.
  5. You shall not use computer science to commit fraud.
  6. You shall not copy of use software you haven’t bought.
  7. You shall not use others computer resources without the proper approval.
  8. You shall not appropriate others intellectual rights.
  9. You must evaluate social consequences of any code you develop.
  10. You always use computers so that you respect others rights.