ACM Ethics_Lecture4 - Professional Ethics Codes of Conduct...

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Professional Ethics & Codes of Conduct Lecture 4
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Ethical Decision Making: Case 3 Sana works in a large provincial agency dealing with alcoholism and drug abuse. Agency administers programs for individuals with alcohol and drug programs. Maintains a large database of information on clients who use agency services. Some data files contain names and current addresses of clients. Sana has been asked to look at the track records of treatment programs. Reporting # of clients seen each month for past five years, length of client treatment, number of clients who return after program completion, criminal histories of clients.
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Ethical Decision Making: Case 3 Sana has been given access to all files in the agency’s mainframe computer This data is needed to put together in the report. After assembling data: She downloads it to the computer in her office. The agency is pressuring her to finish report on the deadline. Sana decides she must work from home over the weekend. She copies data onto several disks and takes them home. After finishing report she leaves the disks at home and forgets about them.
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Applying the Code: Case 3 This case resembles case 2, but raises several additional issues. Issues involving confidentiality Principle 1.7 deals with privacy Principle 1.8 deals with confidentiality Principle 2.8 also applies: Constraining access to authorized systems Principle 3.5: Organizational leaders have obligations to “verify systems are designed and implemented to protect personal privacy and enhance personal dignity” Also Principle 3.3: (Appropriate and authorized uses of organization’s resources)
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Applying the Code: Case 3 Government agency should have had policies and procedures to protect identity of its clients Sana’s friends and relatives might accidentally discover files and inappropriate uses information. Note that the files Sana used did not need to have names or other information in the records. Agency should have removed identifying information from files Sana was allowed to use. If this happened, it wouldn’t have mattered that Sana copied files to her computer. Sana, unfortunately, was not attentive to ethical issues ahead of time.
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Ethical decision making: Case 4 Computer company is writing first part of an “efficient accounting system”. Will be used by government. Expectation is that this will save taxpayers a considerable amount of money each year. Software engineer in charge of design assigns different parts of system to his staff. Reports, Internal Processing, User interface Manager is shown the system, and agrees it matches requirements. System is installed, but staff find the interface so difficult to use that their complaints are heard by upper-level management
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Ethical Decision Making: Case 4 Result of complaints: upper-level management will not invest any more money in developing the new accounting system they go back to their original, more expensive system
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