If you ever review program submissions to a computer (and probably any other) conference, there are bound to be a number dealing with Ethical Computing. Or Ethical Hacking. Or Ethics and Computer Use. Or a number of other things. I always like to ask “Whose ethics” when working with colleagues doing the evaluation. These are fascinating sessions to attend, especially when the topic turns to “Any questions” and you get to stand up and say “Yeah, but”.
I have a presentation that I’ve given on the topic myself. It’s a chance to stand up and tell everyone why you’re right… until you ask is there are any questions! But, I would suggest that if there are 100 people wanting to talk about Ethical, there are close to 100 different definitions of what it actually is.
You might even want to take a course on Ethical Hacking. I know that many IT Departments do this to toughen the security of their systems.
There are a number of uses of the term “Ethical” and you can find them here at the Merriam-Webster site. Or, go to your own favourite dictionary definition site.
I realized, once I installed my first Linux system and started to interact with others that there’s a whole other world out there with their own definition of “Ethical”. No longer was it based upon the sorts of thing that we talk about in computer usage in schools.
- don’t share passwords
- don’t log into a system as someone else
- if you are co-owners of a website, don’t change content without permission
- don’t write code with the intent of hurting another’s computing experience
- don’t write code that circumvents a situation that you don’t know the answer to
- don’t create a “fake” account on a system and pretend to be someone else
The list goes on for quite a way and I’m sure that you have your own set of Ethical values when you’re online.
As computing has evolved and become more sophisticated, so does identifying and dealing with Ethical issues. Answers that seemed so simple have become so complicated.
I’ve had this tab open in my browser for a while now and I poke around looking and evaluating (for myself), the messages and topics addressed. The site is ethical.net.
Their take on a definition…
I think when I first dropped in on the site, it was by doing some research about web browsers. And, sure enough, in the resources section, you’ll find a list of web browsers that have been identified as being “ethical” by the site’s definition.
Throughout the resources section, there are some things that you’ll recognize but I’ll bet there are plenty that will be new for you. Unfortunately, there isn’t a rationale given why something makes the list or why something else didn’t.
For me, of course, I enjoyed poking around wondering about what’s there and what’s not there. If you’re interested in things dealing with privacy and ethics, I’d encourage you to click through and do some exploring on your own.
As always, for any presentation or blog post – Any questions or opinions? That’s what the reply feature is for!