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Legal, Ethical & Professional Issues

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  1. Legal, Ethical & Professional Issues CSE300 Advanced Software Engineering University of Sunderland © 2005 Anne Comer anne.comer@sunderland.ac.uk

  2. Aim of this Session To provide an understanding of those legal, ethical and professional issues that software engineers may come into contact with during their professional lives.

  3. Objectives of the Session By the end of the session students should: • Understand the importance of acting ethically in their professional lives • Appreciate the legal context within which the professional software engineer operates • Appreciate the professional responsibilities of the software engineer

  4. British Computer Society Code of Conduct Rules are grouped into four areas......... “which all members should endeavour to discharge in pursuing their professional lives.” • The Public Interest • Duty to Relevant Authority • Duty to the Profession • Professional Competence and Integrity

  5. BCS COC - The Public Interest (part) 1. You shall carry out work or study with due care and diligence in accordance with the relevant authority's requirements, and the interests of system users. 2. In your professional role you shall have regard for the public health, safety and environment. 3. You shall have regard to the legit. rights of third parties. 4. You shall ensure that within your professional field/s you have knowledge and understanding of relevant legislation, regulations and standards, and that you comply. 5. You shall conduct your professional activities without discrimination against clients or colleagues 6. You shall reject any offer of bribery or inducement. 

  6. BCS COC - Duty to Relevant Authority 7. You shall avoid any situation that may give rise to a conflict of interest between you and your relevant authority. You shall make full and immediate disclosure to them if any conflict is likely to occur or be seen by a third party as likely to occur. 8. You shall not disclose or authorise to be disclosed, or use for personal gain or to benefit a third party, confidential information except with the permission of your relevant authority, or at the direction of a court of law. 9. You shall not misrepresent or withhold information on the performance of products, systems or services, or take advantage of the lack of relevant knowledge or inexperience of others. http://www.bcs.org/BCS/AboutBCS/codes/conduct/

  7. The Data Protection Act Perhaps the most widely known legislation with relevance to the software industry, and profession, is the Data Protection Act. (This is serious stuff – only for those who think they’re good at writing or understanding code!) located at: http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/19980029.htm

  8. Principles of Data Protection The rules are comply with the eight enforceable principles of good practice. Which say that : that anyone processing personal data must data must be: • fairly and lawfully processed; • processed for limited purposes; • adequate, relevant and not excessive; • accurate; • not kept longer than necessary; • processed in accordance with the data subject's rights; • secure; • not transferred to countries without adequate protection.

  9. Personal Data is: Personal data covers both facts and opinions about an individual. It also includes information regarding the intentions of the ‘data controller’ towards the individual, although in some limited circumstances exemptions will apply. With processing, the definition is far wider than before. For example, it incorporates the concepts of 'obtaining', holding' and 'disclosing'. (see:http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/)

  10. Other Legislation / Regulation In addition to the Data Protection Act there are many more pieces of legislation relating to IT. Further information can be found at: http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/

  11. Ethical & Legal Issues There is a difference between the two. An unethical action is not necessarily illegal. Ethics are principles of right and wrong, used to guide behaviour…. Used by individuals, as ‘free moral agents’…. (also see Laudon & Laudon, ‘Management Information Systems’, 6th Ed. )

  12. Morals in the ‘Information Society’ • Information rights and obligations • Property rights • Accountability and Control • System quality • Quality of Life

  13. POLITICAL ISSUES SOCIAL ISSUES ETHICAL ISSUES INFORMATION & TECHNOLOGY INDIVIDUAL SOCIETY POLITY Ethical, Social, and Political Issues PROPERTY RIGHTS & OBLIGATIONS INFORMATION RIGHTS & OBLIGATIONS SYSTEM QUALITY ACCOUNTABILITY & CONTROL QUALITY OF LIFE

  14. Technology Trends Leading to Ethical Issues • Advances in data storage • Advances in data mining techniques • Advances in networking

  15. Ethical Dilemmas • Dilemma is a situation is which there are at least two diametrically opposed actions, each of which may support a desirable, although not necessarily an equally desirable, outcome • Use a five-step process to analyse a dilemma…..

  16. Ethical Analysis • IDENTIFY, DESCRIBE THE FACTS • DEFINE THE CONFLICT, IDENTIFY VALUES • IDENTIFY THE PARTIES INVOLVED • IDENTIFY ALL THE OPTIONS • IDENTIFY POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES

  17. Ethical Principles • TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WANT TO BE TREATED • IF ACTION NOT RIGHT FOR EVERYONE, NOT RIGHT FOR ANYONE (KANT) • IF ACTION NOT REPEATABLE, NOT RIGHT AT ANY TIME (DESCARTES) • PUT VALUE ON OUTCOMES, UNDERSTAND CONSEQUENCES • INCUR LEAST HARM OR COST • THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH

  18. Ethics Links Professional Codes of Ethics: http://computer.org/certification/ethics.htm Web Resources for Ethics and Computing: http://www.cse.nd.edu/~kwb/nsf-ufe/index.htmlhttp://www.cse.nd.edu/~kwb/nsf-ufe/exercises-overview.html

  19. Prior Reading Prior to the next session students are required to read the software testing chapters of Pressman.