What oath/code of ethic do you follow?

On November 13 2009, two programmers who worked for Bernie Madoff were arrested. They were charged with criminal conspiracy and accused of producing false documents and trading records. This arrest has shown that that IT professionals can also be arrested if the company they work for was involved in illegal activities.

Doctors are bound by the Hippocratic oath; however what oath/code of ethics do we as IT professionals follow.A portion of the short version of the Preamble for the Association for Computer Machinery’s Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice reads:

Software engineers shall commit themselves to
making the analysis,specification, design,
development,testing and maintenance of software
a beneficial and respected profession. In
accordance with their commitment to the
health, safety and welfare of the
public, software engineers shall adhere…

A portion of the The Canada’s Association of Information Technology Professionals code of ethics reads:

All CIPS members (including students) agree to
abide by the Code of Ethics and its ethical
Protecting the Public Interest
and Maintaining Integrity;

These two codes of ethics both refer to protecting the public. If the Bernie Madoff programmers had follow one of these code of ethics we may not have had one the biggest ponzi schemes in recent times. We as IT professionals are committed to our company to ensure that the company’s strategic goals are met;however we must be aware of deliverable we produce will not cause harm to the public or violate ethical boundaries. We may fear job loss if we protest in the light of illegal activities;however isn’t it more fearful living in prison cell ?


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