The objective of this work in writing is to examine the code of conduct and ethics for Internet Technology (IT) professionals. Towards this end this study will examine the literature in this area of study.
Defining the IT Professional
There is no one set definition for the IT professional however, an IT professional is a professional that works with information technology including installation, implementation, servicing, training, and upgrades to computer and networking systems. Being a professional however, is more that possessing the knowledge of how to perform a job or possessing specific skills because being a professional means acting and conducting oneself in an ethical and honorable manner.
Information Systems Audit and Control Association, Inc. (ISACA) Code of Professional Ethics
The Information Systems Audit and Control Association, Inc. (ISACA) reports that the professional ethics set out by the ISACA are such that provides guidance for the professional and personal conduct of the members of the association or those that are certificate holders. Included in the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics are the following stated principles:
(1) Professionals are required to "Support the implementation of, and encourage compliance with, appropriate standards and procedures for the effective governance and management of enterprise information systems and technology, including: audit, control, security and risk management";
(2) Professionals are required to "Perform their duties with objectivity, due diligence and professional care, in accordance with professional standards";
(3) Professionals are required to "Serve in the interest of stakeholders in a lawful manner, while maintaining high standards of conduct and character, and not discrediting their profession or the Association";
(4) Professionals are required to "Maintain the privacy and confidentiality of information obtained in the course of their activities unless disclosure is required by legal authority. Such information shall not be used for personal benefit or released to inappropriate parties";
(5) Professionals are required to "Maintain competency in their respective fields and agree to undertake only those activities they can reasonably expect to complete with the necessary skills, knowledge and competence";
(6) Professionals are required to "Inform appropriate parties of the results of work performed including the disclosure of all significant facts known to them that, if not disclosed, may distort the reporting of the results"; and (7) Professionals are required to "Support the professional education of stakeholders in enhancing their understanding of the governance and management of enterprise information systems and technology, including: audit, control, security and risk management." (ISACA, 2014, p. 1)
II. Outcomes of Lack of Compliance With Professional Code Of Ethics
When Internet Technology (IT) professionals fail to comply with the Code of Professional Ethics, it is reported that the result may be the conduction of an investigation into the conduct of the professional and disciplinary measures where required. ISACA reports that when there are violations of the Code of Professional Ethics, that the complaint process can be utilized and that those who are accused of failing to comply with the Professional Code of Ethics are given the chance to respond to any allegations made in the complaint. The filing of the compliant involves the completion of an Ethics Complaint Form which must be submitted to -- . When an individual submits a complaint the complainant must "maintain all information exchanged pursuant to the Ethics Complaint as confidential and proprietary and support the investigation and resolution of the complaint." (ISACA, 2014, p. 1) ISACA states the report must be "truth, substantive and complete" and must "provide a complete accounting and supporting documentation of the alleged Code violation" and must "disclose if the conduct is subject to criminal or civil investigation or suit." (ISACA, 2014, p. 1) When a complete complaint is submitted to ISACA, an initial assessment is conducted and a recommendation is made to the Ethics Committee." ( ) The recommendation and complaint is then reviewed by the Ethics Committee which makes one of the following determinations:
(1) The Complaint should be dismissed;
(2) the Complaint warrants a summary finding (as in the case of a reported criminal conviction affecting an individual's adherence to the Code of Ethics); or (3) the Complaint will proceed for formal investigation. (ISACA, 2014, p. 1)
Both the respondent and complainant will receive notification of the Complaint and Ethics Committee's course of action and where a complaint is to proceed to a formal investigation, the respondent is given the opportunity to respond using the 'Response to Complaint Form'." (ISACA, 2014, p. 1) Where the Ethics Committee initiates an investigation that is formal in response to the complaint considered will be the information in the complaint and the response along with any other information or evidence that is relevant and that is procured during its investigation. It is reported as well that at any time during the process the partiers can agree upon any resolution of the matter to include any agreement on taking of disciplinary actions. If there is not resolution agreed upon before the investigation is conduced the Ethics Committee will make a determination if:
(1) there should be a dismissal of the complaint;
(2) the complaint warrants a summary finding; or (3) the complaint should proceed to a formal hearing. (ISACA, 2014, p. 1)
If the respondent is deemed to have violated the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics, then disciplinary action may include;
(2) prohibition of participation in specified ISACA activities;
(3) suspension or revocation of membership; and/or
(4) Revocation of ISACA certifications held. (ISACA, 2014, p. 1)
Appeals on the part of the Respondent should be submitted to the Ethics Appeal Committee. (ISACA, 2014, p. 1)
III. Canada's Association of IT Professionals
The Code of Ethics for IT Professionals stated by Canada's Association of IT Professionals includes the following stated principles and imperatives:
(1) IT Professionals are required to protect the public interest and maintain integrity;
(2) Demonstrate competence and quality of service;
(3) Maintain confidential information and privacy;
(4) avoid conflict of interest; and (5) uphold responsibility to the IT professional. (Canada's Association of IT Professionals, 2014, p. 1)
IV. Association for Computing Professionals (ACM)
The Association for Computing Professionals (ACM) reports having developed and adopted ethical codes of conduct for information technology professionals and users for the purpose of making provision of guidance concerning ethical behavior. Stated as AMC's 'General Moral Imperative 1.5 is "Honor property rights including copyrights and patents" presupposes situations where matters of public security require custody of personal property in order to acquire information of unlawful activity." ( p. 1) The Association for Computing Machinery states that each member is requires to be committed to ethical professional conduct and that the ACM code is comprised by 24 imperatives "formulated as statements of personal responsibility." ( )
V. ACM General Moral Imperatives
The General Moral Imperatives are reported to include the following stated general moral imperatives:
(1) Contribute to society and human well-being;
(2) Avoid harm to others;
(3) Be honest and trustworthy;
(4) Be fair and take action not to discriminate;
(5) Honor property rights including copyrights and patent.
(6) Give proper credit for intellectual property.
(7) Respect the privacy of others.
VI. ACM Specific professional responsibilities
ACM states that more specific professional responsibilities include those stated as follows:
( 1) Strive to achieve the highest quality, effectiveness and dignity in both the process and products of professional work.
( 2) Acquire and maintain professional competence.
( 3) Know and respect existing laws pertaining to professional work.
( 4) Accept and provide appropriate professional review.
( 5) Give comprehensive and thorough evaluations of computer systems and their impacts, including analysis of possible risks.
( 6) Honor contracts, agreements, and assigned responsibilities.
( 7) Improve public understanding of computing and its consequences.
VII. ACM Organizational Leadership Imperatives
ACM Organizational leadership imperatives are reported to include the following stated imperatives:
( 1) Articulate social responsibilities of members of an organizational unit and encourage full acceptance of those responsibilities.
( 2) Acknowledge and support proper and authorized uses of an organization's computing and communication resources.
( 3) Ensure that users and those who will be affected by a system have their needs clearly articulated during the assessment and design of requirements; later the system must be validated to meet requirements.
( 4) Articulate and support policies that protect the dignity of users and others affected by a computing system.
( 5) Create opportunities for members of the organization to learn the principles and limitations of computer systems.
( 6) Imperatives stated by ACM for compliance with the code include the following stated imperatives:
( 7) Uphold and promote the principles of this Code.
( 8) Treat violations of this code as inconsistent with membership in the ACM.
VIII. Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) Code of Ethics
The Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) Code of Ethics is reported to include that professional activities include:
(1) A high standard of both knowledge and skill;
(2) A confidential relationship with those served;
(3) Public Reliance upon the standards of conduct…