The question was: “What responsibility do computing professionals have to society at large and to other members of their profession? Do they have any responsibilities or are their working lives solely measured in terms of their adherence to company policy and goals? How does this translate into the broader area of business ethics?“Maybe I seem profane in many’s eyes, but I do think, that computing professionals don’t have any special responsibilities. We’re not special, although many of us like to think so. In my oppinion all our responsibilities are determined by our actual role.  This profession nowadays is not a single one. When I started to work, all IT experts had to be able to write programs, install software, in most cases train people. Nowadays you cannot be trainer, engineer, developer, help-desk professional in the same time. Even those categories are split into numerous other categories. In my oppinion, our work is glued to work of others, our roles have their pair amongst the old, existing roles. Let’s take some examples: IT trainer - teacher, software developer - engineer, user support - mechanic, etc. Of course I don’t say, that every role existed in the past. I believe, that the responsibility’s roots are the same now and were the same in the past.

We are responsible fo our acts as we are human. Computer professionals’ responsibility is for example to defend the children from the dangers on the internet. But all humans are responsible to defend the children from dangers in the world.  Stefan C. Dombrowski & Karen L. Gischlar (n.d) for example suggest a kind of parent-children “contract” in order to make sure both the parents and the children have the same knowledge about the rules. A good resource of articles is the website of the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. For example the user nbrigham wrote on this website “ Strict copyright laws may protect the interests of companies selling intellectual property products, but these same laws could limit public access to information.” which shows that many times there isn’t just one good and one bad way. In my oppinion IT professionals working for a company has to follow the company’s directions and work for it’s goals, unless the company works illegally or making unethicaly products, for example virus or troyan software. But this also not different for non-it professionals. They should not take part in making of any illegal or unethical product or service.

My oppinion is that responsibility and ethics are not derived from a profession, they are derived from the humanity.

References:

Stefan C. Dombrowski & Karen L. Gischlar (n.d) Keeping Children Safe on the Internet: Guidelines for Parents [Online] Available from: http://www.nasponline.org/publications/cq/cq342internetsafety_ho.aspx (Accessed: 07. February 2010) Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (2008) Intellectual Property [Online] Available from: http://cpsr.org/issues/ip/index.html (Accessed: 07. February 2010)