Essay on The Social Responsibility of a Software Engineer

Essay on The Social Responsibility of a Software Engineer

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The Social Responsibility of a Software Engineer


Abstraction: The social responsibility is one of important responsibilities defined by ACM in its ethic codes for software engineer. Compare to other responsibilities, social responsibility is more remote and ambiguous. When a software engineer obtained the privilege to practice his/her right from the society, he/she is required to take corresponding responsibilities. But the definition of the responsibilities is not unified in computing professional community but heavily depended on the software engineer's personal life experience and the social environment around him/her. Meanwhile, the final social effect of software is not always straightforward. In many cases, that effect is not decided by software itself but decided by who use it and where it is used. In this article, we will discuss a case that some so-called "Hacktivists" who are trying to break down the "Great Fair Wall" in China. By analyze the arguments around this case and some concerns we may have about these arguments, we are trying to describe the difficulty a software engineer may have to face when he/she assume his/her social responsibility.

Introduction: What Are The Social Responsibility For A Software Engineer

In accordance with ACM code of ethics and professional conduct, software engineer has the social responsibility "to protect fundamental human rights and to respect the diversity of all cultures" and "computing professional must attempt to ensure that the products of their efforts will be used in socially responsible ways"[2]. A software engineer also "must be alert to, and make others aware of, any potential damage"[2] about his/her products. The responsibilities are thought as a contract signe...


... middle of paper ...


...pp. 12-19.

DeBorah G. Johnson, "Professional Ethics - Society-Professional", Computers Ethics Social Values, pp 568-570, Prentice Hall, Inc., 1995

IEEE-CS/ACM Joint Task Force, "Software Engineer Code of Ethics And Professional Practice, Version 5.2", Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. and the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., 1999

Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman, "Empirical Analysis of Internet Filtering in China", Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, March 20, 2003 (Last Updated)

MAGGIE FARLEY, "Dissidentd hack the holed on China's New Wall", Los Angeles Times, 1999

Richard Cullen and Pinky D W Choy, "The Internet In China", Columbia Journal of Asian Law, Vol 13 No 1, 99-134, 1999

"China ends blocking of Internet search engine Google", The Mecury News, Posted on Thu, Sep. 12, 2002

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