As we all know, ethics are an important part of cyber security. In countless organizations IT personnel are entrusted with the ability to access sensitive and personal data. How they handle this responsibility has much to do with their ethical standards, which is why organizations carefully select people with high standards to protect data.
We learn our ethics from an early age—what is right and what is wrong. As we grow up, we are influenced by the actions of those around us. Hopefully we are surrounded by ethical people to act as role models for us in our lives. Ethics come from antiquity where it was felt that one should look to the common good in making decisions and at the least do no harm when making those decisions.
The Computer Ethics Institute here in Washington, DC. has developed a list of ethical behaviors to live by that may become a starting point for discussion when asking ethical questions. Several of these behaviors which are paraphrased below, may be useful to start a conversation in your home or workplace about computer ethics in our society.
- When using your computer, don’t harm others…..be respectful of all.
- Stay out of and don’t steal other people’s work, files, software, etc.
- Don’t use other people’s work without citing or paying for it.
- Think first of the social consequences of what you are doing.
By talking through what these ethical behaviors mean on a day-to-day basis in real life, we learn that we make ethical decisions every day….are they the right ones for ourselves, our organizations, and society? A foundation based on strong ethical behavior is the best way to make cyber security a part of everyone’s responsibility.
Thomson, A. (2014). Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics.
Computer Ethics Institute: The Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics were first presented In Dr. Ramon C. Barquin’s paper, “In Pursuit of a ‘Ten Commandments’ for Computer Ethics.”