Ethics in Software Engineering

Ethics in Software Engineering

Pankaj Kamthan (Concordia University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-060-8.ch163
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As software becomes pervasive in our daily lives, its values from a purely human perspective are brought to light. Ethical conduct is one such human value. There are various reasons for discussing the issue of ethics within a software engineering context. By participating in a software development process, software engineers can influence the final product, namely the software itself, in different ways including those that may be contrary to public interest. In other words, they could engage in an unethical behavior, inadvertently or deliberately. This could lead to personal harm, and potentially result in loss of confidence in software and loss of trust in organizations that own them. This can adversely affect the acceptance of software as a useful product, question the credibility of software engineering as a profession, lead to legal implications, and impact the bottom line of the software industry at-large. This article is organized as follows. We first outline the background necessary for later discussion. This is followed by a proposal for a quality-based framework for addressing ethics, and software quality treatment of a software engineering code of ethics. Next, avenues and directions for future research are outlined, and finally, concluding remarks are given.

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