Coffee Space


Listen:

How Social Issues Are Important to an IT Professional

In this blog I will be discussing the social issues that present themselves in the arena of IT, guided towards our responsibilities as IT professionals as stated by the BCS Code of Conduct.

Effects on Third Parties & Rights of Third Parties

All people in the IT industry have a responsibility to keep the public's interest at heart, uphold professional competence and integrity, a duty to the relevant authority and the profession (BCS 2011). Whilst all of these we have a professional interest in upholding, some, such as the duty to authority and professional competence is also upheld legally.

Discrimination in IT

Recently there has been cases where people handing CV's for companies have been discriminating against foreign appliers, whether consciously or unconsciously, when the applier changed their name to a Western sounded name they got more offers, as reported in Huffington Post (2009) and The New York Times (2015).

Discrimination is not accepted in the IT industry, as perfectly said by BCS (2011): "conduct your professional activities without discrimination on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, nationality, colour, race, ethnic origin, religion, age or disability, or of any other condition or requirement".

Equal Access and Inclusion

This is different from discrimination, as you don't necessarily have to be discriminating against a particular group of people or with intent. An example of this would be the much worse internet access in rural areas, where speeds are not equal to those in urban settings as is tackled in Best and Maclay (2002). By not giving good internet speed, with a lot of social interactions now happening online, it could be said that people are being excluded.

Reflection

In general you have to use your own common sense and morality, as was seen in the recent MP scandal (The Daily Telegraph 2009), people simply have to do their own thinking when deciding how to act professionally. In the recent VW scandal, some software engineers had to program the code to fool the environmental measuring equipment (Wall Street Journal 2015), at which point did any of them think it was morally acceptable or made sense?

References

Huffington Post. (2015), He Dropped One Letter In His Name... [Online] Available from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/02/jose-joe-job-discrimination_n_5753880.html. [Accessed: 26 October 2015].

The New York Times. (2009), 'Whitening' the Resume. [Online] Available from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/weekinreview/06Luo.html. [Accessed: 26 October 2015].

BCS. (2011), Code of Conduct for BCS Members. [Online] Available from: http://www.bcs.org/upload/pdf/conduct.pdf. [Accessed: 26 October 2015].

Best, M.L. and Maclay, C.M. (2002), Community Internet Access in Rural Areas. Chapter 8. MIT.

The Daily Telegraph. (2009), Politicians who have quit since the expenses scandal. [Online] Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5456538/Politicians-who-have-quit-since-the-expenses-scandal.html. [Accessed: 27 October 2015]

Wall Street Journal. (2015), Volkswagen Suspends More Employees. [Online] Available from: http://www.wsj.com/articles/volkswagen-widens-suspensions-in-emissions-scandal-1445791586. [Accessed: 27 October 2015]