Oregon State University

CS 391: Social and Ethical Issues in Computer Science

Oregon State University, College of Engineering

Chapter 8 ~ Dilemmas in the
Workplace: A look ahead

In this chapter, you'll explore the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Code of Ethics, how to use it, and how to blow the whistle on a company that is not complying with industry standards and laws. You'll also explore the notion that codes don't work.

Then, you'll examine dilemmas that might present themselves in your future job and devise solutions in relation to the Code of Ethics. You'll base your ideas on the knowledge you've gained throughout the course.

And, in discussion, you'll relay what you've learned from an expert ethics talk.

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Explore Topics: ACM

8.1 Introduction to the Association for Computing Machinery.

ACM Code of Ethics and logo
"Computing professionals' actions change the world. To act responsibly, they should reflect upon the wider impacts of their work, consistently supporting the public good. The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct ("the Code") expresses the conscience of the profession."
Reading List

After the initial reading, do you think the codes are useful? Would you and your collegues adhere to them? Some experts believe that many people won't adhere to them...read about some of the reasons why:

8.2 Whistleblowing

If your colleagues aren't adhering to their company and/or professional codes of ethics, what can you do to ensure privacy, security, and safety of your constituents? Telling someone in authority (whistleblowing) might be a consequence that you must partake in. The following resources provide whistleblowing services for different situations:

Reading List

Refer to writing instructions under each page of the template provided in step 7.5. Open articles in new tabs and add them to your bibliography tool.

8.3 Role play your future job.

Imagine for the next few hours that you have landed your dream job... the job you are seeking a degree for... the job that will fulfill your personal, professional, and financial goals.

Once you see that job in your mind, determine what is required get that job. You may need to research the position prerequisites.

Next, ask yourself... what computer science-related problems could arise in that job and how might you prevent or solve those problems? Do the dilemmas about what to do create extreme concern for your privacy and safety? Refer to the list of concepts, laws, and organizations, below, that could come into play in that position. (Do you remember reading about them in the previous 7 weeks? It is a comprehensive list of the content of this course.)

  • Software
    • Operating Systems and Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)
    • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
    • Crowdsourcing, cloud computing, and local Computing
    • Blockchain
    • Computer fraud, computer crime, cyber attack, and cyber-terrorism
    • White, gray, and black hat hacking
    • Data Leaks, breaches, compromised web pages, outdated software, and browser hijacking
    • Ransomware, Spyware, Spear phishing, and Whaling
    • Viruses, Trojans, Worms, and Fileless Malware
    • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
  • Hardware
    • Linear versus Circular Design
    • Mining of raw materials and precious metals
    • Radiofrequency and electromagnetic abuses
    • Safety violations and poor working conditions
    • Alien workforce
    • Automation taking low-wage jobs
    • Electronic waste
  • Advertising, Search, News
    • Fake News, 'Informational Dominance', and media bias
    • Click Bait, Engagement Bait, Click Fraud Malware
    • Endorsements and Testimonials
    • Email advertising, Spam, CAN-SPAM Act
    • Search ads and Adwords
    • Opt-in and Opt-out
    • Affiliate Marketing
    • Truth in Advertising Laws
    • Cyberpsychology
    • Third-party data mining
    • Analytics and 'behavior microtargeting'
  • Access, Equality, Infrastructure
    • Communications services such as WiFi, Internet, electricity, satellite, and/or phone services
    • Censorship
    • Net neutrality
    • Digital divide
    • Mobile justice
    • Algorithms biased against gender, race, age, class, ability, etc.
    • Excessive corporate profits and use of power
    • Equal Opportunity Employer, Affirmative Action, or Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations (ADA)
    • Fair Chance Ordinance, Veterans Preference, or E-Verify
    • Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision
    • Internship, Apprenticeship, and Unions
  • Intellectual Property, Abuse, and Privacy laws
    • Patents
    • Trademarks
    • Copyrights
    • Plagiarism
    • Educational privacy (FERPA)
    • Medical privacy (HIPAA)
    • Business privacy (ECPA)
    • Finance privacy (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act)
    • The Privacy Act of 1974, search and seizure, third-party data rights
    • PATRIOT Act
    • Computer Fraud And Abuse Act
  • The Study of Ethics and Standards
    • Act or Rule Utilitarianism, or the Utilitarian Approach
    • Kantianism
    • Virtue Ethics or the Virtue Approach
    • Social Contract theory (Contractarianism)
    • The Rights Approach
    • The Fairness or Justice Approach
    • The Common Good Approach
    • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Standards and Code of Ethics
    • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
    • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
    • International Standards Organization (ISO)
    • World Wide Web Consortium (W3)
    • EMV Company (EMVCo)
    • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
    • SANS Programs to mitigate cybersecurity problems.
    • (ISC)² Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
    • CyberOregon

8.4 Set up the Template and Reading List.

Example dilemma page, complete with role-played scenario, reference to an ACM clause and number, and three steps to prevent or solve the problem.

This assignment is a Computer Science major's 'Portfolio' project.

Use the following template link to complete this research and writing assignment.

  1. Login to your OSU Google Account.
  2. Launch this chapter's Explore Topics Template.
  3. Do not request permission to use the file. Login to your OSU Google Account.
  4. Once you have the file open:
    1. FileMake a copy.
    2. Rename the new file so it includes your "First and Last name" in place of "Template".
    3. Move the file into a folder for this course.
  5. Add the job title you seek to the top of the cover page.
  6. Add your name to the cover page.
  7. Read instructions on the cover page. When in doubt about how to write in the templates, refer back to this page for clarification.
  8. Refer to the green instructions below each page to understand what is required.
  9. Feel free to refer to previous Explore Topics and Examine Cases assignments for ideas and references. To help you make decisions, refer to Santa Clara University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics Making Decisions flyer.
  10. The last page requires a bibliography.

8.5 Edit, download, and submit the file.

  1. Ctrlc or c Copy the bibliographic entries you made during the Explore Topics reading and research. On the last page of the template, Ctrlv or v paste in the bibliographic entries. Select the list and apply the bullet or numbered list icon. Update the font size to 14 if necessary. Add more pages if necessary.
  2. Check and correct grammar and spelling using the built-in functions.
  3. From the File menu, choose Download as PDF.
  4. Check to confirm that hyperlinks work in the new PDF file. If they do not work, then in the Assignment Commenting Box, leave a note stating which platform, operating system, and browser you used to print or download the PDF file.
  5. Copy of the file to a backup folder on your hard drive.
  6. Submit the PDF file by uploading it in the Canvas Assignment screen.
  7. Confirm that your file has uploaded by looking for the document icon in the Grades area.

Extra Credit: Examine a Case Discussion: Expert Talks

This assignment is extra credit.

8.5 Participate in the Group Discussion.

To prepare for this discussion, you may choose from the following options:

  • Attend an expert talk related to ethics in any engineering-related field.
  • Interview someone in your field about computer-related ethical issues they've had to contend with in their line of work.
  • View an online presentation, panel, or interview that discusses ethics in computing.
Viewing Lists

Some expert talks and interviews are quite long, so ensure you've planned ahead for the viewing as well as writing time needed to complete the work on schedule.

  1. Four days before the Due date, start writing in a word processing document to synthesize what you learned from the expert talk:
    • In paragraph 1, provide the speaker's name and hyperlink the title of their presentation.
    • In paragraph 2, describe each major concept from of the presentation.
    • In paragraph 3, relate those concepts to work you've done before or imagine how it might help you in your future work. Or, focus on concepts that were new to you. Reference/cite other sources as needed to help you understand them.
    • Check the word count (150+ per paragraph, not counting the author names or article titles).
    • Check the hyperlinks (they must be in article titles, law names, or theory/approach names).
    • Spellcheck, fix grammar, then Ctrlc or c to copy the paragraphs.
    • Click the Chapter 8 Examine a Case Discussion in Canvas.
    • Ctrlv or v to paste the copied text into a Reply thread (click the Reply field to activate the editing box).
    • Check the word count (150+ not counting the author names or article titles).
    • Save your thread.
  2. Before the Due date, reply to at least one person in your group.
    • In paragraph 1, describe and cite an article that supports or refutes the expert's ideas.
    • Save your thread.

Need Help?

Share a Google Slides file with the Instructor.

If you have questions about using the template, the research prompts, or writing conventions, you can share your file with the instructor.

  1. With your file, open, click the Sharing button at the top right of the screen.
  2. Change the settings so that only people at OSU can view the file.
  3. Copy the resulting URL/address.
    Right-click to change sharing settings.
    Change settings so that only OSU people can view. Copy the link.
  4. Paste the resulting URL into a Canvas Inbox message to the instructor (or if you have already submitted your file, provide it in the Assignment Commenting box).

Work offline without Wi-fi

If you will be out of wi-fi range, feel free to work on your files offline.

  1. Click the blue Docs icon (or orange Slides or green Sheets icon).
  2. Select the file(s) to use offline.
  3. Select the 3-dot More menu
  4. Toggle on the Available Until button.
  5. Look at the list of files to view the new Available Offline icon next to the file name.

Writing Tutors

Consult one or more of these resource for a review of the structure of your writing, grammar, and spelling. Provide the tutor with a link to the instructions as well as your project online.

NetTutor's Paper Center
Access online tutoring via Canvas. 48-hour turnaround.
OSU Online Writing Suite
Electronic feedback from home, asynchronous email consultation, or synchronous Skype consultation.
OSU Undergrad Research & Writing Studio
Drop in writing help with no wait times. Standard hours are:
Monday to Thursday → 10:00am to 10:00pm
Friday → 10:00am to 5:00pm, and
Sunday → 2:00pm to 7:00pm.
OSU Academic Integrity Tutorials
Citing sources and using TurnItIn.

Use the Service Desk if you have computer, ONID, or Canvas problems.

But first:

  1. Logout.
  2. Close the browser and relaunch it.
  3. Login to OSU.
  4. Still have problems? Contact Service Desk.

Scoring Criteria

If you have questions about how to use any of the required technologies for this lesson or what these criteria mean, please reread the relevant lessons, then ask the Instructor via the Canvas Inbox.

Check Canvas Home, Assignments, and Calendar for the most current Due date and time. The Available Until date and time constitutes a grace period, which can be used in an emergency or if you are ill.

By the end of chapter 8, these items must be included in the assignments to earn full points:

Explore Topics

  1. Requirements page includes enough detail and is properly cited.
  2. Software Dilemma page includes enough detail about the 3 actions and/or solutions and cites the related ACM code.
  3. Hardware Dilemma page includes enough detail about the 3 actions and/or solutions and cites the related ACM code.
  4. Advertising, Search, or News Dilemma page includes enough detail about the 3 actions and/or solutions and cites the related ACM code.
  5. Access, Equity, or Infrastructure Dilemma page includes enough detail about the 3 actions and/or solutions and cites the related ACM code.
  6. Intellectual property, abuse, and privacy laws page includes enough detail about the 3 actions and/or solutions and cites the related ACM code.
  7. Whistleblowing page includes enough detail and is properly cited.
  8. Ethical Theory/Approach page includes enough detail and is properly cited.
  9. Bibliography page includes a list of references (2 or more expected).
  10. Writing is free of plagiarism.
  11. Writing is free of grammar and spelling errors.

Extra Credit: Examine a Case Discussion

  1. Discussion thread names the speaker and hyperlinks the name of the presentation.
  2. Discussion thread describes the major concepts of the presentation.
  3. Discussion thread relates those concepts to work you've done before or might do in the future. Sources are cited.
  4. Discussion includes a reply to another student's thread which describes and cites an article that supports or refutes the expert's ideas.