Computing Cases Header, Picture of a Keyboard with the text "" printed over it


Teaching Tools

Teaching with Cases

Social Impact Analysis

Computer Ethics Curriculum

Curricula Index

Case Materials



Hughes Aircraft

Ethics in Computing Links

Contact Us

Learning Objectives. (Hughes Obligatory)

Comments on Developmental Goals

Make students aware of ethical issues. In a very short version, this case can make student in an introductory CS class aware of the issues associated with having specialized knowledge and the professional obligations that come from that.

Give students practice in evaluation and decision making. If students write a paper or spend significant class time using the De George criteria, they will have acquired practice in evaluating a decision.

Lead students to actual responsible action. This exercise does not really accomplish this goal. However, you might pose a problem of software piracy or cheating for them that is set in their own environment and that fits the De George criteria (e.g. a student who is employed as a programmer on a safety critical system-like a system for the campus police- and who is caught cheating). Asking students what they would do in this situation will lead toward considering responsible action.

ImpactCS Elements and Skills

ES1.2:Why be ethical?

ES2.1 Ethical claims can and should be discussed rationally.

ES2.2 Ethical choices cannot be avoided.

ES2.3 Some easy ethical approaches are questionable:

ES3.2 Identifying stakeholders in concrete situations.

ES3.2 Identifying ethical issues in concrete situations.

ES3.5 Identifying and evaluating possible courses of action.

ES4.2 Power relations are central in all social interaction.


ImpactCS grid


Ethical Issues

Quality of Life

Use of Power

Risk and Reliability

Property Rights


Equity and Access

Honesty and Deception

Levels of Social Analysis










CC 2002 Social, Ethical, and Professional Issues

SP 4 Professional and ethical responsibilities

  • Community values and the laws by which we live
  • The nature of professionalism
  • The role of the professional in public policy
  • Maintaining awareness of consequences
  • Ethical dissent and whistle-blowing
  • Codes of ethics, conduct, and practice (IEEE, ACM, SE, AITP, and so forth)
  • Dealing with harassment and discrimination