Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics

I was working on our “About Us” web page when I started to think about how we could describe our ethics. It’s difficult putting them all together in an organized manner that makes sense and is easy to read.

I recalled the Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics which can be found at the Computer Ethics Institute. The Ten Commandments capture our ethics.

These commandments started way back in 1987, originally sprouting from the Internet Advisory Board’s memo on ethics. Ramon C. Barquin decided to create “a set of standards to guide and instruct people in the ethical use of computers.” These he wrote in his paper titled “In Pursuit of a ‘Ten Commandments’ for Computer Ethics”. These, of course, are modeled on the Ten Commandments of the Bible.

I’ve seen others with additional commandments but these sum it up very well. I have to ask myself, “How could they know how perfectly these would apply today?” Satisfying.

This is a picture of two stone tablets with the ten commandments carved into it

The Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics

  1. Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people.
  2. Thou shalt not interfere with other people’s computer work.
  3. Thou shalt not snoop around in other people’s computer files.
  4. Thou shalt not use a computer to steal.
  5. Thou shalt not use a computer to bear false witness.
  6. Thou shalt not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not paid (without permission).
  7. Thou shalt not use other people’s computer resources without authorization or proper compensation.
  8. Thou shalt not appropriate other people’s intellectual output.
  9. Thou shalt think about the social consequences of the program you are writing or the system you are designing.
  10. Thou shalt always use a computer in ways that ensure consideration and respect for other humans.