ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (adopted 1992)
Source | Credits |
General Moral Imperatives | Guidelines ]
Preamble. Commitment to ethical professional conduct is expected
of every member (voting members, associate members, and student
members) of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
This Code, consisting of 24 imperatives formulated as statements
of personal responsibility, identifies the elements of such a
commitment. It contains many, but not all, issues professionals
are likely to face. Section 1 outlines fundamental ethical
considerations, while Section 2 addresses additional, more
specific considerations of professional conduct. Statements in
Section 3 pertain more specifically to individuals who have a
leadership role, whether in the workplace or in a volunteer
capacity such as with organizations like ACM. Principles
involving compliance with this Code are given in Section 4.
The Code shall be supplemented by a set of Guidelines, which
provide explanation to assist members in dealing with the various
issues contained in the Code. It is expected that the Guidelines
will be changed more frequently than the Code.
The Code and its supplemented Guidelines are intended to serve as
a basis for ethical decision making in the conduct of
professional work. Secondarily, they may serve as a basis for
judging the merit of a formal complaint pertaining to violation
of professional ethical standards.
It should be noted that although computing is not mentioned in
the imperatives of section 1.0, the Code is concerned with how
these fundamental imperatives apply to one's conduct as a
computing professional. These imperatives are expressed in a
general form to emphasize that ethical principles which apply to
computer ethics are derived from more general ethical principles.
It is understood that some words and phrases in a code of ethics
are subject to varying interpretations, and that any ethical
principle may conflict with other ethical principles in specific
situations. Questions related to ethical conflicts can best be
answered by thoughtful consideration of fundamental principles,
rather than reliance on detailed regulations.
1. GENERAL MORAL IMPERATIVES. As an ACM member I will . . .
1.1 Contribute to society and human well-being.
1.2 Avoid harm to others.
1.3 Be honest and trustworthy.
1.4 Be fair and take action not to discriminate.
1.5 Honor property rights including copyrights and patents.
1.6 Give proper credit for intellectual property.
1.7 Respect the privacy of others.
1.8 Honor confidentiality.
2. MORE SPECIFIC PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES. As an ACM
computing professional I will . . .
2.1 Strive to achieve the highest quality, effectiveness and
dignity in both the process and products of professional
2.2 Acquire and maintain professional competence.
2.3 Know and respect existing laws pertaining to professional
2.4 Accept and provide appropriate professional review.
2.5 Give comprehensive and thorough evaluations of computer
systems and their impacts, including analysis of possible
2.6 Honor contracts, agreements, and assigned responsibilities.
2.7 Improve public understanding of computing and its
2.8 Access computing and communication resources only when
authorized to do so.
3. ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP IMPERATIVES. As an ACM
member and an organizational leader, I will . . . . .
3.1 Articulate social responsibilities of members of an
organizational unit and encourage full acceptance of those
3.2 Manage personnel and resources to design and build
information systems that enhance the quality of working
3.3 Acknowledge and support proper and authorized uses of an
organization's computing and communication resources.
3.4 Ensure that users and those who will be affected by a system
have their needs clearly articulated during the assessment
and design of requirements; later the system must be
validated to meet requirements.
3.5 Articulate and support policies that protect the dignity of
users and others affected by a computing system.
3.6 Create opportunities for members of the organization to
learn the principles and limitations of computer systems.
4. COMPLIANCE WITH THE CODE. As an ACM member, I will . . . .
4.1 Uphold and promote the principles of this Code.
4.2 Treat violations of this code as inconsistent with
membership in the ACM.
This Code and the supplemental Guidelines
were developed by the Task Force
for the Revision of the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct:
Ronald E. Anderson, Chair, Gerald Engel, Donald Gotterbarn, Grace C.
Hertlein, Alex Hoffman, Bruce Jawer, Deborah G. Johnson, Doris K. Lidtke,
Joyce Currie Little, Dianne Martin, Donn B. Parker, Judith A. Perrolle, and
Richard S. Rosenberg. The Task Force was organized by ACM/SIGCAS and
funding was provided by the ACM SIG Discretionary Fund. This Code and
the supplemental Guidelines were adopted by the ACM Council on October
This version was downloaded and tags added on May 28, 1997
by Judith A.
Perrolle for classroom use with permission by the Association for Computing Machinery.