IFIP set to release code of ethics to guide governments, business

IFIP set to release code of ethics to guide governments, business

The International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) is preparing to launch a code of ethics to serve as an exemplar for ethical behaviour in the ICT sector.

This was announced by Moira de Roche, non-executive director of the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) and Chair of IFIP IP3, who last week led an IFIP delegation participating in the WSIS Forum 2020 High-Level Policy Session 10: Ethical Dimensions of Information and Knowledge Societies. IITPSA is the South African Country Member of IFIP and is also an accredited member of IFIP IP3.

De Roche said: “It is of great concern to us that there are so many codes of ethics out there – more than 170 at last count, and at least 70 of those dealing with AI. This causes confusion and allows individuals and organisations to choose the code that suits them best.”

IFIP promotes professionalism in ICT, and one of its strategic goals is to encourage member societies and others in the IT industry at large to have a code of ethics, she said.

“To support our role, we have set up an IFIP code of ethics as an exemplar. The IFIP code will be published digitally in September this year following final approval by IFIPs General Assembly, and in book format in 2021. The code of ethics gives voice to values – there should be one or two exemplars that set the standard and conform to a consultative process:  substantial codes of ethics that go beyond saying ‘be good’.”

De Roche said IFIP would encourage the use of the IFIP code of ethics as a starting point, which members could amend or add to as it suited local conditions and to promote professionalism among their members and the broader ICT community.

De Roche said IFIP did not believe it was easy to regulate professional and ethical behaviour, but that governments could set the examples.

“We encourage governments to procure digital products and services from certified ICT professionals. IFIP can guide governments on this, and assist with adapting the IFIP code of ethics as a guiding tool and ensuring that procurement processes for digital products and services are from trustworthy organisations,” she said.

Noting that the King IV principles of governance followed by many organisations around the world propose that organisations have an ethics committee that considers all operations and decisions through an ethical lens, De Roche said all governments should consider this in their regulations, and should certainly have such a committee in their own organisations.

She added that IFIP also contends that there is an ethical imperative to leave nobody behind. “We have a project – digital skills for everyone everywhere. This project will work with other bodies, including UN structures and global non-profit organisations. The outcome will be a digital framework for digital skills for end users, consumers and IT professionals that can be used to roll out digital skills. The framework will align with Sustainable Development Goals and key principles, and will take guidance from the UN Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. We welcome anyone who would like to partner with us on this project,” she said.

The Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) is the South African Country Member of IFIP,and is also an accredited member of IFIP IP3. Membership of these bodies gives IITPSA members access to a global community of ICT Scientists and Practitioners and ensures that South Africa is well represented on the World ICT stage.