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Ethics in Technology

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Stoic Joker:
If your boss came to you and said the company has decided to move in a direction that compromises user privacy, safety, etc- and you need to start designing and coding this now, what would you do?-wraith808 (September 22, 2015, 08:20 AM)
--- End quote ---

Depending on my mood at the time, and how it was presented. My reaction would be one or more of the below.
A. Tell him to go f*** himself.
B. Proceed with the project, but quietly code (and leak) a ton of holes in it the size of Montana.
C. Walk out on the spot.

I walked on a job in aircraft years ago, because I didn't like what they were planning to do with product quality. I'd been there 10 years, and had moved (across country) twice for the job.

They said we're doing X.
I said not with my ass you ain't
2 weeks later they realized I wasn't bluffing.

anandcoral:
It could be you on the line at some point.  And the protections that cover the companies with their teams of lawyers will most likely not apply to you- the scapegoat.
-wraith808 (September 22, 2015, 08:20 AM)
--- End quote ---
Yes, I have done it.

We make mostly accounting and inventory software. At times I have questioned about the purpose of a particular feature, which I felt was not correct. I got the standard reply, "How does it matter to you or us ? The client want software for this feature. You code it, I sell it. We get our pays. Done."

Many of my software are used to adjust accounting records as per need. If I say we do not make it. Whole lot of programmers and companies are ready to do it. Looking back, when there was no computers and I worked as an accountant, I have done this manually under my then boss. It is just that now I code it, for others to do the same more easily.

Sad, but we are bound to earn for our family and ourselves.

Regards,

Anand

wraith808:
If your boss came to you and said the company has decided to move in a direction that compromises user privacy, safety, etc- and you need to start designing and coding this now, what would you do?-wraith808 (September 22, 2015, 08:20 AM)
--- End quote ---

Depending on my mood at the time, and how it was presented. My reaction would be one or more of the below.
A. Tell him to go f*** himself.
B. Proceed with the project, but quietly code (and leak) a ton of holes in it the size of Montana.
C. Walk out on the spot.

I walked on a job in aircraft years ago, because I didn't like what they were planning to do with product quality. I'd been there 10 years, and had moved (across country) twice for the job.

They said we're doing X.
I said not with my ass you ain't
2 weeks later they realized I wasn't bluffing.
-Stoic Joker (September 22, 2015, 11:19 AM)
--- End quote ---


I wish I could be sure I'd do that.  But I also know that they did something totally stupid (they didn't want to take the time when I wrote something to make it re-usable, then it was C&P twice before I took it in my hands to rewrite it myself.  I did get a big bonus for taking that initiative, so it wasn't a selfless thing).  At the time it was happening, I was raging, so much that they had to go up the chain to the VP to get me to calm down.  The usual platitudes - we need it now, but don't have the time nor resources, especially because we have you on a different project.  The point is- those platitudes kept me from walking.

I hope I could be as brave as you, but I totally understand Anand's point in the post above.

Google isn't Evil, and neither is Microsoft.  And it's not the policies coding our future away.  It's people with livelihoods.  But by not asking the hard questions and pondering in advance over what you would do, or how much do you really care about these issues, we become part of the problem, and get paid to do it.  How soon do we become exactly what we don't like because of pragmatism and practicality?

anandcoral:
Highlights what I was trying to say for Ethic and Profit Making. Boss is always...

http://www.commitstrip.com/en/2015/09/22/software-worth-billions/

Regards,

Anand

wraith808:
Highlights what I was trying to say for Ethic and Profit Making. Boss is always...

http://www.commitstrip.com/en/2015/09/22/software-worth-billions/

Regards,

Anand

-anandcoral (September 23, 2015, 05:16 AM)
--- End quote ---

But that's still just the boss.  We can't blame him if we didn't have the stomach to do something different.  HE didn't code it, WE did.

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