The Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics


Ethics, defined according to the oxford dictionary as “moral principles that control or influence a person's behaviour” are actually our moral compass to keep us from trouble. Ethics could range from personal – where a person set a standard for himself, to business – where rules are followed to enhance productivity, to religion – just as the Ten Commandments in the Bible. The world of computer also has its own rules, known as the ten commandments of computer ethics.

These ten commandments of computer ethics is built on the belief that whatever your mind creates is yours alone, and can only be used by another person if you permit it. The computer ethics institute is actually responsible for the creation of these rules in 1992. The purpose of these commandments is to bring to the awareness of computer users the necessary ethics they need to observe in the use of computer. These commandments are made for all computers users from professionals to common users, from companies to private use. 


1. You must ensure that under no circumstance is anyone harmed by your own use of computer, the safety of other must be protected.

2. You must ensure that the privacy of another user is maintained in your use of computer.

3. The record and information of another user must not be tampered in your use of computer.

4. On no account must you take any information that is not yours without the consent of the owner.
5. You must avoid using the computer to spread any information you know is not true.

6. You must ensure that all the software you use are paid for and not pirated.

7. You must ensure that you get the permission of the owner of computer resources before using them.

8. Never claim to be yours the work of another.

9 Do have adequate knowledge of the social influence your software can generate before you go ahead to develop it.

10. Make sure you don't disrespect others through your use of computer.

These ten commandments as regards the use of computer is comprehensive and left nothing untouched as far the use or misuse of computer is concerned. Some countries have gone as far as build some of these commandments into their laws and anyone found violate it will face the consequence.


However, while it is true that these commandants have a wide acceptability among the users of computer, it is equally true that some school of thoughts especially in the academia are critical of these commandments; arguing that the commandments are simplistic and too restrictive. As expected, hackers are also critical of these commandments.

There may however be cases in which the third-party user of a software – which could be used for free - have no knowledge whether the software is pirated or not. In such cases, a commonsensical approach is needed to ensure that trouble is totally avoided while one uses the computer.