Code of Ethics

OVERVIEW

KS OWNER – JOSHUA BUCHELI​
KS DEPUTY – TBD
LAST UPDATED – 12.04.2021

Definition of Code of Ethics (Capitalised and Bolded = Defined Terms, just bolded = key terms):

Code of Ethics (CoE) is a publicly disclosed set of principles and rules concerning moral obligations and regards for the rights of humans and nature, which may be specified by a given profession or group. The document is drafted and kept up to date by an entity’s Ethics Committee and outlines said entity’s shared moral framework within the Relevant Legal Frameworks, providing context to instances of Ethical Choice.

It should set out the entity’s moral principles and the associated standards of responsible and professional conduct for its employees, demonstrating due consideration of relevant risks to: human rights, equalities, anti-discrimination, access to goods and services, children’s laws, and other risks associated with the entity’s business activities (and associated data processing). The code of ethics should be detailed enough to act as a reasonable guide for employees to gauge when they are moving up against an ethical boundary in their activities.

Criteria for a good CoE:

N.B. ‘Must’ statements = sufficient, ‘Should’ statements = mature

  1. Must be publicly disclosed.
  2. Must be found in the employee handbook.
  3. Must be drafted, kept up to date, and overseen by the entity’s Ethics Committee, or, if applicable, by a recognised body of professional ethics (e.g., codes/boards of medical ethics, AICPA, Bar Associations).
  4. Must set out a shared moral framework/set of moral principles
  5. Must take into account/address Relevant Legal Frameworks (show that the entity take’s relevant risks into account)
    • 1. Law as it applies to Data Subjects (specific to the jurisdiction of Data Subject)
    • 2. Consideration of Human Rights, equalities, anti-discrimination law, access to goods and services, children’s law, laws regarding AI/data processing platforms or sector
      • 2.1. Other relevant risks (personal gain, sustainability, etc.)
  1. Must be sufficiently detailed to give context to Ethical Choice (explicitly = preferred because instances must be disclosed)
  2. Must contain a framework or set of procedures providing guidance as to when/what kinds of instances of Ethical Choice are to be referred/elevated to professionals with training, experience, and expertise in “Ethical Choice” (Ethics Committee/Ethics Officer)
  3. Must be sufficiently detailed to act as a reasonable guide for employees to gauge when they are nearing an ethical boundary.
  4. Must affirm that the entity also has a Code of Data Ethics.
  5. Must outline the relation between the Code of Ethics and the Code of Data Ethics as well as their respective scope and purpose.
  6. Must affirm that the entity has an Anti-Discrimination Policy.
  7. Must affirm that the entity has a Diversity-Policy
  8. Must be internally coherent (must not contradict itself)
  9. Should contain a commitment to making employees aware of the Code of Ethics and its presence in the Employee Handbook.
  10. Should contain a commitment to making employees aware of the Code of Data Ethics and its presence in the Employee Handbook
  11. Should contain a commitment to making employees aware of the publicly disclosed Anti-Discrimination Policy.
  12. Should contain a commitment to making employees aware of the Diversity Policy and its presence in the Employee Handbook.
  13. Should contain a commitment to regular training of employees on the code, its contents, and its implementation.
  14. Should be in the goldilocks zone (defined as not so long as to become unmanageable for employees but detailed/thorough enough to act as a reasonable guide (see criteria 8))
  15. Should contain fiduciary-based commitments/considerations in addition to compliance-based (see point 5) and value-based (see point 4).
  16. Should generally cover 5 key areas: integrity, objectivity, professional competence, confidentiality, and professional behavior (or something similar)
  17. Should include a commitment to regular (no less than annual) review or reconfirmation of values and practices (including the CoE, CoDE, Anti-Discrimination Policy, and Diversity Policy)
  18. Should recognise and urge its employees to respect the philosophical principle of charity (AKA charitable interpretation) when engaging in discussion with other parties (colleagues, clients, superiors, etc.)
  19. Should contain a framework or set of procedures to guide ethics officers in determining the source of reasonably diverse inputs and multi-stakeholder feedback as well as how to judge whether or not these inputs are reasonable in and of themselves i.e. the extent to which they should be heeded or incorporated.

EXAMPLES OF GOOD AND BAD PRACTICE

MATURE: More than enough to pass the audit
SUFFICIENT: Enough to pass the audit
INSUFFICIENT (TO BE ANONYMISED PRIOR TO PUBLICATION): Not enough to pass the audit (all examples must be anonymised prior to publication)

FAQs

Capture whatever you feel are a good initial set of FAQs

‘Reasonable’ is a legal term used by ForHumanity in to refer to the standard that a reasonably prudent person would uphold in a given situation.

The Code of Ethics is a document with company-wide scope that lays out the general values of a business, providing guiding principles for ethical choices that all employees throughout a business must abide by. The Code of Data Ethics, on the other hand, provides detailed guidance on handling data and algorithms in an ethical manner, and may be longer and contain more detail regarding the individual responsibilities of different positions within an entity than the Code of Ethics.

The Code of Ethics is a document with company-wide scope that lays out the general values of a business, providing guiding principles for ethical choices that all employees throughout a business must abide by. The Code of Data Ethics, on the other hand, provides detailed guidance on handling data and algorithms in an ethical manner, and may be longer and contain more detail regarding the individual responsibilities of different positions within an entity than the Code of Ethics.

‘Fiduciary’ implies a legal or ethical relation of trust. In the context of a Code of Ethics, it is important that it lays out who employees are entrusted to serve (is it the public, the employer, clients? etc.)

The principle of charity (AKA the principle of charitable interpretation) is a principle of philosophy and rhetoric which holds that one must take an opponent’s arguments in their strongest form i.e. one should give one’s opponent the benefit of the doubt and consider their points in their strongest possible interpretation. It is based on the idea that disagreement can be productive and constructive, so long as it is conducted honestly, in good faith and with an ambition to improve mutual understanding.

LINKED KNOWLEDGE STORES AND CONTENT

This is where you list or link to other related knowledge stores e.g. Ethics Curriculum would link to Code of Ethics. It would also link to GDPR articles, AI Audit criteria, Audit Explanatory Notes, relevant laws and regulations.

TAGS FOR GDPR ARTICLES

GDPR Art. 40

TAGS OR LINKS TO AI AUDIT CRITERIA

Criteria 17: the entity shall have a code of ethics adhering to industry standards; the entity shall have a code of ethics in compliance with the Relevant Legal Frameworks. (employee handbook)

TAGS OR LINKS TO LEARNING OBJECTIVES

The learner shall know the definition of a code of ethics and understand what the contents/elements of an industry standard code of ethics contains. The learner shall understand that a publicly disclosed code of ethics is a set of principles and rules concerning moral obligations and regards for the rights of humans and nature, which may be specified by a given profession or group.

The learner shall know the definition of Ethical Choice and understand that it is directly related to the entity’s code of ethics.

The learner shall understand the definition of Ethical Choice. The learner shall be aware that the Board of Directors is aware that instances of Ethical Choice with regards to data processing should be disclosed. The Board shall endorse the creation of an ethics committee and they shall be suitably trained in Ethical Choice and be responsible for the Code of Ethics.

TAGS OR LINKS TO FH DEFINITIONS

Ethical Choice: awareness of a set of options to be made In the context of automated and intelligent systems, using a set of principles and rules concerning moral obligations and regards for the rights of humans and for nature, which may be specified by a given profession or group. The result, outcome or judgment is made using a shared moral framework. or set of moral principles based upon the entity’s Code of Ethics (DPIA Part 6)