This Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct is directed to all members of The Hong Kong Computer Society. It consists, essentially, of a series of statements, which prescribe minimum standards of Code of Ethics, to be observed by all members.

All members have responsibilities: to clients, to users and to the society at large. Those members who are employees also have responsibilities to their employers and employers’ customers and, often, to a Trade Union. In the event of apparent clash in responsibilities, obligations or prescribed practice, the Society’s Director of Professional Development should be consulted at the earliest opportunity.

As an aid to understanding, these rules have been grouped into the four principal areas, which all members should endeavour to discharge in pursuing their professional lives.
A. Professional Competence and Integrity
B. Social Implications
C. Organisation and Leadership
D. Duty to the Profession

A. Professional Competence and Integrity

As a Member of HKCS, I will…

  1. Be honest and trustworthy, and will not knowingly engage in or associate with dishonest or fraudulent practices.

  2. Continue to upgrade my professional knowledge and skills, and shall maintain awareness of technological developments, procedures and standards, which are relevant to my field.

  3. Only offer to do work or provide a service, which is within my professional competence and shall not claim any level of competence that I do not possess; any professional opinion which I am asked to give shall be objective and reliable.

  4. Qualify professional opinions, which I know are based on limited knowledge or experience. I will not misrepresent my skills or knowledge nor knowingly mislead a client or potential client as to the suitability of a product or service.

  5. Not require, or attempt to influence, any person to take any action, which would involve a breach of this Code.


B. Social Implications

As a Member of HKCS, I will…

  1. Increase my awareness of issues affecting the IT profession and its relationship with the community.

  2. Ensure that within my chosen fields, I have knowledge and understanding of relevant legislation, regulations and standards and that I comply with such requirements.

  3. Honour property rights (including copyrights and patents) and give proper credit for work done by others where credit is due.

  4. Honour confidentiality and respect the privacy of others.

  5. Be fair and take action not to discriminate.

  6. Contribute to society and human well-being and avoid harm to others.

  7. Protect and promote the health and safety of those affected by my work and have regard to the protection of the environment.

  8. Have regard for human rights and avoid any actions that adversely affect such rights.

  9. Endeavour to understand and give due regard to the perceptions of those affected by my work, whether or not I agree with those perceptions.

C. Organisation and Leadership

As a Member of HKCS, I will…

  1. Keep myself and subordinates informed of such new technologies, practices, legal requirements and standards as are relevant to my duties, and seek to conform to recognised good practices including quality standards, which are in my judgment relevant, and encourage my subordinates to do likewise.

  2. Encourage my colleagues, employees and students to continue their own professional development, and ensure that subordinates are trained in order to be effective in their duties and to qualify for increased responsibilities.

  3. Create opportunities for members of the organisation to learn the principles and limitations of IT and systems.

  4. Accept professional responsibility for my work and for the work of my subordinates and associates under my direction, and shall not terminate any assignment except for good reason and on reasonable notice.

  5. Avoid any situation that may give rise to a conflict of interest between myself and my client, I will make full and immediate disclosure to the client if any conflict should occur.

  6. Articulate social responsibilities of members of an organisational unit and encourage full acceptance of those responsibilities.

  7. Manage personnel and resources to design and build information systems that enhance the quality of working life.

  8. Endeavour to provide products and services, which match the operational and financial needs of my clients and employers.

  9. Go beyond my brief, if necessary, in order to act professionally.

  10. Acknowledge and support proper and authorised uses of an organisation’s IT resources.

  11. 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.

  12. Articulate and support policies that protect the dignity of users and others affected by IT and systems.

  13. Carry out work with due care and diligence in accordance with the requirements of the employer or client and will, if my professional judgment is overruled, indicate the likely consequences.

  14. Endeavour to complete work undertaken on time and to budget and I will advise my employer or client as soon as practicable if any overrun is foreseen.

  15. Not offer or provide, or receive in return, inducement for the introduction of business from a client unless there is full prior disclosure of the facts to the client.

  16. Respect and protect my clients’ and employers’ proprietary interests. I will not disclose or authorise to be disclosed, or use for personal gain or to benefit a third party, confidential information acquired in the course of professional practice, except with prior written permission of the employer or client, or at the direction of a court of law.

  17. Seek to avoid being put in a position where I may become privy to or party to activities or information concerning activities which would conflict with my responsibilities.

  18. Not misrepresent or withhold information on the capabilities of products, systems or services with which I am concerned or take advantage of the lack of knowledge or inexperience of others.

  19. Not (except where specifically so instructed) handle client’s monies or place contracts or orders in connection with work on which I am engaged, when acting as an independent consultant.

  20. Not purport to exercise independent judgment on behalf of a client on any product or service in which I knowingly have any interest, financial or otherwise.

D. Duty to Profession

As a Member of HKCS, I will…

  1. Uphold the reputation of the profession and I will seek to improve professional development through participation in their development, use and enforcement, and shall avoid any action that will adversely affect the good standing of the profession.

  2. Seek to advance public knowledge and understanding of computing and information systems and technology and to counter false or misleading statements that are detrimental to the profession.

  3. Encourage and support fellow members in their professional development, and where possible, provide opportunities for the professional development of new entrants to the profession.

  4. Act with integrity towards members of other professions with whom I am concerned in a professional capacity and will avoid engaging in any activity, which is incompatible with professional status.

  5. Not make any public statements in my professional capacity unless I am properly qualified and, where appropriate, authorised to do so, and will have due regard to the likely consequences of any statement on others.

  6. Respect, and seek when necessary, the professional opinions of colleagues in their areas of competence.

  7. Not attempt to enhance my own reputation at the expense of another’s reputation.

  8. Co-operate in advancing information processing by communication with other professionals, students and the public, and by contributing to the efforts of professional and scientific societies as well as universities, colleges or schools.

  9. Distance myself professionally from someone whose professional membership of HKCS has been terminated because of unethical behaviour or unsatisfactory conduct.

  10. Take appropriate action if I discover a member or a potential member of HKCS engaging in unethical behaviour.

  11. Seek advice from the Society’s Director of Professional Development when faced with an ethical dilemma that I cannot resolve by myself.

  12. Acknowledge my responsibility to the IT profession and in return will protect and promote professionalism in IT. Accept and provide an appropriate review of professional work of others, including review of applications for professional membership.

  13. Do what I can to ensure that the corporate actions of the HKCS are in accordance with this Code.


In the preparation of this HKCS Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, the authors have made references to similar documents from the ACM, ACS, BCS, HKCS, and IEEE. Hence, due credit is acknowledged to the respective authors from these societies.