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Code Cases

Software developers face a variety of difficult decisions that call for judgment about technical and ethical issues. There are a different kinds of exercises that can be used to help sensitize practicing software developers and students to these issues.  The cases here describe a variety of such situations.  Each case below contains some background material relating to the situation followed by an analysis of the professional and ethical aspects of the situation. The Software Engineering Code of Ethics  is used to evaluate some elements of each case. If you have other interesting ways to use the Codes and would like to share them  please send your suggestions to seeri@etsu.edu.  

Teams of students at ETSU wrote these cases. The student groups have granted permission to use these cases without cost or permission provided the case is left unchanged and carries the complete copyright.


The cases:

Big Brother Spyware: Raises the issues of the tension between privacy, security, and whistle blowing in a post 11 September environment.

Computerized Patient Records: The case uses patient records to examine the developerís responsibility for information security. It evaluates a series of alternatives.

Death By Wire: The case address issues that arise from the shift of control from mechanically based systems to purely electronic/computer systems. It explores a situation where this process has been extended to heavy vehicles. It also looks at what happens when control of safety critical equipments is turned over to a computer.

Digital Wallets and Whistle Blowing: This is based on a real case involving security and includes an analysis of the decision related to when and how to whistle blow.

For Girls Only: This case looks at a real case of gender bias in the development of software.

Nano-Technology: Swallow That Chip: This case uses the vehicle of nano-technology to explore ways to address privacy and security issues that face software developers...

Patriot Missile Case: This piece examines the importance of configuration management and effective design as they relate to the Patriot Missile Disaster.

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