IEEE Ethics History Repository (IEHR), part 2
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2020, OCTOBER 2020 THEN REVISED JANUARY 2021
This update highlights IEEE’S historical practice that for over the past 22 years its EMCC has denied providing ethics advice and ethical support to its members. If it was legal doing so, then what changes are needed to restore both services, as they were provided during the MCC’S first 20 years, as was demonstrated in the Virginia Edgerton case in 1978 and the Salvador Castro case in the mid '90's? Further, what changes or improvements can be considered for improving the services of the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, EMCC, which was created for its members? These will be explored to find both their historical record and opportunities to make improvements into the future.
The first material to be presented are a Long Range Plan discussion, then a collection of policy items comprising the top-down collection of statements which collectively govern how IEEE administers its Member Discipline, Ethics Advice and Ethical Support services to the members. It is from one or more of these materials where IEEE gets its authority in these matters.
For IEHR Part 1, visit the IEEE Ethics History Repository (IEHR) page spanning from the 1880's til the mid 1990's
First-Hand: What I Learned Updating Part 2 of the IEEE ETHICS HISTORY REPOSITORY, IEHR. This contains the Editorial Audios moved from this Part 2, to a more appropriate place, its own First-Hand web page.
A PROPOSED IEEE ETHICS LONG RANGE PLAN INITIATIVE WORKING DRAFT
Walter L. Elden, P.E. (Ret), IEHR Editor
IEEE and SSIT Life Senior Member
January 4, 2021
Before Looking Forward to Develop an IEEE Ethics Long Range Plan, We Must First Understand Where IEEE’s Ethics Came From; How, Why and Where it Needs to Go, From Here Now
A. 1884 to 1912
A group of Electrical Engineer practicing professionals in 1884 banded together and formed the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, the AIEE, one of the two forerunner founding societies of IEEE, which, later in 1963 combined with the IRE and created the IEEE. They wanted to have a professional society established to be able to welcome international engineers coming to New York for a convention. The main technologies then were electrical power generation and distribution plus wire and wireless telegraphy.
B. 1912 AND BEYOND
After the AIEE became established, in 1912 the first Code of Ethics for any engineering society was created and adopted by the Founding Engineer Professionals up to that time. Their Member category were for practicing member Professionals, the only ones permitted to serve on the AIEE Board of Directors at that time.
Then, Business Members wanted to be able to serve on the AIEE Board but did not have the level of membership which permitted that. A suit was initiated to resolve that and a New York Supreme Court ruled that Business Members were to be permitted to serve on the Board. From then their majority directed AIEE’s activities and practices to include industry standards and supported laws favoring Business (see Edwin Layton’s book, “The Revolt of the Engineers”) including exempting engineers in industry from being required to hold a Professional Engineers license to practice. That seemed to be practiced that way from then til now. For concurrence about the business interests members who took control of the AIEE, and its over influence carrying through to modern 2000’s IEEE, read Joe Herkert’s article about IEEE’s professional and ethical development history at this linkː
A second society, the IRE, was established in 1912, focused primarily upon Technical Activities in radio electronics, but never adopted a Code of Ethics of its own.
In 1950 the AIEE Code of Ethics was revised to incorporate some new Canons of the NSPE. In spite of this, both the AIEE and IRE continued to focus just on Technical Activities.
C. 1963, THE IEEE CAME INTO EXISTENCE
Through a vote of both Societies, the merger of AIEE and IRE created the IEEE in 1963., and for its first 10 years, continued to focus on just Technical Activities, led by Business Members interests, primarily.
D. 1972-73 AMENDING OF THE IEEE CONSTITUTION ADDED PROFESSIONAL AND ETHICAL ACTIVITIES
For the first time, in 1972 the IEEE Constitution was amended and added Professional and Ethical activities to IEEE’s prior all Technical Activities by a YES vote of its members, of over 83%. Then, in 1974 IEEE revised its Code of Ethics to modernize it more.
E. 1972-1974 THE FIRST PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE AND A PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES CONFERENCE SESSION WERE ESTABLISHED
The first Professional Activities Committee in IEEE was approved by the Orlando Section in 1972 after Professional Activities were added by IEEE and in 1974 held the first Professional Activities papers session at SOUTHEASTCON in Orlando, as a result. Approximately 10 papers were presented; a first. These initiatives were initiated and led by Walter Elden.
F. 1975 IEEE ENTERED AN AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF IN THE BART CASE
In 1975, IEEE established a milestone by entering an Amicus Curiae brief in support of 3 IEEE engineers’ stance in the BART case; a first of its kind for the IEEE in providing Ethical Support. This action was initiated by a unanimous resolution passed by the forerunner to today’s SSIT, then it was just the Committee on Social Implications of Technology. Dr Stephen Unger led that CSIT effort. Later, the succeeding SSIT, but not the to be created, Member Conduct Committee, gave each of the BART engineers their first of, by now, 14 ethical support BARUS awards for “Outstanding Service in the Public Interest”.
G. 1978 IEEE AND USAB JOINTLY CREATED THE INITIAL MEMBER CONDUCT COMMITTEE, THE MCC
Again, through efforts of the CSIT, it led to IEEE establishing the first Member Conduct Committee, or MCC, to 1. Discipline members, 2. provide Ethics Advice and 3. To provide Ethical Support, in February of 1978. This took the combined efforts of IEEE’s Board of Directors and USAB, the new United States Activities Board.
This came about with the BOARD only wanting IEEE to discipline members for unethical conduct while USAB not only supported that but additionally held out to add Ethics Advice and Ethical Support to members when their employment was in jeopardy for upholding IEEE ‘s Code of Ethics. It seemed the long time held view of Business Interest IEEE members still remained in effect among Board members. Walter Elden, Steve Unger and Jim Fairman were active in helping this get accomplished. In the end, discipline, advice and support where each approved and practiced from 1978 til advice and support were terminated, and their supporting advocates, in 1998. This remains in effort without any open justification provided by the Board to this day.
H. 1978 to 1998 DISCIPLINING, ADVISING AND ETHICALLY SUPPORTING MEMBERS WERE OFFICIAL POLICIES OF IEEE
Just as the MCC came into existence, a request for Ethical Support came to IEEE from Virginia Edgerton by way of Walter Elden, who referred her to Steve Unger of CSIT. While working on a New York City project to improve their police Dispatch system Edgerton had uncovered a defect which, if implemented, would have degraded New York City’s 911 system. Having brought this to her Supervisor’s attention and being rejected, she went above him and then was fired. She then asked IEEE for Ethical Support.
CSIT investigated this and agreed to support her. It did this by writing and publishing its report of Ethical Support and further forwarding its case history to the MEMBER CONDUCT COMMITTEE which later too wrote a report of Ethical Support but did not publish it.
20 years later there was another Ethical Support case, this one from Salvador Castro, a medical engineer who found an infant life-threatening defect in a breathing apparatus. He too was fired for trying to get that defect corrected and contacted IEEE Ethics Committee’s then new, but successful, Ethics HOTLINE for Ethical Support. The Ethics Committee validated his claims and forwarded the matter to the MCC. After conducting its own investigation, the MCC agreed and issued a statement that it would enter the case when it got to be a court matter. No MCC report was issued but the Online Ethics Center issued its own in support of Castro.
In addition to Steve Unger, Walter Elden, EDITOR of the IEEE ETHICS HISTORY REPOSITORY, the IEHR, was personally involved, having been active in the EC HOTLINE, was the EC to MCC Liaison, and was serving on the MCC, bringing the case from the EC to the MCC. When he introduced the case at the MCC meeting, its then Chair wanted Elden to recuse himself, for reasons never revealed, but Elden refused and the case went forward. It’s possible that as this was occurring during the same year that the Executive Committee was working to terminate the Ethics HOTLINE, thar MCC Chair was acting in harmony with that goal, unknown to Elden or Unger at that time.
I. 1997/98 ALL IEEE ETHICS ADVICE AND ETHICAL SUPPORT WERE TERMINATED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
With the establishing of IEEE’s first Ethics Committee, or EC, in the mid 1990’s, and the increasing success being attained it it’s activities, suddenly in late 1997, the Executive Committee began an on-going effort to terminate it. Steven UNGER had become the EC Chair and led efforts to challenge the efforts to shut down the successful Ethics HOTLINE. The IEEE Board appointed a Blue Ribbon Task Force, containing several Past IEEE Presidents, to look into it and the EC’s other activities, and advise it. Then the Board went into closed Executive Session to consider the Task Force’s report, which recommended continuing the HOTLINE and the Ethics Committee’s activities but excluded Steve Unger, the new Ethics Committee Chair, from attending.
The net result was that the Board rejected its own Task Force’s Recommendations then voted to shut down all the activities of the EC, the EC itself, but most importantly the Ethics Hotline. Coincidentally, the ETHICS HOTLINE was later re-activated under the Online Ethics Center by Elden, Unger and others, and operated successfully for the next several years, after which it was transferred under the NAE.
So, since 1998, IEEE has been operating under what the MCC Founding Board wanted from the beginning; and that was to only discipline but not to advise or support members ethically. That is where we were are today; back at the beginning to 1977, it seems.
As the Editor who updated the IEHR during the past 2020, I, Elden, tried to obtain the approved records of the meeting and voting actions taken in 1998 to both deny members Ethics Advice and Ethical Support, was promised assistance to provide them at an Executive Level, but after 9 months effort none were ever provided to me. Now, in order to be able to decide what needs changing now to restore Advice and Support, access to those Board meeting decisions is imperative, but what will it take to break through that resistive wall?
Before attempting to make any changes now to get Ethics Advice and Ethical Support restored, I strongly urge the reader to access and read “the only IEEE published accounts of this history” in 2 papers; by Steve Unger and 1 by me, Elden, as follows:
1. The Case of the Vanishing Ethics Article, by Steve Unger
2. The Assault on IEEE Ethics Support, by Steve Unger
3. IEEE Has Shown Disregard Towards Proactive Ethical Activities, by Walter Elden
[:File:///C:/Users/walte/Dropbox/IEEE ETHICS LONG RANGE PLAN/ https:/doi.org/10.1109/MTS.2008.929000 https://doi.org/10.1109/MTS.2008.929000]
J. 2018-2020 EFFORTS TO RESTORE ETHICS ADVICE AND ETHICAL SUPPORT
Board level Committees were established by meaningful results need to be identified so IEHR can be update to reflect them
K. NOW, WHAT ABOUT IEEE’S ETHICS FUTURE? WHERE DO WE NEED TO GO FROM WHERE WE ARE TODAY?
The following provides a vision of an Ethics Long Range Plan
A PROPOSED IEEE ETHICS LONG RANGE PLAN OUTLINE
Walter L. Elden. P.E. (Ret)
January 4, 2021
A. GOVERNANCE DOCUMENTS
Conduct LEGAL REVIEW OF Constitution, Bylaws Policies/Procedures, EMCC Ops Manual for updating
Review MEMBER-Institute CANON 10 CONTRACT Agreement in Code of Ethics
Establishes right to Ethical Advice and Support
Members vrs Individuals clarification
Review Code of Ethics
Determine the basis used to deny Ethics Advice and Ethical Support begun 1997/98 in closed session of the Board/EX COM
Seek to identify when it would warrant amending IEEE’s Constitution, to achieve long term protections of important member Professional/Ethical principals and rights
Review ETHICS COMMITTEES, ETHICS CHAMPIONS, ETHICS TASK FORCES, ETC charters and needs
Establish that Board Appointed Ethics Committees and Task Groups SHALL be open and share their on-going and completed work with the INSTITUTE members and to upgrade the IEHR
RE-institute Providing Member Discipline, Ethics Advice and Ethical Support services to Members per Policies 7.10 and 7.11
OPERATE AN ETHICS ADVICE and HOTLINE SERVICE as was done successfully in the mid-1990’s
Provide 1-800 phone, Email to access
DEVELOP AND OPERATE A “Martha Sloan” ETHICS CONFLICT RESOLUTION SERVICE
Per Martha Sloan’s 1998 MCC Model drafted by W. Elden for her
Incorporate the “Ethics Point” service
Publish Ethics Articles in Spectrum and INSTITUTE monthly
Breakout EC and MCC Committees from today’s single EMCC
-Independent Ethics Committee, EC
-Regionalized Member Conduct Committees, MCCs
Distinguish Executive, Legislative and Judicial Roles of Board, EC and MCCs
Publicize Resolved Cases (Anonymously) Every 6 Months
Training for Members and Staff
Strive to identify and select Ethical Support Cases which will warrant filing Amicus Curiae legal briefs, in cases such as was done in 1975 in the 3 IEEE Engineers’ BART Case, to enable setting important precedence law to further enhance supporting the ethical/professional practice of engineering in the public interest strengthening IEEE’s TAG LINE
ESTABLISH AN ETHICS SUPPORT VOLUNTEER RESERVE FUND
Per the 1996 EC Model
WEB PAGE Needs UPDATING
Update and keep current
ETHICS EDUCATION OF MEMBERS
Cite Cases, maintaining confidentiality, to educate on real cases
C. CODE OF ETHICS
Update Code periodically at high level
Defer to but review implementation guidelines to respective TAB disciplines
Stay aware of Ethics Codes of the other technical societies so as to keep IEEE’s standards high
D. ETHICS IMPLEMENTATION GUIDELINES
EXAMPLES ARE SUCH AS COMPUTER SOCIETY, NSPE, others
E.TECHNICAL ACTIVITIES BOARD, TAB
Take the lead developing Implementation Guidelines for each TAB speciallity
Examples are AI Ethical Design, Tech Ethics, Computer software
Review and enhance Barus Awards
Perform Watchdog Function of EMCC
Continue Tech Ethics
Perform OMBUDSMAN ROLE
Oversee the EC/MCCs
Advise the Board of Issues
Advise member advice inquiries
Advise Whistleblowing Avoidance and/or Advise best actions
G. ESTABLISH AND OPERATE INTER SOCIETY WORKING RELATIONSHIPS
Models are ASCE, ASME, NSPE, and others
Share practices, cases, experience, speakers
H. ESTABLISH THAT PROFESSIONAL AND/OR ETHICAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS “SHALL” BECOME AWARD CATEGORIES FOR ELEVATION TO FELLOW GRADE
Up til now 99.999% of FELLOW GRADE elevations have been solely for Technical achievements; none for Professional or Ethical achievements
I. OTHERS TBD
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS TO BE CONSIDERED TO ASSIST DEVELOPING THIS ETHICS PLANː
HEADLINES OF THE UPDATED IEEE ETHICS HISTORY REPOSITORY PART 2
The headline item stresses that a contract agreement is created when members join or re-join, agree to abide by the IEEE CODE OF ETHICS, and in return under Canon 10, the IEEE agrees to support members to practice ethically.
The update stresses cases handled secretly over the past 42 years and highlights the BARUS awards issued by the SSIT to individuals for “Outstanding Service in the Public Interest”, supporting IEEE’s Tag Line, ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY FOR HUMANITY.
Important Topics Addressed:
a. IEEE contractually required to support members ethically
b. Restrictions in EMCC Operational Manual prohibiting ethics advice and support are invalid
c. IEEE Members should be treated as engineer professionals, not as employed workers
d. Member discipline cases handled not too heavy to prevent giving advice and support
e. The SSIT, through its BARUS awards, has supported more members than the MCC/EMCC have
f. Board Directors fiduciary duty requires benefiting members over outside interests
g. EMCC to be de-centralized into the Regions
h. EMCC reports to be more frequent and made public to members
i. SSIT should perform a Watchdog function on the EMCC
j. Ethics HOTLINE should be re-activated
k. Board and Committee work to be made public to members
B. WELCOME TO IEHR PART 2
"To the fullest extent possible, it is my intent to use IEEE approved policy statement first, to update the IEHR's Part 2. Where this material is not possible to be obtained or approved for use, as some Board/ExCom decisions made may still be considered IEEE PROPRIETARY, in these circumstances, material from 1st and 2nd hand witnesses and/or published papers will be relied upon instead."
ABOUT THE EDITORː
DEDICATED TO ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALISM FOR THE PAST 50 YEARS, DRIVEN BY THIS EXPERIENCEː
IEEE’s Concerned Ethics Volunteers CEV-Who They Are
The CEV came into being in 2017 to express expert opinions aimed at getting Ethics Advice and Ethical Support restored to IEEE’s members. Here are the members and their qualifications.
I wish to express my thanks and gratitude to each member of the IEEE CONCERNED ETHICS VOLUNTEERS, the CEV, for the contributions they gave in our efforts to get Ethics Advice and Ethical Support restored to the IEEE members, following the past 22 years being denied each.
WALTER L. ELDEN, IEEE and SSIT LIFE SENIOR MEMBER
D. IEEE'S PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 1884-2020
IEEE's ETHICAL ADVICE AND SUPPORT LEGAL CONTRACT AGREEMENT WITH ITS MEMBERS, WHICH NEEDS TO BE ENFORCED
In any employee-manager dispute wherein a member gets into a situation threatening to his/her employment and where it becomes necessary for the member to request ethical advice and/or ethical support from the IEEE, the member needs to remember that upon joining or re-joining the IEEE, they entered into a contract agreement, which would take precedence over any other IEEE governance policy to the contrary, other than restrictive language contained in IEEE's Constitution.
What this refers to is as followsː
Upon joining or re-joining the IEEE, each member is required to agree to practice abiding with the IEEE Code of Ethics, and in return, Canon 10 of that Code obligates the IEEE to provide ethical support to the requesting member. This thus is a mutual contract performance agreement.
If the member fails to uphold provisions in the Code they may be penalized by the IEEE. But if IEEE fails to support a member, what penalty against IEEE might there be there?
Historical Walk Through of IEEE's Ethical Support and Non-Support of Ethics
This presents a walk through of IEEE’s involvement in ethics , from its very start, in 1884 with the forming of the AIEE, through 1912 when the IRE was formed, through today, the end of 2015.
Through the years, IEEE at times supported both ethics advice and support, but beginning around 2000, it formally restricted the EMCC from involvement in employee - employer professional/ethical disputes , which is being challenged. This documents that history.
HISTORY OF THE CREATION OF THE MEMBER CONDUCT COMMITTEE SUPPORTING DISCIPLINE, ADVICE, SUPPORT
"C. IEEE PROFESSIONALISM AND ETHICAL SUPPORT EARLY HISTORY CONTRADICT THE SUBJECT SUPPORT RESTRICTION
IEEE’S FIRST MODERN DAY CODE OF ETHICS WAS APPROVED IN 1974
We must begin discussing “ethical support” with a specific Code of Ethics to be supported in mind, so I begin with the 1974 Code adopted by the IEEE. But actually, prior to the 1974 Code, there were actually two previous Codes, that had been adopted by one of IEEE’s predecessor Societies, the AIEE, in 1912, and then in 1950. As an aside, I was the one who found the 1950 AIEE Code, located at the Illinois Institute of Technology. IEEE in preparing its Amicus Curiae brief in the BART case was not even aware that there existed the 1950 AIEE Code.
Here are the relevant links:
Codes of Ethics at the Illinois Institute of Technology
The 1912 AIEE Code of Ethics
The 1950 AIEE Code of Ethics
The 1974 IEEE Code of Ethics
The 1974 Code was a direct result of the IEEE Members voting in November 1972 by over 82% YES to amend its Constitution to add “professional activities” and “the promotion of ethical conduct.“
Before the 1974 Code got approved, however, there was a lot of debate, led by Dr. Stephen H. Unger, a former IEEE Ethics Committee Chair and Member of the IEEE Board of Directors, to provide for supporting those who tried to uphold the Code, but came into conflict with their employer. The IEEE Board just wanted to provide for disciplining unethical conduct, whereas Unger and others on the Committee on the Social Implications of Technology, CSIT, voiced the need to provide for ethical support as well.
A record of this debate history is documented here:
and here, Unger in 1973, prior to there being a Member Conduct Committee, presented his Proposal for Supporting the Ethical Engineer:
Until 1973, there were just proposals for supporting the ethical engineer, and they only focused on the upholding of the IEEE Code of Ethics in employee-employer professional/ethical disputes, and nothing to do with Collective Bargaining, or Trade Union matters.
The current IEEE Code of Ethics, approved in 2013, is found at this location:
In Item 10, the following is stated:
“10. to assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them in following this code of ethics.”
The highlighted words are the operative ones. It commits the IEEE, its Members and Officers, to supporting its Members trying to uphold its Code of Ethics. In order to be able to fully carry this out, it must be able to accept and deal with employee-employer disputes, dealing with professional/ethical issues, thus overriding the subject restriction, and providing ethics advice when sought.
HOW THE IEEE MEMBER CONDUCT COMMITTEE AND ETHICAL SUPPORT CAME ABOUT IN 1978 AND ITS RELEVANCE
The history discussed above, leading up to the 1977 period, sets the stage for the IEEE trying to agree on whether to just discipline alleged violations of the 1974 Code, or to additionally provide ethical support. Again, both actions were to pertain just to professional/ethical matters. It happened that I volunteered and was appointed to an IEEE USAB Ethics Task Force in 1977, and as a result, played an important historical part of the establishment of the IEEE Member Conduct Committee. All of this history is documented next.
EDITORIAL: Implement the IEEE 1974 Code of Ethics
Proposed Procedures for IEEE Support of Ethical Engineers
The following is taken from the above support procedures:
Note the restriction stating “to support engineers only in ethics-related matters.” As I have written before, in developing these support procedures, they only dealt with professional/ethical and never trade union matters, making the subject restriction unnecessary and in contradiction to the legislative intent of the original writers of the support procedures.
Proposed Procedures for Handling Alleged Infractions of the IEEE Code of Ethics
As a member of the USAB Ethics Task force which developed these proposed procedures, I was the leader of the work which prepared the ethical support portion. We did this one Saturday, in the Spring of 1977, in a Hotel in New York City. Steve Unger led the work which developed the discipline procedures.
We each captured our process in flow diagram forms, on large, white, sheets of paper mounted on a 3-legged easel. Steve took his discipline process sheet and I took my ethical support process sheet. About 15 years, ago, I provided mine to the IEEE History Center to retain in its historical archives. However, prior to this, in May of 1981, the IEEE USAB Professional Activities Committee for Engineers (PACE) published them, and links are provided next.
Ethical Support and Discipline Procedure Flow Charts and Process Descriptions, May 1981
The IEEE USAB Ethics Task Force’s Proposals for Ethical Support and Member Discipline
were presented to the IEEE Board of Directors, at its San Diego meeting, in November 1977,
I had been asked by then IEEE USAB President John Guerrera to make this presentation to the Board. When I did, we actually had 2 separate proposals; one for ethical support and the other for member discipline. Unknown to us, the IEEE Board had assigned Attorney-Engineer IEEE Member Jim Fairman to prepare a separate set of proposed procedures, but for just disciplining members. We each worked independent of and not knowing of the others work.He had not addressed nor was asked to address ethical support. The above link explains what happened next. At any rate, in February 1978, the IEEE Board
approved the merger of the Board’s and USAB’s proposals, into and one set of procedures and thus created the Member Conduct Committee."
IEEE'S GOVERNANCE PROFESSIONAL POLICIES IT OPERATES UNDER
Discussionː Relevance of IEEE's Governance Policies to Providing Ethics Advice and Ethical Support
In the following, material is provided of a comprehensive list of governing IEEE Policies, presented in a top down fashion, beginning at the top with its New York, USA Certificate of Incorporation. Most of the listed governance items touch on Member Discipline, Ethical Advice and Ethical Support to one extent of another. However, it seems that the above Member-IEEE contract agreement would take precedence and thus create a binding relationship between the two parties; one or more members and the IEEE as a corporate entity. That is why the above contract agreement was presented first.
IEEE ENGINEERING AS A PROFESSION
In today's enlightened work environment, engineers should be employed as the professionals they are and not be referred to or treated as just employees. The fact that in the 1998 verbal statement by then Past IEEE President and then a member active on the Member Conduct Committee, saying that: "I do not feel the IEEE should get involved in employee-employer disputes", lacked the recognition that those employees he referred to were in reality highly educated, trained, experienced, ethical professionals. Further, IEEE even had a contract agreement such that it was obligated to provide "support" to those professionals as they practiced following the tenants of IEEE's own Code of Ethics (one of the requirements of IEEE membership). Then to add that same reservation quote after Item 1.4 Limits to Activities in the EMCC's own Operations Manual, years later, showed continued non-recognition that IEEE's members were professionals, and being more than mere employees.
What Does It Mean Then for an Employee to Practice as a Professional
To begin with, employed IEEE members in engineering are to be treated as members of a "profession", as opposed to being employed in an occupation. Here, from Wikipedia, is a short discussion of what an engineer is.
"Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are professionals who invent, design, analyze, build and test machines, complex systems, structures, gadgets and materials to fulfill functional objectives and requirements while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety and cost. The word engineer (Latin ingeniator) is derived from the Latin words ingeniare ("to create, generate, contrive, devise") and ingenium ("cleverness"). The foundational qualifications of an engineer typically include a four-year bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline, or in some jurisdictions, a master's degree in an engineering discipline plus four to six years of peer-reviewed professional practice (culminating in a project report or thesis) and passage of engineering board examinations" (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineer)
Engineering is the application of science to the common purpose of life and Engineering is the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences, gained by study, experience, and practice, is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of [hu]mankind". (from http://www.discovery-press.com/discovery-press/studyengr/chapter24E.pdf
Finally, it is important to note that engineering is a "profession" as opposed to a job or an occupation. As such, it requires education, ethical practice, skills, independent judgement and the exercise of discretion. Engineers at times may be pressured to "think like a manager, not an engineer in his/her decision making" when working for a non-engineer. However, "the boss made me do it" is never an available defense and may hold you to discipline for misconduct for negligence in the practice of one's engineering profession. "Source: Florida Board of Engineer Examiners"
In 1975, IEEE Entered a Friend of the Court Brief in the BART Case of 3 Fired Engineers and Expressed New Ethical Principles About Professionals
Articles published in IEEE’s Spectrum and efforts led by Dr Stephen Unger, Chair of the Committee on the Social Implications of Technology, CSIT (forerunner to today’s SSIT), resulted in the IEEE in 1975 to entering the case by filing an Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) brief and argued on behalf of the ethical duty engineers had to “protect the public” and against their wrongful discharge. This led to an out of court settlement BART made with the 3 engineers.
Then in 1974, CSIT adopted its historic resolution calling for the support of ethical engineers and in particular intervene and enter into the BART case.
Legal View of Engineering Professional Practice Presented by IEEE Attorneys in 1975 BART Case of 3 Fired Engineers
In the early to mid 1970's, in the Bay Area of San Francisco, there was being developed a rapid transit system, referred to as BART. During the engineering phase, 3 IEEE member engineers, working independently, uncovered design flaws/problems and attempted to get them corrected. They were not able to get the BART management to follow their recommendations. So having then taken it to higher Management, this led to their immediate supervisor to fire them.
The 3 engineers then sued for wrongful discharge, and IEEE's attorneys, Cummings and Cummings, entered the case, by filing an Amicus Curiae, or Friend of the Court brief in 1975, to bring to the court's attention, but not take any side in the dispute, to highlight existence and importance of Codes of Ethics, an engineer's obligation to follow the code, and then cited implied "at-will" employment law which had a bearing on whether the engineers' discharges were legal.
Here, following, are salient points from the BART brief which bear on the employment of engineer professionals doing design work.
Key Points IEEE Attorneys Made in the BART Case on Employed Engineer Professionals Rights and Responsibilities
From the IEEE BART Case Brief:
Based upon the foregoing, we submit and we urge this Court to acknowledge that an engineer has an overriding obligation to protect the public. Specifically, we urge this Court:
(1) To rule that evidence of professional ethics is relevant, material and admissible in this case; and
(2) To rule, as to any motions for judgment or any jury instructions, that an engineer is obligated to protect the public safety, that an engineer’s contract of employment includes as a matter of law, an implied term that such engineer will protect the public safety, and that a discharge of an engineer solely or in substantial part because he acted to protect the public safety constitutes a breach of such implied term.
1. See also Slochower v. Board of Higher Education of the City of New York, 350 U.S. 551 (1956).
2. This court may, but need not, decide the extent to which the principles of this case would be applicable in the case of a private employer. The complaint in this case alleges that a public employer discharged public employees because those employees informed the public of a danger to the public safety. In a very real sense, the public at large was the “employer” of the plaintiffs herein; whatever may be the limits of the duties of public disclosure by the engineer in private employment, there is clearly a higher duty in the case of public employment.
3. Not all members of IEEE or other professional engineering societies are (nor are they all required to be) licensed to practice engineering in their home states. The ethical standards covering both licensed engineers and other engineers are the same, and this is particularly true where both types of engineers are working together on the same project, as was the case, we understand, in the BART situation".
(Source: Controlling Technology-Ethics and the Responsible Engineer, 3rd Edition, Stephen H. Unger, PhD)
The most important legal points IEEE's attorneys made in the BART case were:
1."That evidence of professional ethics is relevant, material and admissible in this case]]
2. That an engineer is obligated to protect the public safety, that an engineer’s contract of employment includes as a matter of law, an implied term that such engineer will protect the public safety, and that a discharge of an engineer solely or in substantial part because he acted to protect the public safety constitutes a breach of such implied term
These will be shown to be relevant to IEEE's obligation to providing Ethics Advice and Ethical Support to its members next.
F. ETHICS CASES HANDLED BY IEEE - A MEASURE OF IEEE AS A PROFESSION
Member Discipline and Ethical Support Cases Of Member Professionals Handled by the MCC and EMCC Since the Founding of the MCC in 1978
Walter L. Elden, P.E. (Ret), IEEE and SSIT Life Senior Member, Editor, IEEE Concerned Ethics Volunteers, CEV, August 27, 2020
This paper discloses for the first time in IEEE history what the founding Member Conduct Committee and its succeeding Ethics and Member Conduct Committee worked on in matters of member discipline, ethics advice and ethical support requests and/or cases, since its original MCC was established in 1978 til 2019. During a short period since the MCC was first established in 1978, there had been an active Ethics Committee during the mid-1990’s, until it and all PRO ethics activities of the EC and MCC had been terminated, in secret Executive Session in 1998.
I. THE EMCC HAS OPERATED IN TOO MUCH SECRECY
Information on cases handled by the MCC/EMCC through the years has never been reported on, except for when its Annual Report is submitted to the Board, in secret. As a result, it is believed by this writer that this has led to my making this unsubstantiated claim several times that “less than 1% of the membership are even aware that an Ethics and Member Conduct Committee even exists. If true, that would be less than 4400 members”. Further, and this is the really bad part; if one does not know of an EMCC, then he/she most certainly is unaware that since around 1998, when the Board/Ex Com terminated all PRO-ethics activities, a member since then has been prohibited from requesting ethical advice and/or ethical support from the Committee, in circumstances of needing one or both. This claim has yet to be challenged, but I continue to invite members to do so with hard data.
One cause of this has been that the Board has for over 42 years of its operation, only required it to submit an Annual Report on its activities, directly to the Board, and in secret. That practice needs to be changed.
II. ONE INSTANCE WHEN REAL EMCC DATA SHOULD HAVE BEEN KNOWN AND USED
Why am I making the case for disclosing the case loads handled by the MCCs/EMCCs over the past 42 years? Here is a real example to make my point of the need.
A Presidential candidate for the 2019 IEEE election made the statement, to the effect, that “the reason today’s EMCC cannot handle Ethical Advice and Ethical Support Requests/Cases is that the handling of member/officer Discipline cases has been too heavy”. Having served on the Member Conduct Committee myself, 1996-98, I found this almost laughable. So let’s examine what the secret to date data really shows.
III. EXAMINING THE REAL FACTUAL DATA ON THE MCC/EMCC CASES HANDLED
First of all the data I will use comes from several sources, but spans across all 42 years of the MCC/EMCC era. I will put it together to paint as much of a continuous record as the data on hand allows. But first, before there was either a MCC or an EMCC, IEEE did get involved and provided Ethical Support to 3 BART Case engineers, fired for taking their safety issues to a higher level Management. Here is a brief summary.
A. In 1975, IEEE Entered a Friend of the Court Brief in the BART Case of 3 Fired Engineers and Expressed New Ethical Principles Without There Being a Member Conduct Committee, MCC, Yet
Articles published in IEEE’s Spectrum and efforts led by Dr Stephen Unger, Chair of the Committee on the Social Implications of Technology, CSIT (forerunner to today’s SSIT), resulted in the IEEE in 1975 to entering the case by filing an Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) brief and argued on behalf of the ethical duty engineers had to “protect the public” and against their wrongful discharge. This led to an out of court settlement BART made with the 3 engineers.
Then in 1974, CSIT adopted its historic resolution calling for the support of ethical engineers and in particular intervene and enter into the BART case.
B. In 1979 Jim Fairman Reported MCC Cases Handled the First Year
First, there is data from the very beginning of the first MCC, as reported by its first Chair, IEEE Member Engineer-Attorney James Fairman. Jim was the one who drafted the original Discipline Only version of MCC procedures for the then Board in 1977. I and Dr. Stephen Unger drafted the Discipline, Advice and Support Services version developed by the United States Activities Board. At the 1977 November Board Meeting in San Diego, Jim presented the Board’s proposal and I presented the USAB proposal, after which they were combined, essentially adopting the USAB version to provide the 3 services; Discipline, Advice and Support.
In this first ever, and possibly the only reporting on MCC's handling of complaints/ethical support, Jim Fairman in 1979, then the first MCC Chair and an Attorney-Engineer, reported the following:
NOTE: One of these cases submitted to the MCC in its first year of 1998 was turned down. It was one I had submitted in an “unethical Manager employment” situation which had led to my “resigning under coercion” as advised by an attorney, after which I agreed with my wife’s request: “Walter, just let it go”. This is my first public acknowledgement of this history of mine.
One final comment of Fairman was important, in which he expressed:
C. In 1998 Walter Elden Reported MCC Cases Handled the First 20 Years
Second, in February 1998, I had published the first and only public report of MCC cases handled by IEEE during its first 20 years of operating. At the time, I was serving on the Member Conduct Committee while former IEEE President Dr. Martha Sloan Chaired the MCC. Below is an excerpt from the article published in the INSTITUTE:
D. A Membership Termination Notice in the INSTITUTE, September 2007
Here, following. Is a rare example where the IEEE in 2007 published in THE INSTITUTE the occasion when a member of the IEEE was terminated, and made this known publically.
E. In 2020 the EMCC Reported EMCC Cases Handled 2008 - 2018
|Year||# of Cases||EMCC Determination||Other Outcomes||Went to Hearing|
|2009||2||1 - No cause||1 - withdrawn by complainant||0||1-Alleged unprofessional behavior. 1-Alleged financial misconduct.|
|2010||2||2 - Cause||2 - charged members resigned||0||1-Alleged financial misconduct. 1-Alleged unprofessional behavior.|
|2011||1||1 - No cause||0||1-Alleged claim -open|
|2012||3||2 - No cause||1 - filed improperly, not resubmitted||0||3-Alleged unprofessional behavior.|
|2013||4||4 - No cause||0||1-Alleged sexual harassment. 3-Alleged unprofessional behavior.|
|2014||2||2 - No cause||0||2-Alleged publications misconduct.|
|2015||6||4 - No cause||1 - member resigned; 1 - filed outside of statute of limitations||0||4-Alleged unprofessional behavior. 1-Alleged financial misconduct. 1- Alleged mishandling of nominations.|
|2017||5||3 - No cause||2 - filed improperly, not resubmitted||0||4-Alleged publications misconduct. 1-Alleged financial misconduct & gender bias.|
|2018||1||1 - Cause||1 - charged member resigned||0||1-Alleged sexual harassment.|
NOTE: THIS CHART WAS DESIGNATED PROPRIETARY, INDICATING THAT EVEN IEEE MEMBERS, OTHER THAN BOARD MEMBERS, SHOULD NOT HAVE ACCESS TO VIEW THIS DATA.
F. Later in 2020 Former EMCC Chair Dr. Charles Turner Added this Comment to Correct the Above Table
“Walter, At least one case (that went to a hearing at Park Avenue Offices ) is missing from the above list”.
“As this case occurred during the period 2008-2018 it is safe to conclude it was a Discipline case, as was all the others during this period, as no Ethics Advice and Ethical Support cases were allowed to be handled”, IMHO (Editor).
G. Now, Let’s Examine the Real Workload on the MCC/EMCC Handling Cases
Here, we will look at the different workloads over time as different MCC/EMCC Committees handled cases it received.
The first year will not be used as it may have handled some from more than 1 year past. But the data shows that over the first 20 years the load of Conduct cases slightly exceeded that for the 11 years of EMCC data, 2.65 to 2.25 a decade later, even while the MCC over the first 20 years was also handling 23 Ethical Support cases with the operation of an Ethics HOTLINE, while the 11 year EMCC handled none because IEEE policy prohibited doing that. Therefore, the actual data shows that workload caused from handling Discipline cases did not cause Ethical Advice/Ethical Support not to be able to be handled and the claim made by the IEEE Presidential candidate was incorrect.
Later, it will be shown that a more likely reason given was the over influence of Business Members interests to set policies not to permit member employee-employer conflicts to be handled. This practice now needs changing; IMHO, Editor
2020ː IEEE SANCTIONS A MEMBER FOR 3 YEARS
This notice to the members was contained in the September 2020 issues of Spectrum/Institute.
The AIEE and IRE Were Merged in 1963 to Form the IEEE, but Only Supported Technical Activities, then IEEE'S Constitution Was Amended in 1972-73 Adding Engaging in Professional Activities
In 1972, IEEE’s members voted 82+% YES to amend its Constitution and added Professional Activities to its once only Technical Activities charter. Then about the same time, 3 engineers, working on the design of the Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART, system in the San Francisco Bay Area, raised concerns over safety concerns. When Management disregarded their issues raised, and the 3 then took them to the highest level, they were fired, followed by their suing BART for wrongful discharge.
In 1973 the IEEE amended its constitution changing it from a strictly "learned" society to one that also represented the professional interests of its members. As a result, the United States Activities Board (USAB) was formed to represent the interests of U.S. members. (IEEE History Center 1984, McMahon 1984). The USAB and its successor organizations have played an important role in ethics activities of the IEEE and in promoting policy favorable to the U.S. engineering and business community. The affect of the USAB's presence on efforts to globalize the IEEE has been more controversial.]
G. ETHICS CASES HANDLED BY THE CSIT/SSIT BARUS AWARDS
The First IEEE MCC Ethical Supported Cases (1975-98)
(Source: Controlling Technology-Ethics and the Responsible Engineer, 3rd Edition, Stephen H. Unger, PhD) The following links present the 3 key cases of support handled by the Pre and then Current Member Conduct Committee, when they were empowered to and did provide both Ethics Advice and Ethical Support, in addition to Member Discipline. But then in 1997-98 Advice and Support were "gutted" and the PRO Ethics members of the EC and MCC were too.
SSIT's Barus Award Recipients
The Barus Award recognizes individuals (and occasionally groups of individuals) who take action to benefit the public interest, often at the risk of their own careers and/or reputations.
- 1978 Max Blankenzee, Robert Bruder, Holger Hjortzvang: Reported BART rail system problems
- 1979 Virginia Edgerton: Raised awareness of New York City emergency response system problems
- 1986 Rick Parks: Challenged unsafe conditions on nuclear power industry
- 1988 Benjamin Linder: Advanced appropriate technology in Nicaragua
- 1991 Demetrios L. Basdekas: Worked for improvements in nuclear power regulation
- 1997 Rebecca Leaf: Worked for improvements in Nicaraguan power system and access
- 2001 Salvador Castro: Reported hazardous product to U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- 2003 David Monts: Reported safety issues in Univ. of New Orleans physical plant
- 2006 Nancy Kymn Harvin: Reported hazards at Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power plants
- 2008 Michael DeKort: Discovered and exposed problems in a US Coast Guard boat design that endangered lives and national security
- 2013 Marc Edwards: Exposing extreme levels of lead contamination in Washington, DC, drinking water
- 2018 Philip Koopman: Uncovered automotive software defects
CSIT and SSIT's Barus Award Recipients
The Barus Award recognizes individuals (and occasionally groups of individuals) who take action to benefit the public interest, often at the risk of their own careers and/or reputations.
H. ADDITIONAL ETHICS CASES FOR CONSIDERATION
Take some time and consider other types of ethics cases. A good source for doing that is the 3rd Edition of Steve Unger’s book, “Controlling Technology-Ethics and the Responsible Engineer” plus Unger wrote an article about different cases which came to the IEEE, next.
Some Ethics Cases Which Have Come to the IEEE via its ETHICS HOTLINE https://www.onlineethics.org/Resources/ungercases.aspx
Cases of Engineers Needing Ethics Advice and/or Ethical Support-S.H. Unger‘S Book “Controlling Technology-Ethics and the Responsible Engineer”, 3rd Edition
I created Table 1, next, from cases in Steve’s book, above. There are 14 presented. I organized their data into these categories:
- Ethics Cases
- Professionals Involved
- Technology Issue
- Ethical Action
- Action Resulting
There is a wealth of information provided by Steve in his book. A Kindle version, handy for teaching, is very inexpensive.
|Ethics Case||Professionals Involved||Technology Issue||Ethical Action||Action Resulting|
|DC-10||Daniel Applegate and some associates||Faulty and failed Cargo Door was recognized and predicted||Written Warning to Management but did not go further to press concerns||Engineers caved in and did not press the issue; were more concerned with money damages|
|BART||Holger Hjortsvang, Max Blankenzee & Robert Bruder||Unsafe Train Control System conditions found by each of 3||Raised concerns to Management and BART Board||3 Fired, they sued, IEEE intervened, they settled out of court|
|NY Police Dispatch||Virginia Edgerton||Degraded Performance||Advised Management of Degradation Issue Found||Edgerton was fired, IEEE supported her ethical position , gave her first Barus Award|
|C5-A Aircraft||Ernest Fitzgerald||Cost Overruns Revealed by Him||Testified About Cost Overruns||Fired and Blackballed for Reporting Waste|
|Surry Nuclear Reactor||Carl Houston||Faulty Welds Found||Reported the unsafe welds||Sufferred financially, but vindicated|
|3 Mile Island Nuclear||Laurence P. King, Richard D. Parks & Edwin H. Gischel||Inadequate Lifting Crane Capability||Notified Management of Unsafe Crane||Retaliated Against Using Physical, Medical, Financial Means Against Them|
|Power Generators||Ben Linder||Helped the Poor and Worked in Enemy Territory||Volunteered to Build Generators for the Poor||Linder was murdered by the Contras in Nicaragua|
|University Plant Improvements||David Monts||Unsafe Cost Cutting Done by an Inexperienced Administrator||Raised Unsafe Warnings, Filed Suits, Fought to Correct Unsafe Designs, H/W||Monts was fired, he sued, failed in Courts, Received IEEE Barus Award for his ethics Actions|
|Coast Guard Ships||Michael DeKort||Significant defects & Faulty Equipment Use Uncovered and the Project was Bungled||DeKort wrote reports, went public on You Tube, 60 Minutes and testified in Congress.||DeKort was transferred, then fired. IEEE awarded him the Barus award. He adhered to the highest ethical standards.|
|Kinds of Work Objections||Victor Paschkis, Viron E. Payne, Sr., George C. Minor, Richard Hubbard, and Dale Bridenbaugh||Mass distruction weaons, nuclear systems, others they did not agree with||Refused to work on such equipment against their ethical beliefs.||Some did not work on some and others left their companies rather than do that work.|
|Giving up Ethics-To Eat||Allen Kammerer||Corrupt Awarding of Contracts and bribery||Paid bribe to get contracts.||Testified and given immunity.|
|Deficient Engineering||Charles Pettis||Deficient design in road construction||Expressed his concerns and gave warnings||Was discharged.|
|Lower in-house cost predicted over using outside contractor||Timothy Reid||Expressed that doing work in-house would be cheaper||Brought his opinion to Management but ignored at first.||He was harassed, got ill, but received an award for saving $192 million.|
|Lead in Water||Marc Edwards||Reported excessive lead in water||At his own expense did research and reported findings||Agencies backed down and took appropriate action|
I. IEEE YEARS 1996-1998ː THE DARK PERIOD WHEN ADVICE AND SUPPORT WERE ELIMINATED (in secret)
IEEE'S Curtailment of Its Ethics and Ethical Support Activities
Following in 1978, IEEE then, in collaboration with the IEEE United States Activities Committee, USAB, established a Member Conduct Committee, MCC, charged with 3 missions:
- Member Discipline
- Provide Ethics Advice
- Provide Ethical Support
This was approved in spite of IEEE’s Board of Directors only initially supporting Member Discipline while the IEEE United States Activities Board (USAB) additionally supported providing Ethics Advice and Ethical Support. Eventually all 3 were approved and were in IEEE Bylaws and Policies to this day, and were authorized to be practiced the first 20 years of the MCC.
But then in 1998, the IEEE Board/ExCom acted without notice to its membership and, without changing its Bylaws or Policies, caused its MCC to cease all Ethics Advice and Ethical Support activities, in a secret Executive Session Meeting. It acted while disregarding advice from its own Special Blue Ribbon Task Force’s recommendation to the contrary, advocating continuing its once successful Ethics Committee ETHICS HOTLINE and associated activities.
Concerted efforts by former MCC an EC Blue Ribbon members, since 2015, by way of its Concerned Ethics Volunteers CEV efforts, have been unsuccessful in getting Ethics Advice and Ethical Support to be reinstated in actual practice, in spite of the original IEEE Bylaws and Policies, first approved in 1978 establishing the MCC and its 3 missions, still remaining on the books, unchanged.
In Steve Unger's 1st hand account paper, "The Assault on IEEE's Ethical Support", it captures what actions were taken, begun in 1997, which terminated all ethics activities and ethical support.
IEEE Board Approved Source Material Sought But Not Provided
SOURCE ITEM 1. Board of Directors/Executive Committee Materials which terminated providing Ethics Advice and Ethical Support to Members by the MCC starting in 1998.
DECISIONS AND POLICIES RESULTS: No Materials were provided for updating the IEHR.
SOURCE ITEM 2. A copy of the 1998 Final Report of the Board/ExCom Special Task Force which looked into the issues with operating an Ethics Hotline recommending you continue a HOTLINE and continue the Ethics Committee.
DECISIONS AND POLICIES RESULTSː No Materials were provided for updating the IEHR.
NOTE: Given that the Above 2 Items Were Dealt With in Executive Session of a Board Meeting in 1998, It May Not Be Possible Today to Gain Public Access to Their Contents for Disclosure Herein, So the Following 1st Hand Accounts are Being Relied Upon https://corporate.ieee.org/images/files/executive_session_guidelines.pdf
First Hand Accounts of How “IEEE Ethics Advice and Ethical Support” Were Eliminated are Used in Place of Unavailable Board/ExCom Documents
The Case of the Vanishing Ethics Article -by Unger https://doi.org/10.1109/MTS.2008.924875
The Assault on IEEE Ethics Support -by Unger https://doi.org/10.1109/MTAS.1999.385318
IEEE Has Shown Disregard Towards Proactive Ethical Activities -by Elden https://doi.org/10.1109/MTS.2008.929000
The Assault on IEEE Ethics Support - Steve Unger
As a life fellow of the IEEE, I am deeply concerned over a number of recent events that I feel have had a devastating effect on IEEE ethics related activities.
1) The IEEE Executive Committee (ExCom) terminated the Ethics Hotline on what appear to be unsubstantiated grounds. This was done without giving the Ethics Committee (EC) a chance to present its case. The ExCom rejected out of hand the clear recommendation of its own specially appointed task force to reinstate the Hotline.
2) After having just been reelected by the IEEE Board of Directors (BoD) as EC chair, I was not permitted to remain in the room while the IEEE attorney presented his opinions on this matter to the ExCom.
3) I was amazed to be told that the report of the task force, which certainly does not contain any confidential information, will not be released to anybody - my requests for a copy have been to no avail.
I believe that the effect of these events has been the termination of an activity of great value to the IEEE, to its members, to our profession as a whole, to reputable employers of engineers, and to the general public. What follows is an account of what happened, along with my reasons for feeling that the ExCom's actions in the ethics area are misguided.
As soon as the IEEE Boad/Ex Com terminated the IEEE Ethics HOT Line, the key members of those who operated it (Steve Unger, Walter Elden, Ray Larsen, Mal Benjamin, Joe Herkert, Gerald Engel, Joe Wujik, and others) approached Dr. Caroline Whitbeck, of the Online Engineering and Ethics Center, and proposed for it to take it over. Once it was put into operation, it ran successfully for several years, without incident. Later, it was transferred to the National Academy of Engineering at this location:
IEEE Has Shown Disregard Towards Proactive Ethical Activities
(SSIT Letter to the Editor from https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=4623819
I am a retired, IEEE Life Senior Member, and a long-time member of IEEE-SSIT and its Ethics Committee. I am writing to commend Steve Unger’s persistence in working to get the previously published article, “The Assault on IEEE Ethics Support,” restored in the IEEE online publication archive, and to provide first-hand eyewitness support and evidence to the fact of IEEE pressure to terminate the Ethics Hotline and of its efforts to discourage and block the support for the ethical practice of engineering by IEEE members in the 1996-1999 period.
During the period, discussed in Steve Unger’s article, in which the Ethics Hotline was first proposed, approved, established, operated, and then terminated, I was active in both the IEEE Ethics Committee and the IEEE Member Conduct Committee (MCC) from 1996-1998. I was one of those operating the Hotline, responding to inquiries from IEEE members. I was then serving a five-year appointment on the MCC, starting in 1996, thanks to Steve Unger’s effort to get me appointed by the IEEE Board of Directors. What concerned me then and subsequently, which is what Steve Unger wrote about, was the negative environment that existed on the IEEE Board of Directors and the Member Conduct Committee, to thwart supporting engineers placed in jeopardy for trying to uphold and practice ethically, for operating and use of the Hotline by IEEE members, and the pressure applied to proactive ethics IEEE activities by members.
National Academy of Engineering Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science
It became ironic that while the IEEE terminated its own Ethics HOT Line, later, the IEEE's Ethics and Member Conduct Committee established a relationship supporting the Online Ethics HOT Line, and provided a link to its WEB page.
Ethics Committee Bi-Monthly Published INSTITUTE Articles
Beginning in 1996, the Ethics Committee began publishing ethics articles in the INSTITUTE on a Bi-Monthly basis. This continuted until it was terminated in 2002. The complete set of published ethics articles are at this link:
It is hoped that this activity will be resumed, as an on-going education tool for the Membership.
K. IEEE YEAR 2001ː ENGINEERS RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
This was a first attempt to establish a comprehensive set of Rights and Responsibilities of practicing engineer professionals.
l. IEEE YEAR 2002ː THE MCC BECOMES THE EMCC
The Ethics and Member Conduct Committee 2002 - Present
Around the year 1999-2000, the separate Member Conduct Committee and Ethics Committee, were combined into the one Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, or EMCC, of today. This was intended to improve intra-committee communications and reduced expenses. Here is the link to the present day EMCC
Today, the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee advises the IEEE Board of Directors on ethics policy and concerns and makes recommendations for educational programs to promote the ethical behavior of members and staff, among other activities.
Vision: A world in which engineers and scientists are respected for their exemplary ethical behavior and the IEEE and its Ethics & Member Conduct Committee are recognized as a major drive in this regard.
Mission: The Ethics and Member Conduct Committee advises the IEEE Board of Directors on ethics policy and concerns as well as fostering awareness on ethical issues and promoting ethical behavior amongst individuals and organizations working within the IEEE fields of interest.
Limits on activities: The Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, which is governed by IEEE Bylaw I-305, shall make recommendations for policies and/or educational programs to promote the ethical behavior of members and staff, and shall consider instituting proceedings, as defined in IEEE Bylaws I-110 and I-111, related to matters of member and officer discipline and requests for support.
Neither the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee nor any of its members shall solicit or otherwise invite complaints, nor shall they provide advice to individuals.
Additionally, the following restriction is contained in 1.4 of the EMCC Operations Manual:
1.4 Limits to Activities IEEE Constitution, Article 1, Section 2
“The IEEE shall not engage in collective bargaining on such matters as salaries, wages, benefits, and working conditions, customarily dealt with by labor unions.”
"The Ethics & Member Conduct Committee shall not be involved in employee-employer disputes".
This second statement in bold above is not actually contained in the IEEE Constitution not in any other Governance Document other than in the EMCC Operations Manual, but instead was a restriction added by the Board of Directors around 2005, but was practiced informally since around 2000, according to previous EMCC and former IEEE Board Member Chair Charles W. Turner in a statement to Walter L. Elden.
Responsibilities of the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee 1978 - Present
As in the matter of a complaint of unethical conduct, this too can involve Employee to Employee, Employee to Employer, Employer to Employer and Employer to Employee situations. The more likely situation will be Employee to Employer of the four. Here, the Employee sees an engineering situation needing correction, brings the matter to his next higher authority but gets a NO response to do anything to correct it, then the Employee may go above this Higher Authority or go outside to Blow the Whistle, which leads to some form or reprisal or termination, thus affecting the Employee’s livelihood, and he/she seeks the IEEE EMCC help to resolve it. This then may lead to the IEEE getting involved in an Employee-Employer type dispute, or at best may only be filing an Amicus Curiae legal brief in any court action, expressing the requirement of the Employee to uphold the IEEE Code of Ethics, but not being an Adversary in the proceedings. The BART Case is an important precedent for this kind of ethical support action by the IEEE, as was the Virginia Edgerton and Salvador Castro cases. At any rate, only professional/ethical issues are involved and are fully authorized to be handled by the EMCC, thus overriding the subject restriction.
M. IEEE YEARS 2005-2015ː IEEE ISSUES ITS EMCC POSITION PAPER
IEEE's Position Paper on Ethical Conduct Awareness
This statement says the following:
Upholding IEEE Code of Ethics
All IEEE members are required to uphold the IEEE Code of Ethics as a condition of renewing their membership each year. One of the most important principles enshrined in the Code concerns the conduct of members in carrying out their professional duties. The Code states that IEEE members should maintain the highest possible standards of conduct in dealing with colleagues and subordinates, specifically:
Article 8: to treat fairly all persons regardless of such factors as race, religion, gender, disability, age or national origin.
Article 9: to avoid injury to others, their property, reputation, or employment, by false or malicious actions.
The Ethics and Member Conduct Committee (EMCC) believes that there is a special responsibility placed on IEEE members in leadership roles in their profession. Supervisors, teachers, professors, or those elected as officers in IEEE have an even higher duty to uphold the IEEE Code of Ethics because of the influence they have on students and younger members. This responsibility also extends to:
(1) bringing cases of misconduct by others to the attention of the appropriate authorities, and (2) ensuring that correct procedures, as defined in IEEE Bylaws and Policies for example, are always followed.
The EMCC emphasizes that IEEE is committed to being supportive of any member who acts to uphold the IEEE Code of Ethics. It recognizes that voicing concern about ethical violations could jeopardize a member’s career opportunities. Nevertheless, the EMCC believes that by raising awareness of IEEE’s strong stance on ethical conduct through this Position Paper, its members in industry, academia and elsewhere will be helped to carry out their professional responsibilities in a manner consistent with the highest traditions of IEEE.
For further information on the use and implementation of the IEEE Code of Ethics contact IEEE Ethics and Member Conduct Committee staff at email@example.com.
NOTE: Commentary on the Above Position Highlighted Paragraph:
This seems to contradict actual practice of the EMCC, in denying giving both ethics advice and ethical support, as imposed by the Board of Directors, discussed above. On the one hand, the underlined statement professes to support ethical conduct and Members placed in jeopardy for upholding IEEE's Code of Ethics, but on the otherhand, they are restricted by Board Policy in the EMCC Operations Manual from actually offering ethics advice and ethical support.
Past Members of the Member Conduct and Ethics Committees
List of Member Conduct Committee Members, 1978 – 2001; became part of Ethics and Member Conduct Committee
N. IEEE YEAR 2015ː THE TURNER SLIDES REVEAL A NEW IEEE RESTRICTION ON ENGINEERING PRACTICE
Engineering Ethics - How IEEE Can Play an Important Part of the Process, a Presentation to the IEEE Daytona Beach Section, December 3, 2015, Walter L. Elden, P.E. (Ret)
The Charles Turner Briefing 2008 Slides Revealed IEEE's Practice Against Ethics Advice and Ethical Support
Finding his Slide 11 started me on the effort to try and get the IEEE to nullify that view, and to return to providing Ethics Advice and Ethical Support to IEEE members.
This Position Statement was the first writing I did which shed light on Dr. Charles Turner, a Past Chair of the EMCC, a the source of denying IEEE members with ethics advice and ethical support.
Within a few years, that became the written and in practice policy of IEEE, which acted to deny “ethics advice and ethical support” to members, and continues today into 2020. This Position Statement, I wrote in 2015, was the first to bring this history out into the open, for I was there first hand when Read expressed it and Turner experienced it go into operation as an EMCC Member.
O. IEEE YEAR 2016ː TAB ETHICS GAP TASK FORCE
I am trying to work through this a step at a time. Here is where we are up to:
1. At the November 2015 TAB I raised an issue about what ethics activities TAB and the Societies were undertaking, and whether it was sufficient.
2. With the support of TAB I then circulated a survey to societies to solicit information about their activities.
3. TAB then established the Ethics, Society and Technology initiative (this month), which I am chairing. While most of its initial focus is to encourage a discussion on ethics and the design of artificial intelligence, one of its activities this year is to complete the review of current activities and gaps.
4. Following this, we can come up with proposals on how to address gaps.
I agree with you that there is a gap between the final point on our Code of Ethics and the absence of advice on ethical issues to members, and your suggestions will be considered in working out how to close that gap.
The approach I would like to take is to continue along this path: By the end of the year we will have identified the relevant gaps, and can prepare proposals for 2017, including proposals to amend policies or structures if that is the best way to address any problems.
I would much rather see your letter presented in T&S in the context of what is already happening and how the prospects look. If we aim to include your letter in the December issue we could achieve that.
Regards, Dr Greg Adamson President, IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology +61 423 783 527, http://youtu.be/PFFg1ihv-Oo
(Suggestions from Drs Greg Adamson and Stephen H. Unger, both of IEEE SSIT, incorporated)
A discussion on ethics
"For more than 100 years, IEEE has had a code of ethics. Ethics are important as part of our role as a professional organization. At the November 2015 Technical Activities Board (TAB) meeting, the TAB Management Committee asked SSIT to work with some other society representatives to prepare an initial report for the February 2016 TAB meeting on current TAB and society ethics activities, and how these are meeting the needs of our members.
"Walter Elden, a longtime member of SSIT, has written the following background paper – ‘IEEE’s Involvement in Ethics and the Gaps Needing Fixed’ on his experience with IEEE's approach to ethics as input to that report. These are Walter's own views, based on his own experiences. I encourage anyone with experiences or views on the general issue to send these to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, before the end of January 2016. If you are unable to respond by then, but want to express your views, please drop me a note.
Dr Greg Adamson, President (2015-16), IEEE SSIT, email@example.com
The IEEE, starting with one of its founding Societies, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, the AIEE, in 1912 adopted its first Code of Ethics. Since then it has since been involved in ethics in various forms through 2015. However, there have been several gaps which have occurred, which this article addresses and advocates being corrected.
For those Members of the IEEE, in particular some of its Directors and Officers who are relatively new in the IEEE, may lack the history of IEEE’s ethics involvement and then the gaps which subsequently developed. So it will be important for those to read up and learn this important history, to be in an informed position to decide what corrective actions should now be made to restore IEEE to its former leadership role in ethical advice and support of code compliance practices. This article presents a mere overview introduction of this.
Commentary on the Proposed Revisions to the IEEE CODE OF ETHICS Media:Commentary_on_Proposed_Changes_to_the_IEEE_Code_of_Ethics_3r.docx
Why IEEE Members Need Ethical Support When Employed as At-Will Employees Media:Why_Employed_Engineers_Need_IEEE_Ethics_Advice_and_Support.docx.pdf
Products Produced by this Initiative at the End of 2016
The purpose of this Initiative is to ensure every technologist is educated, trained, and empowered to prioritize ethical considerations in the design and development of autonomous and intelligent systems.
- View specifics regarding the Mission and deliverables for the Initiative
- See a list of The Initiative’s Executive and other Committees
- Learn more from Frequently Asked Questions
At the end of the 2016 year, I had received nothing nor did I find anything which the Board approved. There may have been things approved but I was not provided anything.
Relevant New Technology
Ethically Aligned Design
Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Wellbeing with Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems represents the collective input of over one hundred global thought leaders from academia, science, government and corporate sectors in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, ethics, philosophy, and policy.
The overall technology ethics landscape covers three key areas:
- professional guidelines (e.g., codes of ethics) that help define intended behavior by professionals in the field;]
- the impact of (and response to) professional behaviors in the context of those codes of ethics; and,]
- ethical and societal impacts of the technologies themselves.
These are interdependent aspects, with each influencing and/or being influenced by the others.
The IEEE TechEthics program focuses on the third bullet, seeking to ensure that ethical and societal implications of technology become an integral part of the development process by driving conversation and debate on these issues. Since IEEE does not directly fund research, we instead seek to accelerate the generation of ideas, facilitate the vetting of those ideas, and, where applicable, drive consensus around those ideas. The IEEE TechEthics program achieves this through event production, content development, audience engagement and other activities.
P. IEEE YEAR 2017ː ETHICS GAPS IN PROGRAMS COMMITTEE
IEEE Board Committee on Ethics Programs
CEV Letter to 2017 IEEE PRESIDENT KAREN BARTLESON
IEEE Board of Directors sets ethics as a priority in 2017.
To coordinate this range of activities the IEEE Board of Directors has created the IEEE Ad Hoc Committee on IEEE Ethics Programs. This will focus on creating a roadmap for linking all the various activities as a part of making IEEE a global focus for ethics in technology.
New 2017 IEEE Ethics Initiatives
This presents a contribution to the IEHR by Dr. Greg Adamson, IEEE Technical Activities Society on Social Implications of Technology President reporting on new initiatives begun in IEEE in the Ethics area.
We now have several significant activities across IEEE (and I am aware of several other smaller initiatives):
- A new TAB ad hoc, Design for Ethics, for 2017, continuing the work of the task force
- A Standards Association initiated Global Initiative on ethics and AI, which has released an early draft of a major document
- A Standards Association standard on designing ethics, P7000
- The two-yearly IEEE Ethics conference is going annually, with the next one being organised by the South East Michigan Section in November
- TAB has established TechEthics, which has received funding from the IEEE Foundation to hold a workshop later in the year
- There is discussion of setting up a Board of Directors ad hoc on ethics
I am involved in some way in all of these, and I am also on EMCC for 2017. With so much happening the most important thing is to get some coordination happening. I am letting everyone know about the History Ethics Repository, and so you should start to see material being contributed in coming months.
Amidst all of this I haven't forgotten your key point, that under our Code of Ethics we have an obligation to assist members in meeting their ethical obligations, but EMCC is bound not to provide advice. I hope to make progress on this in 2017.
You may be interested to know that a White House co-organized event on AI in 2016 specifically proposed that IEEE and ACM review our Codes of Ethics (and AAAI create one) in order to reflect issues raised by AI.
Dr Greg Adamson
The following was a request from Chair Adamson, requesting inputs from the CEV:
The following recommendations were made to the Ad Hoc Committee by the Concerned Ethics Volunteers, CEV:
Ethics, Society and Technology Initiative
Technology Ethics - Autonomous Devices and Artificial Intelligence
As many of you know, IEEE has been working on a plan for better addressing technology ethics (TechEthics). This began as a response to some recent BoD strategic planning discussions. As a first step, we have asked that forms for approvals, such as in NIC, FDC, and PARs, include sections on TechEthics. On a more substantive note, we have chosen to focus the first TechEthics efforts in the area of autonomous devices/artificial intelligence. Two groups have been created to address the area of Autonomous Systems; they are:
- TA Ethics, Society & Technology (EST) Program: This group, which will be overseen by an ad hoc committee, will lead efforts to create conversations around TechEthics considerations in a variety of technologies, beginning with autonomous systems. They will strive to broaden the thinking, open up possibilities for solutions, and debate issues, which will help inform the IC group’s push towards consensus. The EST Ad Hoc committee was launched in May and has begun developing technical event programming and planning conversations with other associations in the AI space.
- SA Industry Connections (IC) group: This group will focus on the creation of standards and consensus agreements and strive to narrow the discussions to create consensus in the marketplace. More mature matters will be directed to this group to address globally open consensus building, producing codes and standards recommendations, and delivering related workshops. We have named the IC group IEEE’s Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in the Design of Autonomous Systems It was launched in April and we are very happy to announce that it has surpassed 100 members, indicating a clear market need. Participants include global thought leaders from industry, academia, NGOs, governmental agencies and International Organizations such as the United Nations and the World Economic Forum.
To date, the Initiative has already produced two proposals for standards projects and by March of 2017 several more will be submitted. The EST has scheduled an AI Association Meeting at IJCAI in July. In addition, EST and Initiative sessions at ECAI in August are being produced.
This TechEthics approach provides a further embodiment of IEEE’s aspiration to advance technology for humanity through frameworks that consider explicitly critical, non-technical dimensions of technology such as ethics. This new area adds to our already strong areas of technology discovery, definition, applications support, and standards, as well as complementing the new policy area. This can be a transformative new narrative for the IEEE, empowering our technical communities to implement methodologies and products resulting from our consensus building efforts to deliver values driven, ethical innovation defining the modern marketplace. Educational opportunities also exist to engage the general public on ethics issues and concerns, offering an additional opportunity for the IEEE. No other organization has the potential to build such a holistic and beneficial story.
Government organizations and global corporations have begun to understand our unique potential and are offering IEEE privileged relationships and financial support. We believe that within a year IEEE will have access to the C-level leadership of the most powerful corporations in the world. We would be pleased to facilitate any discussions about these important developments and milestones at your convenience.
Dated May 22, 2016
For additional information, contact:
Mary Ward-Callan (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Konstantinos Karachalios (email@example.com)
- Industry Connections Activity Initiation Document (ICAID)
- About Us: The Global Initiative
- The Executive and Other Committees
- What Social Robots CAN and SHOULD Do
Timeline: Elevating Ethics for Engineers ttps://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/timeline-elevating-ethics-for-engineersh
Key Milestones Missing From an Ethics Support Timeline on the Institute https://spectrum.ieee.org/news-from-around-ieee/the-institute/ieee-member-news/key-milestones-missing-from-an-ethics-support-timeline-on-emthe-instituteem
RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE IEEE AD HOC COMMITTEE ON ETHICS PROGRAMS FOR REORGANIZING THE CURRENT EMCC AND RESTORING ETHICS ADVICE AND ETHICAL SUPPORT Recommendations to the 2017 Ad Hoc Committee on Ethics Programs
Contradictory Statements by IEEE on Ethics Advice and Ethical Support Media:Contradictory_Statements_of_IEEE_on_Ethics_Advice_and_Ethical_Support.docx
Ethical Support by IEEE for Members Placed in Professional Employment Jeopardy Media:Ethics_articles_10.pdf<figcaption></figcaption>
Q. IEEE YEAR 2018ː AN IEEE ETHICS CHAMPION IS APPOINTED
At the start of 2018, IEEE President Jim Jefferies appointed Dr. Greg Adamsom to the new position of IEEE Ethics Champion.
This was a new position. Attempts to learn what this position was to accomplish yielded no response from the new Champion. Continued requests were made subsequent to this but at the end of 2018 nothing had been learned about what was accomplished. However, the following was learned about a paper the new Ethics Champion presented at a conference held in Asia that year.
Assoc. Prof. Greg Adamson, IEEE Board of Directors Ethics Champion
Digital Inclusion through Trust and Agency (DITA)
As indicated in its Code of Ethics, IEEE has a unique position: being the largest global association of professionals working with technologies; and addressing the impact of those technologies.
The program Digital Inclusion through Trust and Agency (DITA) is an example of the special role IEEE can play based on this unique position.
“Cyberspace”, the digital world, emerged in the second half of the 20th Century. Access to this on-line world, this world of information, is a precondition for engagement in the 21st Century global community.
IEEE has adopted as policy the aspiration of Internet for All. The DITA program works across the gamut of issues, including access, trust, and human dignity.
Workstreams in DITA
The DITA program takes an end to end view of the challenge, addressing many environments. One of the most important is maintaining human dignity in design of human-to-machine and machine-to-machine handling of identity, including privacy. Cyber security is a key aspect.
This area has proven of particular interest to lawyers working with technology. Technologies considered include IoT and Blockchain.
DITA is also paying particular attention to health technologies including pharmaceutical supply chain provenance.=====
DITA is modelled on IEEE’s highly successful Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems, which resulted in a major report prepared by 250 global experts.=====
TWO NEW IMPORTANT REVISION ITEMS ADDED TO THE IEHR - OCTOBER 2020
Ethics Bylaws Changes Submitted by the Concerned Ethics Volunteers, the CEV, for the June 2018 Board to Consider Adopting
The Concerned Ethics Volunteers, the CEV, developed 2 proposed changes to IEEE Ethics Bylaws, which, if they had been approved by IEEE's Board at the June 2018 meeting, would have restored Ethics Advice and Ethical Support back to the members.
Here, the following, is what was submitted to the new IEEE Ethics Champion, Dr. Greg Adamsom, and the Chair of the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, the EMCC, Magdalena Salazar-Palma, with copies sent to IEEE President Jim Jefferies and Director Kate Duncan, Board Coordinator to the EMCC.
DRAFT ACTION ITEMS NEXT, WERE ATTACHED TO THE LETTER ABOVE, AND WERE DEVELOPED BY THE CONCERNED ETHICS VOLUNTEERS, THE CEV, FOR THE 2018 IEEE BOARD TO CONSIDER ADOPTING TO RESTORE ETHICS ADVICE AND ETHICAL SUPPORT TO MEMBERS. THESE FOLLOWED REQUIRED FORMATTING AND ADDRESSING TO THE PEOPLE TO HANDLE THE REQUESTS.
NOTEː IT WAS FOUND OUT LATER THAT THE CEV NEVER RECEIVED A RESPONSE FROM ANY OF THE 4 WHICH WERE THE RECIPIENTS AND THAT THE 2018 IEEE JUNE BOARD OF DIRECTORS NEVER CONSIDERED NOR APPROVED THE RECOMMENDATIONS.
After continued seeking what was done with these 2 recommended Bylaw changes, the CEV was never informed about what was done with them. It turned out that this was never considered by the June 2018 Board for adoption and the CEV was not able to determine whether they were even presented to the Board for consideration, which is what had been requested.
ETHICS BLOG ARTICLES WRITTEN BY THE CONCERNED ETHICS VOLUNTEERS, THE CEV, AND PUBLISHED BY THE INSTITUTE AS 4 BLOGS.
'''DO IEEE'S POLICIES SUPPORT ITS TAG LINE "ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY FOR HUMANITY’''' https://spectrum.ieee.org/news-from-around-ieee/the-institute/ieee-member-news/do-ieees-ethics-policies-and-practices-support-its-tagline-advancing-technology-for-humanity
Significant Milestones Over the Past 40 Years https://spectrum.ieee.org/news-from-around-ieee/the-institute/ieee-member-news/ieee-ethics-significant-milestones-over-the-past-40-years
When Advice and Support Went Dark https://spectrum.ieee.org/news-from-around-ieee/the-institute/ieee-member-news/ieee-ethics-when-advice-and-support-went-dark
Nine Ways to Restore Ethics Advice and Support to Strengthen IEEE’s Tagline https://spectrum.ieee.org/news-from-around-ieee/the-institute/ieee-member-news/nine-ways-to-restore-ethics-advice-and-support-to-strengthen-ieees-tagline
R. IEEE YEAR 2018 CONTINUTED, PRESIDENT MOURA'S TELECOM ETHICS MEETING
IEEE 2019 President Elect Jose Moura, convened a WEBEX Telecom meeting on August 17, 2018. Attending were Jack Bailey, General Counsel, Greg Adamson, Ethics Champion, Walter Elden, Concerned Ethics Volunteers Editor and Steve Unger, CEV and a Past Ethics Committee Chair.
During a round table set of discussions, various problems, issues and suggestions were shared. Moura and Bailey agreed to meet the following week and to brief then IEEE President Jim Jefferies on what the meeting accomplished and to lay plans for the 2019 year to work on the issues raised.
Ethics and EMCC Issues Raised at Moura WEBEX Telecom
1. Need to restore ethics advice and ethical support by changing Items 1.3 and 1.4 in the EMCC Ops Manual
2. EMCC Membership needs to be on staggered terms to create continuity from year to year
3. Need to permit non-member to member complaints to current member to member
4. Need to handle harassment complaints
5. Member education on ethics and the EMCC needed
6. Younger members need to be recruited to get involved in ethics
7. Articles need to be published in SPECTRUM and INSTITUTE about ethics, the EMCC and ongoing ethics programs
8. Need to develop a family of Ethics Implementation Guidelines along the lines of TAB's technical societies
S. IEEE YEAR 2019ː COMMITTEE ON DIVERSITY, INCLUSION, ETHICS, CDIE
Board Establishes Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Ethics, the CDIE
DR ANDREA GOLDSMITH APPOINTED CDIE COMMITTEE CHAIR
CDIE CHARTER Media:CDIECharter.pdf
CDIE SUBCOMMITTEES AND TASKS Media:SubcommitteesMembersCharters_and_Key_Links.docx
Q and A With Chair of New Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Ethics, CDIE https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-news/qa-with-chair-of-new-ad-hoc-committee-on-diversity-inclusion-and-ethics.amp.html
In 2019 IEEE President Jose Moura requested for Walter Elden to prepare a document with the markups needed to update IEEE Policies which would restore Ethics Advice and Ethical Support. Next are pages 1 and 2 of that document. It was submitted to President Moura and assumed that it was sent to Andrea Goldsmith, Chair of the then Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Ethics, the CDIE, to prepare and submit for the June 2019 Board of Directors to consider approving it.
NOTE: There is no record of President Moura's intent was ever implemented.
Select this link next to see the entire document.
Results of Moura Requested Ethics Restoral Paper
Nothing was ever found out about what the CDIE did with the Moura requested paper in 2019
CDIE 2019 YEAR END REPORT TO BOARD Media:Cdie-final-EOY-Nov142019v2.pdf
IEEE 2019 Board Approves a New Diversity Policy https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-news/ieee-adopts-new-diversity-statement.amp.html
STATUS OF 2019 YEAR END CDIE RECOMMENDATIONS TO BOARD Media:BoD&OUFeedbackStatus_Nov232019.docx
T. IEEE YEAR 2020ː CDIE, MOURA POLICY PAPER, LEGAL AGREEMENT TO PROVIDE ETHICAL SUPPORT
Board Continuation of the Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Ethics, CDIE
Proposed Changes to IEEE’s Code of Ethics Are Out for Comment https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/proposed-ieee-code-of-ethics-revisions
IEEE Ethics and Member Conduct Committee - EMCC
DR. GREG ADAMSON, CHAIR
The original Member Conduct Committee of the IEEE was first established on February of 1978. It was empowered with 3 services to provide:
- Member Discipline
- Ethics Advice
- Ethical Support
Later, In the mid 1990's, an Ethics Committee was formed. It operated an Ethics HOTLINE, published ethics articles, promoted that upon renewal of an IEEEE membership, one had to agree to abide by the IEEE Code of Ethics.
Then during 1997/98 the Executive Committee and Board of Directors terminated most ethics services, retaining only Member Discipline for the MCC to provide. Around 2005 the Ethics Committee was combined with the Member Conduct Committee to form today's Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, or EMCC.
U. IEEE YEARS 2020-2030ː CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE FUTURE
New Topics to Address
- EMCC Oversight
- Long Range Ethics Plan
- ACM CODE as a model
- From Global A/IS to Society Guidelines
- ETHICS POLICIES PAPER MARKED UP
- Add other ethics groups
EMCC Bylaw/Policy to Process Flow:
- Discipline a Member
- Advise a Member on Ethics
- Support a Member Ethically
Break down each Ethics Practice Activity
- ACM/ CS
- GLOBAL A/IS DESIGN
- TECH ETHICS
- SSIT ?
- TAB CONFLICT RESOLUTION
I envision the following for managing and coordinating all IEEE ethics activities into the 2020 decade
- An IEEE ETHICS CHAMPION is established with a senior Ethics Coordinating Committee or Council to assist achieve the mission. This entity is a separate centralized OU from multiple Member Conduct Committees MCCs, which are distributed out into each Region.
- The EMCC develops and interprets the high level Code of Ethics for IEEE. Due to the number and complexity of technologies IEEE Societies handle, this Code will focus on broad, high level canons, intended to provide the principles of good professional conduct to be practiced by the members in their design and development work.
- There will be an OMBUDSMAN function, to be called upon to assist in resolving complex ethical discipline, advice and/or support matters.
- The more technically driven design practices, tailored to each technology area, will be the responsibility of each Society to create in specific Implementation Guidelines. These guidelines will be intended for Technologists to follow and apply in the design and development of technologies, products, equipment and systems.
- When issues and questions arise about the proper ethical choice to be made, the cognizant Society, with assistance as needed from the ECC, will be applied.
- Requests for Ethical Advice will be handled first by RegionalTechnical Societies with assistance from the ECC where needed.
- Regional MCCs will exist to handle and resolve charges of Misconduct and Requests for Ethical Support in matters where a conflict endangers the employment livelihood of the Member.
- This shall be developed and details flushed out further.
V. Suggested Additional Reading Materials
IEEE Ethics Operational Unit Resources
HERE IS A LISTING OF KNOWN IEEE OU’s OR WEB SITES DEALING WITH ETHICS
|IEEE ETHICS ENTITIES||CONTACT INFORMATION|
||APPLICABLE ETHICS ARTICLES
|IEEE CODE OF ETHICS (Applies to Members)||https://www.ieee.org/about/corporate/governance/p7-8.html|
|IEEE CODE OF CONDUCT (Applies to Staff and Members||https://www.ieee.org/content/dam/ieee-org/ieee/web/org/about/ieee_code_of_conduct.pdf|
|IEEE ETHICS HISTORY REPOSITORY, IEHR||WALTER L Elden, Editor,firstname.lastname@example.org|
|ETHICS AND MEMBER CONDUCT COMMITTEE-EMCC||Dr Greg Adamson, Chair
Staff Support: email@example.com Roster: https://www.ieee.org/about/ethics/roster.html
|IEEE CS/ACM ETHICS||https://www.computer.org/press-room/2016-news/code-of-ethics|
|IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in AIs||John Havens, Executive Director, Global Initiative for Ethical A/IS Systems|
|SOCIETY ON SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY, SSIT, ETHICS AND BARUS AWARDS||Jeremy Pitt, SSIT CONTACT|
|TECHNICAL ACTIVITIES BOARD COMMITTEE FOR RESOLVING CONFLICTS, CDIE||https://ta.ieee.org/images/files/ta_ops_manual.pdf, page 37|
|BOARD COMMITTEE ON DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND ETHICS, CDIE||
|CONCERNED ETHICS VOLUNTEERS, CEV||
IEEE Policies Document
The IEEE Policies Document is found here:
The following is from the Policies document.
“Part B - Form and Contents of the Request for Support.
2. The issue, incident(s), or the matter of ethical principle which the person believes is involved together with the specific provisions of the IEEE Code of Ethics deemed relevant or considered to have precipitated the condition(s) of jeopardy;”
Here in the above statement, it is made clear that the request for support deals with “ethical” and not trade union issues. As this is contained in a document higher than the EMCC Operations Manual where the subject restriction is found; thus it can not override the authority given to the EMCC in the above Policy statement.
“4. A full description of the circumstances, events and facts which relate to the ethical matter for which IEEE support is sought.”
This statement makes it abundantly clear that the EMCC is empowered to deal only with ethical issues, not Trade Union matters, so the restriction statement in the EMCC Operations Manual is not applicable here.
“Part D - Responsibilities of the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee b) send to the employer(s) concerned a letter disclaiming any and all purpose or intent to engage in collective bargaining on behalf of the individual with respect to such matters as salaries, wages, benefits, and working conditions, customarily dealt with by labor unions.”
This is an important waiver statement to be sent to the employer, signed by the requesting Member for support. It makes it very clear that the EMCC does not engage in collective bargaining or trade union matters but says nothing restricting it from handling ethical support requests involving professional/ethical issues between an employee-employer. As this same statement is contained in the EMCC Operations Manual, there is no question that the EMCC has any authority to deal in Trade Union matters, only Professional/Ethical. Therefore, the subject restriction statement in the EMCC Operations Manual is not relevant.
AI and Robotic Reference Materials
Future issues IEEE's ethics will need to deal with-advice, support and robotics/AI. This section provides snapshots of activities currently underway which may affect IEEE ethics in the future. This will be an evolving section, subject to changes and updates, as developments occur.
Can They be Taught Ethics, Moral Reasoning, and Should We Trust Them?
- RAS Member Communities
- RAS Technical Committees
- IEEE SPECTRUM SPECIAL REPORT: Trusting ROBOTS
- Articles on Artificial Intelligence
- Experts Answer Your Questions About Artificial Intelligence-AI
- Heartificial Intelligence: Embracing Our Humanity to Maximize Machines
- European Parliment - DRAFT REPORT with recommendations to the Commission on Civil Law Rules on Robotic
- The Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in the Design of Autonomous Systems
- Special Report - Artificial Intelligence
- The Next Step for Artificial Intelligence Is Machines that Get Smarter on Their Own
Driverless Cars and Other Vehicles
Social, Safety, Ethics, Legislation and Other Issues
- A top Silicon Valley investor predicts what the world will look like in 10 years, when roads are full of self-driving cars
- Aviation Experts Urge Caution on Releasing Self-Driving Cars
- Should Your Driverless Car Hit a Pedestrian to Save Your Life?
- The Social Dilemma of Self Driving Cars
- Rules for Self-Driving Cars in Legal Gray Area
- CBS 60 Minutes Demos a Driverless Car
- Can You Program Ethics into a self Driving Car?
- Ethical Dilemmas: Toyota: Not So Fast, Guys
- Mobile World Congress 2017
- White House hopes to shape national policy on driverless cars
- Who should take the wheel in regulating driverless cars?
- U.S. Government Wants V2V Technology In All New Cars To Reduce Crashes
- Vehicle to Vehicle V2V Communications
- Advanced Drivers Assistance Systems (ADAS)
- DRIVE Automotive Technology-Enabling Cars to See, Think, and Learn
- NVIDIA Drive PX-The Development Platform for Autonomous Cars
Cars Under Development
- GOOGLE's Driverless Car
- Google Self-Driving Car on City Streets
- UK to Test Driverless Cars by End of This Year
- DEMO of Autopilot Driving a Car-A Real-Time Commute on Autopilot
- TESLAS Autopilot Feature Probed After Fatal Crash
- NTSB Report Says Tesla Driver Was Speeding in Fatal Autopilot Crash
- Navy Seal Vet Killed Using TESLAS Autopilot-Posted Close Call Video Month Ago
- Tesla parts ways with key Autopilot supplier
- Tesla Said to Offer Theories on Systems Failure in Fatal Crash
- Tesla Model S driver caught sleeping at the wheel while on Autopilot
- Tesla Isn't the Only Company With Bold Plans for Self-Driving Cars
- Driverless vehicles? Even in D.C. streets? An autonomous car takes a capital test run.
- Robots Could Fulfill Online Orders in Minutes
- Clearpath Robotics Blazes a Trail With Its Self-Driving Warehouse Vehicles
- The Man Behind Driverless Race Cars
- These are the crazy futuristic cars of Roborace, the world's first driverless racing series
- Driverless Cars to Get Their Own Formula One-Style Races
- New U.S. drone rules get positive reviews from researchers
- FAA Rules Governing Drone Operations-SUMMARY
- Humanoid Robots to Flying Cars: 10 Coolest DARPA Projects
Autonomous Medical Devices and Applications
- Robot Enhanced Therapy for Children with Autism Disorders
- Would You Trust a ROBOT Surgeon to Operate on You?
- Would You Let a ROBOT Give Your Grandmother Her MEDS?
Robotic Applications in Manufacturing
- Clearpath Robotics Blazes a Trail With Its Self-Driving Warehouse Vehicles
- BOLDLY GO WHERE NO ROBOT HAS GONE BEFORE
Police Use of Robots to Kill
- Using Robots to Kill - Ethics Debated After Dallas Shooting
- Robot's role in killing Dallas shooter is a first
- Killer Robot Used by Dallas Police Opens Ethical Debate
- Police used a robot to kill -- The key questions
- Are Robots Still Just Tools When They Are Used to Kill?
- Is It Ethical to Program a Robot to Kill Us?
- The Legal and Ethical Ramifications of Letting Police Kill People With Robots
- The Inevitabilities of Killer Robots
Military Applications of Autonomous Robotic Systems
- US Rules for Military Drones to Kill
- US military's robotic submarine hunter completes first tests at sea
- Military Robots: Mapping the Moral Landscape
- Arms, AI, and Automobiles: The Increasingly Complex Ethics of Autonomous Robotics
- US: Ban fully Autonomous Weapons
- Department of Defense DIRECTIVE NUMBER 3000.09 November 21, 2012, SUBJECT:Autonomy in Weapon Systems
- Losing Control: The Dangers of Killer Robots (Op-Ed)
- Campaign Grows to Stop Killer Robots
- Fully Autonomous Weapons Systems-FAWS
- Thousands of Scientists Say We Need a Global Ban on Autonomous Weapons
- Do We Want ROBOT Warriors to Decide Who Lives or Dies?
- Why Should We Ban Autonomous Weapons? To Survive
- Killer Robots-New Reasons to Worry About Ethics
- The Military Wants to Teach Robots Right from Wrong
- Law and Ethics for Autonomous Weapon Systems - Why a Ban Won’t Work and How the Laws of War Can
Robotic Code of Ethics and Artificial Intelligence
- A Code of Ethics for Robotics Engineers
- VIEW THE VIDEO: Morals and the Machine
- VIEW THE VIDEO - How to Build A Moral ROBOT
- Machine Ethics-The Robot's Dilemma
- Robotics-Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
- A Code of Ethics for the Human Robot Interaction Profession
- What Should We Want from a Robot Ethic?
- Smart Robots, Driverless Cars Work-But they Bring Ethical Issues Too
- The Big Robot Questions-The social, legal, and ethical problems posed by the coming robotics revolution
- ROBOT ETHICS: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics
- Is it Ethical to Kick a Robot?
- The Next Step for Artificial Intelligence is Machines that Get Smarter on Their Own
Global Ethical and Moral Implications
- Crafting an Ethical Global Society
- Rise of the Robots
- Thousands of Scientists Say We Need a Global Ban on Autonomous Weapons
- Future of Life - An Open Letter on Autonomous Weapons from AI & Robotics Researchers
Rights of Robots and Autonomous Machines
On IEEE Advising and Supporting Ethics for Future Robotic Designers - What Should Its Role Be?
As the IEEE delves into the new area of Robots and Autonomous Systems, a pertinent question needing to be considered is the title of this section. If since the early 2000 period, IEEE has restricted its Ethics and Member Conduct Committee from providing "ethics advice" and "ethical support" to its Members, will this continue to remain its policy when Robots and Autonomous Systems are being designed and the designers come to IEEE seeking guidance on Robotic Ethics? Will there be new Codes of Ethics, but in the future addressing these issues? What guidance, guidelines, panel of experts, etc will be provided to these new designers? Here, I will attempt to envision some ethical situations these future designers are likely to face, with the goal to stimulate thinking now about them and to invite commentary for adding to this Ethics History Repository.
Some Envisioned Robotic Designers' Ethics Issues, Situations and Dilemmas
Will the IEEE need a new code of ethics covering robotics engineering?
It doesn't appear a new robotics code of ethics for engineers can be as simple as our current 10 article one is. If that is correct, it seems that there then needs to be a set of guidelines comprehensively guiding the designer on how to apply these new rules of ethical engagement for autonomous systems and robotic machines. Additionally, it seems that in this new area of intense complexity of ethics, that there ought to be a panel of robotic ethics experts or panels, available and assembled in IEEE which the designers could access. From them they could seek getting guidance, interpretation and directions for how to apply these new rules of ethical conduct.
If in today's much simpler world of ethics, prior to robotic ethics, if as has been shown that the IEEE will not allow its flagship Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, the EMCC, to offer ethics advice or ethical support to its rank and file Members, what might it do during the more complex and far-reaching robotics ethics era that it surely will face in the future?
It seems that the decision-making for how much intelligence to provide and instill in these systems is really going to be in the hands of the designers and it's going be very complex and therefore it seems that they are going to be at more risk for conflicts with their employer over matters of who is responsible for placing what logic or accomplish decision-making in these new machines, in cases of a malfunction an accident or even death. Additionally there will be the legal facet of who is responsible for product liability, when things done by the robot goes wrong and does harm. Will the IEEE be ready to assist one of its Members in such situations?
The IEEE leadership may face an even greater challenge of supporting it's designers, on the one hand, which make up the vast majority of its membership,) versus supporting business owners, directors, industry leaders, corporate entrepreneurs . It therefore may have a dilemma of deciding which sphere of membership it is going to really support; employee Members or Business/Owners Members. While it is not clearly known under what employment laws and rules engineers outside of the United States are engaged by, for certain within the United States they are engaged under an "at-will employment" doctrine which basically states that legally engineer employees can be fired or terminated for any reason whatsoever, morally right or morally wrong. Given this dilemma of engineers employed this way in the United States, it just seems that they will even more so need access to advice, guidelines and where to find how to apply these new robotic ethics standards.
As discussed in an earlier section above on the future directions and issues facing IEEE in the robotics and AI ethics area, the Society on Social Implications of Technology, SSIT, under Greg Adams, it's President, has the lead in this new endeavor under the Technical Activities Board, TAB. They are addressing this area of autonomous systems ethics and will have a very challenging role of how to set out the applications of that for IEEE in the ethics and ethics support area.