Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ethics in Administration

Today, Slashdot covered a story from MSNBC about unethical high level IT workers. MSNBC reports that 1 in 3 have used "...administrative passwords to access confidential data such as colleagues' salary details, personal e-mails or board-meeting minutes...".

It doesn't specifically say that they were sysadmins, but lets not kid ourselves. We're given a lot of power. As we all learned from Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility, or at least that's the concept. In reality, people abuse their access. Sometimes it's as innocuous as installing unauthorized software. Other times it's to access corporate financial data.

We're put in a position of trust. We hold the "keys to the kingdom", as they said in that article. It's unfortunate that there are people who would betray that trust, and it's also unfortunate that those of us who wouldn't bear the scrutiny from the people who can't tell the difference.

This is why I think groups like LOPSA(League of Professional Systems Administrators) are valuable. Abiding by their Code of Ethics precludes performing stupid-admin-tricks like spying on corporate email.

If you're interested in joining a professional guild of SysAdmins, both LOPSA and SAGE are valid choices. There's a brief write-up on the history of them by Derek.