Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Newcomer I

Code of Ethics and Protests

Hello all -
I have been thinking of attending a public demonstration for net neutrality. It is in front of a Verizon store to protest the FFC vote to change ISP's Title II classification.
But, and it was kind of a random thought while driving home, do public demonstrations breach any part of our Code of Ethics? Specifically the Preamble:
The safety and welfare of society and the common good, duty to our principles, and to each other, requires that we adhere, and be seen to adhere, to the highest ethical standards of behavior.
While I don't think this protest will at any point become violent odder things have happened. There will be media coverage and a lot of different people. . Does voicing an opinion that you believe is for the "common good" demonstration the standards of behavior an ISC2 member should exhibit?
Thank you -
3 Replies
Newcomer III

Good question.  If you have a reasonable expectation that your participation in an event will result in your party instigating violence (like you bring or stash weapons, create plans for high-ground, etc.), then you're probably in danger of an ethics violation.  If you're advocating for the ethical use of information and promotion of privacy in a peaceful manner, you're probably fine.

You only say it's impossible because nobody's done it and lived.
Contributor III

Hi Jess. What a great question to begin with! I think we have to start with the Canons of the (ISC)2 Code of Ethics to answer your question:

  • Protect society, the common good, necessary public trust and confidence, and the infrastructure.
  • Act honorably, honestly, justly, responsibly, and legally.
  • Provide diligent and competent service to principles.
  • Advance and protect the profession.

There is nothing in the Code of Ethics that restricts you from voicing your opinion in a legal way. In our society you have the right to free speech and nothing can overrule that, not even being a member of the most awesome group of security professionals. You believe that net neutrality is important for society and you want to defend that. That's 100% in line with Canon I of the Code of Ethics so I don't see any problem there.


Canon II tells us to "Act legally". For the sake of simplicity I am assuming that you are not planning to perform any legal acts while partaking in the protests, so I think there is no issue here either.


The last 2 canons are more related to your work for organizations, clients and employers as well as serving the profession in general. It is extremely important to note that the canons are put in a very specific order. As an example, your employer could ask you to install a snooping device that would intercept all internet communications for all citizens in the United States. While it would definitely be in line with Canon III, a complaint could be raised based on Canon I (protect society) or Canon II (act legally) without much push back at all. This is what it means to hold ourselves to a higher standard.


I hope this clarifies your question.


Disclaimer : I am the current chair of (ISC)2 and the Ethics Committee works under my leadership. This post is not formal guidance from (ISC)2 or its Board and purely reflects my personal opinion based on the information you provided in your question.


Sic semper tyrannis.
Newcomer II

Hi Jess


I hope you read Wim’s post.  He has posted sage advice.


Personally, I think we should stand up for net neutrality!


If you do go, please do make sure you are safe and have alternate ways to leave.  As you have said, odd things have happened - even at a peaceful protest.