Code 2018 Update Project

Code 2018 Update Project

The latest version of the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (“the Code”) is the 2018 version, which was adopted by the ACM Council on June 22, 2018. (The Code is also available as a PDF booklet with introductory remarks from the leadership of ACM.)

Previous to that action the Code had not been updated since 1992. Much had changed since then, and the Code needed to be updated to reflect shifts in both technology and society. The ACM convened a task force of stakeholders from many organizations to produce an update of the Code.

The 2018 Code is meant to be an update of the 1992 code, not a wholesale revision. We were particularly concerned about possible blind spots or anachronisms that may have resulted from changes in technology or the profession since 1992.

The remainder of this page documents the main actions and processes of the 2018 update project.

Project Organization and Task Force Members

Ultimate authority for The Code rests with the ACM Council. The Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) serves as an advisory body for the ACM Council, and was charged with coordinating a task force that drafted the update to the Code. COPE was instructed to recruit a task force consisting of experts in the field as well as experts in ethics, governance, and law.

Code 2018 Executive Committee (Members of COPE)

  • Don Gotterbarn, Chair
  • Bo Brinkman
  • Catherine Flick
  • Michael S Kirkpatrick
  • Keith Miller
  • Marty Wolf
  • Kate Vazansky

Code 2018 International Task Force

  • Eve Anderson
  • Ron Anderson
  • Amy Bruckman
  • Karla Carter
  • Michael Davis
  • Penny Duquenoy
  • Jeremy Epstein
  • Kai Kimppa
  • Lorraine Kisselburgh
  • Shrawan Kumar
  • Andrew McGettrick
  • Natasa Milic-Frayling
  • Denise Oram
  • Simon Rogerson
  • David A. Shamma
  • Janice Sipior
  • Eugene Spafford
  • Julia Stoyanovich
  • Les Waguespack

Other contributors from the ACM Committee on Professional Ethics:

  • Florence Appel
  • Fran Grodzinsky
  • Anthony Lobo
  • Norberto Patrignani

History of the Project and Changes to the Code

The Code 2018 revision involved 3 major drafts. At each stage the task force published an article discussing the changes from the previous draft, as well as the process involved at that particular stage. Some stages involved feedback from the task force members, while other stages allowed comment from all ACM members.

  • Draft 2 to Draft 3: Don Gotterbarn, Amy Bruckman, Catherine Flick, Keith Miller, Marty J. Wolf. 2018. ACM Code of Ethics: A Guide for Positive Action. Commun. of the ACM 61, 1 (January 2018), 121-128. DOI:
  • Draft 1 to Draft 2: Bo Brinkman, Catherine Flick, Don Gotterbarn, Keith Miller, Kate Vazansky, Marty J. Wolf. 2017. Listening to Professional Voices: Draft 2 of the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Commun. of the ACM 60, 5 (May 2017), 105-111. DOI:
  • 1992 Code to Draft 1: Bo Brinkman, Don Gotterbarn, Keith Miller, and Marty J. Wolf. 2016. Making a positive impact: updating the ACM code of ethics. Commun. ACM 59, 12 (December 2016), 7-13. DOI:

Links to Other Related Articles

  • Marty J. Wolf. 2016. The ACM code of ethics: a call to action. Commun. ACM 59, 12 (December 2016), 6-6. DOI:
  • Bo Brinkman, Don Gotterbarn, Keith W. Miller, and Marty J. Wolf. 2016. All hands on deck for ACM Ethics: updating the Code, revising enforcement, promoting integrity. SIGCAS Comput. Soc. 46, 3 (December 2016), 5-8. DOI:
  • Don Gotterbarn. 2016. THINKING PROFESSIONALLY: Codes of ethics—: the conscience of a profession: connecting technology and society. ACM Inroads 7, 4 (November 2016), 33-35. DOI: