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ITECH7402 : Professional IT Culture : SOCOG Case


Case Study

Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG)

A year before the start of the Sydney Olympic Games, a complaint was made by a vision-impaired person that the SOCOG website was not accessible to people using screen readers. Screen readers translate design and text input into sound or Braille output. The complaint was not dealt with appropriately and so the issue was unresolved. The original software flaw was identified but not otherwise addressed (cost was perceived as one factor).

People relying on screen readers could not access ticketing information, event schedules or postings of event results. Accessibility to websites is a public requirement. A complaint eventually was made to the Human Rights Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) of the Australian government. The commissioner hearing the case found that SOCOG had acted in a discriminatory and unlawful manner (Adapted from McDermid, 2008).

Discussion Questions

1. Discuss the differences between ethical obligations and legal obligations?

2. In the case above what legal obligation of SOCOG is identified?

3. In terms of ethical obligations, what elements of the ACS Code of Professional Conduct are relevant to
the SOCOG case? See,
  • The primacy of public interest
  • Enhancement of quality of life
  • Honesty
  • Competence
  • Professional development
  • Professionalism
4. From the previous question, for each element of the ACS Code of Professional Conduct explain:
a. the relevance to the case, if you selected it
b. the lack of relevance to the case, if you did not

ACS Code


The Primary of public interest


Enhancement of quality of life






Professional Development




5. Explain how, if observed, the ACS Code of Professional Conduct:
a. could result in good consequences
b. considers the duties of its members
c. recognises rights of others
d. encourages virtuous actions

6. How important is it for IT professionals to have a professional society (for example ACS, PMI, IEEE)?


Professional IT Culture

1. Legal obligations are enforced by law while ethical obligation is done because it is the moral thing to do.
2. In the SOCOG case, the management had a legal obligation to make its website accessible to all use

rs. Given that accessibility is a public requirement, the management was legally required to consider accessibility standards when developing the website to ensure all people including the visually impaired could access it.
3. With respect to ethical obligations, enhancement of quality of life is the main element of ACS Code of Professional Conduct that is relevant to SOCOG case. Under this value, professionals are required to ensure equal access to benefits gained from ICT by all stakeholders. In accordance to this value, SOCOG management has to recognize that ICT plays an instrumental role in enhancing quality of life of people especially those with disabilities(ACS, 2017). As such, the management has an ethical obligation to develop a website that accessible to all users.

ACS Code


The Primary of public interest

Relevant. The interests of the stakeholders impacted by the website have to be considered.

Enhancement of quality of life

Relevant. Management has to recognize the role the website plays in enhancing the quality of life of people.


Not relevant. Public trust is not an element of the SOCOG case.


Relevant. The management should provide a website the meets the needs of users.

Professional Development

Not relevant. The management doesn’t have to stay informed on emerging technologies.


Relevant. The management has to a role to improve public confidence in the website.

5, If the ACS Code of Professional Conduct was observed, the management would have recognized the right of all people to have access to the website, encourage the members to be professional and considerate of others hence create an accessible website that could be accessed by all people.
6. It is important for IT professionals to join a professional society as they provide continuing education opportunities and information that keeps them updated on industry standards and best practices (Wenger, 2011).


ACS. (2017). ACS Code of Ethics. Retrieved from ACS:

Wenger, E. (2011). Communities of practice: A brief introduction.

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