Open Ethics Code of Conduct

Updated: 2022-06-16

It’s certainly easy to sign a Code of Conduct, and not so easy to put it into practice. Most certainly, though, doing the right thing has value in itself.


The Code of Conduct (Code) aims to strengthen the Open Ethics Initiative’s community by fostering an all-inclusive environment for the members and by helping them model their behaviour in order to ensure the organization’s long-term positive impact, longevity and functionality, the spirit of the community, and integrity.

Moreover, the scope of the Code of Conduct is to ensure the ethical success of the non-profit and to allow Open Ethics Initiative & its members to work on a shared vision, which aligns with the organization values and objectives.

General Intent

  • To build respect, credibility and strategic importance for the Open Ethics Initiative within our community, as well as outside of it.
  • To build trust among all organization constituents by maximizing the open exchange of information.
  • To strive to achieve the highest levels of social responsibility.

Members’ Intent

  • To assist the Open Ethics Initiative in achieving its objectives and goals.
  • To inform and educate current and future members, the public and private sector, and the general public about working towards a safer digital space.
  • To be an active advocate & contributor to Open Ethics Initiative and to champion the development of others as ethical leaders.   

Code of Conduct

In accordance with the trust placed in me, on all occasions:

Do not harm

I will consciously avoid harmful actions or omissions. Am I doing the right thing? Can my action or inaction harm someone? What should I do to prevent harm from happening? How do I make sure that I am acting in the best interest of the community?


I believe that we best develop and enrich our own culture through the communication and contribution of diverse skills, experiences, and backgrounds. I won’t discriminate on any ground against other members. Does my attitude allow others to freely express and act? How do I foster diversity of thoughts and backgrounds in the conversation? Is my attitude inclusive?

Conflicts of interest

I understand that conflicts of interest can impact the decisions we make, erode trust within teams, and harm the organization’s reputation. Which scenarios bring conflicts of interests? Am I transparently disclosing conflicts of interests if they arise?

IP and confidentiality

I recognize the value of information and ideas, whether they belong to the Open Ethics Initiative or to someone else. I will respect the privacy of the other members. I will fuel the open-source nature of the initiative, while respecting licensing terms and confidentiality of information before ideas are made public. Are my actions building or eroding trust? Am I disclosing confidential information? What is the impact of this information disclosed at a wrong time?


I will openly explain and take appropriate action regarding possible technology and operational risks that could affect individuals or other organizations. What are the possible risks? How disclosure could help to mitigate those risks?

Credit originality

I will give credit when credit is due, I will not plagiarize, and I will only take credit for my own original work. Am I using resources developed by others? Do I use proper citations and references to give credit?  How do I say “Thank you?” in the most generous way?


I understand that all forms of bribery are prohibited regardless of local customs. I won’t pay any bribes, kickbacks or facilitate  payments at any time for any reason.


I will respect the laws whenever and wherever I conduct business. I will do so to build trust with communities, strengthen them, and contribute to fair societies.


I recognize our special commitments to vulnerable societal groups such as children, seniors, or individuals with low socioeconomic status. Is my attitude or actions towards them changing things for better or for worse? How could I help?

Cultural boundaries

While the Open Ethics Initiative is bound by the laws and regulations in which the organization is incorporated (Estonia, EU), I will act to increase awareness of any local legal requirements and cultural differences, and present our initiative’s culture as sensitively as possible.


I recognize that the success of the initiative relies on a large network of partners such as vendors, funds, and consultants and that their actions reflect on our initiative’s reputation as much as our own. Are our partners doing business with integrity? What can I do to ensure that our partners are committed to our values?

Political activity

I will make sure my political participation won’t give rise to an improper appearance of partiality. I will not attribute my political affiliation, nor my personal contributions to any political cause, party, candidate or charity as coming from the Open Ethics Initiative.


I contribute and I share my ideas as a member of the Open Ethics Initiative, but I won’t speak or write on behalf of the whole Open Ethics community/organization.

Code’s Limitations

Of course, no Code of Conduct can cover all possible situations. In cases of doubt, you may seek advice from an authorized source within the Open Ethics Initiative’s board. 

Breaching the Code of Conduct (don’t do that)

Breaching the Code of Conduct will lead to getting your membership revoked, including access to the community benefits and to the projects’ channels.

Reporting Misconduct

Any breaches of the Code of Conduct can be anonymously reported for investigation here.

In undertaking my role as a member (proponent/ representative / partner / ambassador) of the Open Ethics Initiative, I act in the best interest of the initiative, in a way that is consistent with its goals, mission and vision and I respect the organizational rules and regulations.