Ethics can be as complex or simple as you choose to make it. For us, it’s about being able to look at ourselves in the mirror in the morning, and not be ashamed or feel like we’ve sold out. That what we do for a living and how we did it would make our grandmothers proud. That we might even inspire a twelve year old to follow in our footsteps someday. That one day, hopefully when we’re old and grey and looking back on our lives, that we have no regrets about how we lived. That we adhered unwaveringly to the Golden Rule.
Our technology is almost always used by people working in good faith to make better decisions that have a positive impact. Like all technology, it also has the potential to be used by people for applications that don’t make things better and in ways we consider to be unethical.
Because we make the technology, but our clients are the ones who apply it in the real world, we set expectations for how our technology can be used (e.g. in our software license agreements). We don’t want to work with folks seeking to use our technology to do things or get away with things they shouldn’t be doing. So, aside from a most fundamental requirement that all clients abide by the laws of their jurisdiction, we have another requirement:
That our clients intend to use our technology in good faith to make better quality decisions that help make the world a better place in the course of their business.
This all sounds simple, but the world can sometimes be a complex place.
For example, we have military & defense clients. We loathe violence, and we don’t like military might that coerces or oppresses people. It is because these things exist in our world that the people who serve to defend the freedom and safety of human beings through legal, sanctioned action have our complete support.
We sometimes get asked about our oil and gas clients. These firms don’t produce for their own amusement; they supply the energy that you and I use. If you ever fly on an airplane, travel in an automobile, buy something from a store that didn’t arrive from a short distance away, then you’re a customer of the oil and gas industry. We welcome the opportunity to help make their operations safer, more efficient, and less harmful to the environment. Likewise, we do everything we can to create technology that reduces the potential negative impact of forestry, mining, transportation, and industrial producers.
It’s our policy to refer elsewhere any organization that we believe is likely to use our technology in bad faith or to violate a reasonable person's interpretation of the Golden Rule--whether it be wasting our world's resources, taking imprudent risks that could harm others, or conducting themselves in ways that are technically legal but empirically a bad idea.
And at the end of the day, no employee of Latitude is ever required to work on any project that doesn’t fit with their personal values.
Because it’s also that simple.
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