What Is Digital Ethics And Technological Privacy
The development and implementation of information and communication technologies (ICT) in society have brought with them new ways of communicating and relating; immediate access to information and the transfer of our privacy is now part of our day today. This digital transformation also supposes, and as we can see from time to time, new dangers, opportunities, and dilemmas that society will have to face together so that technological advances are a benefit for all. For this, a new digital ethic is necessary with which we can establish the bases for coexistence and that also ensures the rights of digital citizens.
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What Is Digital Ethics
We could say that digital ethics is the necessary social code to solve the problems that Internet use is causing; We understand these problems as intellectual property rights, cyberattacks on security, limits on freedom of expression, regulation of large corporations, digital disconnection, conduct on social networks and the privacy of our data.
Once 40 business leaders signed a Digital Declaration establishing a series of principles on which to build digital ethics, a concept that, like ICTs, is destined to grow and develop at the same time as these, to offer an answer to the problems that arise from them. These principles include:
- Participation: The development of digital skills is an integral part of the education of every citizen anywhere in the world.
- Dynamic Digital Society: Digital products and services must continue to develop and bring benefits to society.
- Data And Privacy: Respect for the privacy of citizens must be ensured through responsible, safe, and transparent handling of their data.
- Cybersecurity: You must cooperate to reduce cyber threats and strengthen the security of people in the digital environment.
- Dialogue Cooperation: Stakeholders from any place and sector must dialogue and collaborate to further develop the digital future.
In short, digital ethics has several actors, on the one hand, user ethics, on the other the corporate ethics, and the ethics of applied technology. But, also, it is important to understand that ethics does not depend on software, but on the people behind it; If the programmer of an algorithm already does so with some bias the algorithm will be biased.
Digital Ethics And Privacy On The Internet
With the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), social networks or Big Data, privacy on the Internet has become one of the most important issues, both for governments and official institutions and for private corporations and citizens themselves in their role as users. The latter are increasingly concerned about the privacy of their data; who collects them, for what and if they are protected.
The General Data Protection Regulation (RGPD) is one of those measures taken by the institutions, in this case, those of the European Union, to create a legal framework in which citizens are better informed about what happens to their data when giving their consent so that they can be processed by a third party, in addition to giving them a series of rights that they can exercise over them, known as ARCO rights (access, rectification, cancellation, opposition, to which limitation and portability were added).
But currently, when it comes to digital ethics and privacy, there is still a long way to go, especially for corporations and the business world, which are the ones who are exploiting new technologies to achieve more benefits, as is the case with the use of Big Data in decision making.
Thus, Big Data has been used to know the profiles of consumers and predict their behavior, violating the privacy of users, whose data could, until recently, be generated, transferred and analyzed without their knowledge or approval. The risk increases when we think about data related to health, preferences, decisions or contacts, monitoring of social networks for security-related purposes, etc. All of this can lead to unethical practices, such as profiling, monitoring, discrimination, exclusion, government oversight, and loss of control.
This from companies, but there are also ethical risks in the digital behavior of citizens regarding privacy, such as when a private video is shared in a WhatsApp group that may violate the privacy of one or more people.
Does Technological Ethics Influence Business Management
Ethics and technology or what is right and what is not when we talk about the uses of technology ? is a topic that has been debated for a time at the business level, the consulting firm Gartner placed digital ethics and privacy as one of the 10 trends technology in 2020. Corporations have begun to become aware of the importance of establishing a series of ethical principles when using technological advances.
Companies are aware of the ethical challenges that future development of AI and the use of data will or will pose in different disciplines, for example, those related to health. The president of Samsung, Young Sohn, already expressed in an interview with Bussines Insider the possibility that in the future (not too far away) DNA information could be collected, analyzed and classified for the sake of scientific research, acknowledging his concern regarding the ethical implications that the use of this type of tools could have, underlining the need that they should be guided by principles and be used with clear purposes and not with the sole objective of profiting.
In conclusion, digital ethics and technological privacy are fields to which different actors must contribute, from institutions, through corporations, to citizens themselves and trying to ensure that the development of ethical principles for the digital world succeeds in putting themselves at the par than technological development, especially when laws lag so far behind (let’s think that Google started rolling in 1998, collecting our data for decades without any control, until the arrival of data protection laws and, especially the GDPR in 2018, 20 years later than the creation of the computer giant).