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Rethinking ethical digital technology

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The world is digitized and the range of applications is ever expanding. Thus, there is now a deep-rooted worldwide dependence on digital technology. All this digitization can be defined as integrating digital technology and human values, enhancing human values ​​instead of letting digital technologies harm human values, what we now call digital ethics. There should be more emphasis on what should be done.

This new vision must be both theoretical and practical. Digital ethics must demonstrate phronesis, practical wisdom where value intersects with knowledge, and practice, practical and thoughtful action. In this way, industry and government will engage, embrace and accept this as a modus operandi.

It is good deeds that promote an ethical digital age. Established rules may provide guidance on the right path, but such rules tend to be tools of blatant superficial compliance.

Within industry and government, a culture of compliance persists, robbing us of opportunities for dialogue and analysis of the complex and multifaceted social and ethical issues associated with digital technologies. In the digital age, superficial compliance must be actively challenged. The mentality of organizational silos must be similarly challenged and replaced with inclusiveness and empathy that embraces his community globally from cradle to grave.

ethical hotspot

In the digital age, people change things. People make digital technology. It is people who use and abuse digital technology. The tension between use and abuse is where ethical hotspots exist. The ethical hotspots are endless. He gives just two recent examples.

In 2020, many of the 736 deputy postmasters and deputy postmaster convictions were found to be due to numerous flaws in the Horizon digital accounting system installed by the post office in 1999, which was mistakenly used by the post office. It was overturned because it was proven to have led to large-scale employee-attributed financial discrepancies. Unverified digital forensics was the only evidence used in a conviction and was clearly an unethical practice. Good conduct could have prevented the wrongful convictions of so many subpostmasters and subpostmistresses.

The Online Safety Bill has passed the UK Parliament. It’s part of a reactive law following many horrific and atrocious acts taking place in the online world. Very detailed discussions and debates continue as public safety, civil liberties, vested interests and other perspectives interact.

But there is one shocking fact about this process. This law comes too late for many people who are suffering in the online world. The suffering inevitably spilled over into everyday life and, sadly, for some, resulted in death.

Such passive laws are beginning to appear all over the world. It is too late and it is the wrong approach to ensure that our ever-increasing reliance on digital technology is beneficial to all of us and not devastating.

Often driven by commercial imperatives, technological advances are meteoric, but the reactive laws and governance involved are usually mediocre. This timeline deviation means that there is often lawlessness in the online world.

Societal impact considerations need to be considered in tandem with technology development in order to generate early warning of potential concerns and provoke timely and proactive legislation and governance. Will this happen? Only if there is a pervasive mind shift caused by new approaches to education and perception for all of us.


Organizations must adopt this broader perspective to ensure that ethical digital technologies thrive. They need to change their view of the feasibility of activities. There are 11 areas an organization needs to exist in order to progress, mature and make an impact.

  1. Sector – A community related to the pursuit of a particular product or service. Communities are best sustained by access, openness, inclusion, and freedom.
  2. Research and Development – ​​This includes participation in extending the body of knowledge through original thinking, experimentation and application.
  3. Providing Services and Products – Providing useful products and services based on effective research and development.
  4. Physical – Identity and culture are expressed through explicit physical entities such as accommodation locations and layouts.
  5. Virtual – Global visibility is achieved through virtual worlds such as social media, video streaming, and web portals.
  6. Politics – Local, national, and international political systems have a significant impact on an organization’s well-being.
  7. Partnerships – Effective service and product delivery relies on good formal and informal connections and subsequent partnerships.
  8. Professionals – Engagement with professional bodies that represent, influence and govern professional practice is essential.
  9. Institutions and Companies – Participation in strategic leadership, management, review and growth.
  10. Finance and Fundraising – Financial governance relies on effective funding covering both traditional funding streams and opportunistic funding activities such as venture capital.
  11. International – Global collaboration with individuals and collective organizations at all levels.

Taking into account the ethical and social perspectives of digital technology, engagement and operations across these 11 areas provide the blueprints and keys to unlocking ethical digital technology in practice.

Simon Rogerson’s latest book, Ethical Digital Technology in Practice, is out this month. His second in a trilogy is his Ethical Digital Technology book. What has happened and what may happen as digital technology continues to permeate. Rethinking how to promote ethical digital technology through good practice.