Senior citizens and the ethics of e-inclusion
The ageing society poses significant challenges to Europe’s economy and society. In coming to grips with these issues, we must be aware of their ethical dimensions. Values are the heart of the European Union, as Article 1a of the Lisbon Treaty makes clear: “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity…”. The notion of Europe as a community of values has various important implications, including the development of inclusion policies. A special case of exclusion concerns the gap between those people with effective access to digital and information technology and those without access to it, the “digital divide”, which in Europe is chiefly age-related. Policies to overcome the digital divide and, more generally speaking, e-inclusion policies addressing the ageing population raise some ethical problems. Among younger senior citizens, say those between 65 and 80 years old, the main issues are likely to be universal access to ICT and e-participation. Among the older senior citizens, say those more than 80 years old, the main issues are mental and physical deterioration and assistive technology. An approach geared towards the protection of human rights could match the different needs of senior citizens and provide concrete guidance to evaluate information technologies for them.
KeywordsDigital divides E-inclusion Informed consent Right to dignity Senior citizens
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Badcott, D. (2003). The basis and relevance of emotional dignity. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 6(2), 123–131. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/klu/mhep/2003/00000006/00000002.
- Banner, L. W. (2001). Coming of age: A cultural studies approach to aging. Journal of Women’s History, 12(4), 212–214. http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/journal_of_womens_history/v012/12.4banner.html.Google Scholar
- Cacioppo, J. T., & Hawkley, L. C. (2003). Social isolation and health, with an emphasis on underlying mechanisms. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 46(3), S39–S52. http://muse.uq.edu.au/journals/perspectives_in_biology_and_medicine/toc/pbm46.3x.html.
- De Hert, P., & Gutwirth, S. (2006). Privacy, data protection and law enforcement: Opacity of the individual and transparency of power. In E. Claes, A. Duff, & S. Gutwirth (Eds.), Privacy and the criminal law. Antwerpen, Oxford: Intersentia.Google Scholar
- Demunter, C. (2005). The digital divide in Europe. Statistics in focus, 38/2005, Eurostat. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_OFFPUB/KS-NP-05-038/EN/KS-NP-05-038-EN.PDF.
- Demunter, C. (2006). How skilled are Europeans in using computers and the Internet? Eurostat. http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/news.cfm?redirection=1&item_type=library&tpa_id=40.
- EU Committee of the Regions. (2007). Conclusions of the Conference-debate of the Commission for Constitutional Affairs, European Governance and the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. Münster, 2 May 2007. http://cor.ip.lu/COR_cms/ui/ViewDocument.aspx?siteid=default&contentID=571cbb4a-376f-4ed9-9214-aa2883e2a765.
- European Commission. (2000). Towards a European research area, Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, COM(2000) 6 final, Brussels, 18 Jan 2000. http://ec.europa.eu/research/era/era-history_en.html.
- European Commission. (2001) European Governance: A white paper, COM(2001) 428 final, Brussels, 25 July 2001. http://ec.europa.eu/governance/white_paper/en.pdf.
- European Commission. (2005). Communication from the Commission on the Social Agenda. COM(2005) 33 final, Brussels, 9 Feb 2005.Google Scholar
- European Commission. (2006). Creating an innovative Europe: Report of the independent expert group on R&D and innovation appointed following the Hampton Court Summit and chaired by Mr. Esko Aho, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg. http://ec.europa.eu/invest-in-research/action/2006_ahogroup_en.htm.
- European Commission. (2007). The European research area: New perspectives. Green paper. COM(2007) 161 final. Brussels, 4 Apr 2007. http://ec.europa.eu/research/era/pdf/era_gp_final_en.pdf.
- European Commission. (2007). Ageing well in the information society, action plan on information and communication technologies and ageing, an i2010 initiative. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. COM(2007) 332 final. Brussels, 14 June 2007. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:52007DC0332:EN:NOT.
- European Commission. (2007). Commission Staff Working Document. Accompanying document to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Ageing well in the Information Society, SEC(2007) 811, Brussels, 14 June 2007.Google Scholar
- European Commission. (2007). European i2010 initiative on e-Inclusion: “To be part of the information society”. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. COM(2007) 694 final. Brussels, 8 Nov 2007.Google Scholar
- European Commission. (2008). “Ageing well”: European Commission unleashes €600m for development of new digital solutions for Europe’s elderly people. Press release IP/08/994, Brussels, 23 June 2008. http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/994&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en.
- European Commission. (2009). Commission earmarks €1bn for investment in broadband—frequently asked questions. Press release. MEMO/09/35. Brussels, 28 Jan 2009. http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/09/35.
- European Court of Human Rights. (1992). Case of Niemietz v. Germany. Judgment. Strasbourg, 16 Dec 1992.Google Scholar
- European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE). (1999). Ethical issues of healthcare in the information society, Opinion No. 13, 30 July 1999. http://ec.europa.eu/european_group_ethics/avis/index_en.htm.
- European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE). (2005). Ethical aspects of ICT Implants in the Human Body, Opinion No. 20, 16 March 2005. http://ec.europa.eu/european_group_ethics/avis/index_en.htm.
- European Parliament and the Council. (2001). Directive 2001/20/EC of 4 April 2001 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to the implementation of good clinical practice in the conduct of clinical trials on medicinal products for human use, OJ L 121/34, Brussels, 1 May 2001. http://europa.eu/eur-lex/pri/en/oj/dat/2001/l_121/l_12120010501en00340044.pdf.
- Finkielkraut, A. (1985). What is Europe? The New York review of books, 32(19). http://www.nybooks.com/articles/article-preview?article_id=5274.
- Foucault, M. (2001). The birth of social medicine. In J. D. Faubion (Ed.), Essential works of Michel Foucault 1954–1984. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
- Fries, J. F. (1980). Aging, natural death and the compression of morbidity. New England Journal of Medicine, 303(3), 130–135. http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/303/3/130.
- Gibson, H. B. (2000). Loneliness in later life. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
- Habermas, J. (1989). The structural transformation of the public sphere: Inquiry into a category of Bourgeois society. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Hyysalo, S. (2007). “Review of Pascale Lehoux, The problem of health technology—policy implications for modern health care systems”, [Routledge, London, 2006], in EASST Review, 26(2). http://www.easst.net/review/july2007/hyysalo.
- Lohr, S. (2008). For a good retirement, find work. Good Luck. The New York Times. 22. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/22/weekinreview/22lohr.html.
- Long, C. R., Seburn, M., Averill, J. R., & More, T. A. (2003). Solitude experiences: Varieties, settings, and individual differences. Per- sonality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29(5), 578–583. http://psp.sagepub.com/content/vol29/issue5/.
- Monahan, T., & Wall,T. (2007). Somatic surveillance. Surveillance and Society, 4(3), 154–173. http://www.surveillance-and-society.org/articles4(3)/somatic.pdf.
- Moody, H. R. (1994). Four scenarios for an aging society. The Hastings Center Report, 24(5), 32–35. http://www.jstor.org/pss/3563497.
- Power, A., & Wilson, W. J. (2000). Social exclusion and the future of cities. London: Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics.Google Scholar
- Rokach, A. (2000). Loneliness and the life cycle. Psychological Reports. 86(2), 629–642. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/docdel/000020031171/2000/86/2.
- Sakairi, K. (2004). Research of robot-assisted activity for the elderly with senile dementia in a group home. SICE 2004 Annual Conference, Vol. 3, Aug 2004, pp. 2092–2094. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=1491788.
- Scheff, T. (1990). Microsociology: Discourse, emotion and social structure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Schwartz, P. M. (2000). Beyond Lessig’s code for Internet privacy: Cyberspace filters, privacy-control, and fair information practices. Wisconsin Law Review, 2000(4), 743–788.Google Scholar
- Söderman, J. (2001). Transparency as a fundamental principle of the European union. European Ombudsman. http://www.euro-ombudsman.eu.int/speeches/en/2001-06-19.htm.
- Sreenivasan, G. (2005). A hybrid theory of claim-rights. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies. 25(2), 257–274. http://ojls.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/short/25/2/257.
- Stevens, N., & van Tilburg, T.V. (2000). Stimulating friendship in later life: A strategy for reducing loneliness among older women. Educational Gerontology. 26(1), 15–35. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/uedg/2000/00000026/00000001;jsessionid=4etb1mboasbi6.victoria.
- Sunstein, C. R. (2007). Republic.com 2.0. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Tamura, T., et al. (2004). Is an entertainment robot useful in the care of elderly people with severe dementia? Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. 59(1), M83–M85. http://biomed.gerontologyjournals.org/content/vol59/issue1/.Google Scholar
- Tunstall, J. (1966). Old and alone: A sociological study of old people. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
- Tyler, T. R., & Belliveau, M. A. (1995). Dealing with tradeoffs among justice principles: The motivational antecedents of definitions of fairness. In B. B. Bunker and J. Z. Rubin (Ed.), Conflict, cooperation and justice. San Francisco: Jossey Bass Inc. Publishers.Google Scholar
- Walker, A. (2000). Public policy and the construction of old age in Europe. The Gerontologist, 40(3), 304–308.Google Scholar
- Weiser, M., Gold, R., & Brown, J. S. (1999). The origins of ubiquitous computing research at PARC in the late 1980s. IBM Systems Journal, 38(4). http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj/384/weiser.html.
- Wray, R., & Robinson, J. (2009). Digital Britain report set to push broadband for all by 2012. The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/jan/28/digital-britain-broadband.