Togetherness and respect: ethical concerns of privacy in Global Web Societies


Today’s computer network technologies are sociologically founded on hunter-gatherer principles; common users may be possible subjects of surveillance and sophisticated internet-based attacks are almost impossible to prevent. At the same time, information and communication technology, ICT offers the technical possibility of embedded privacy protection. Making technology legitimate by design is a part of the intentional design for democracy. This means incorporating options for socially acceptable behaviour in technical systems, and making the basic principles of privacy protection, rights and responsibilities, transparent to the user. The current global e-polis already has, by means of different technologies, de facto built-in policies that define the level of user-privacy protection. That which remains is to make their ethical implications explicit and understandable to citizens of the global village through interdisciplinary disclosive ethical methods, and to make them correspond to the high ethical norms that support trust, the essential precondition of any socialization. The good news is that research along these lines is already in progress. Hopefully, this will result in a future standard approach to the privacy of network communications.

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Correspondence to Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic.

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Dodig-Crnkovic, G., Horniak, V. Togetherness and respect: ethical concerns of privacy in Global Web Societies. AI & Soc 20, 372–383 (2006).

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  • Privacy
  • Cyberethics
  • E-polis ethics
  • Legitimate by design
  • Disclosive ethics
  • Intentional design for democracy