Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 181–194 | Cite as

Neither good, nor bad, but dangerous: Surveillance as an ethical paradox

  • Graham Sewell
  • James R. Barker

Abstract

We argue for a discursive ethic of surveillancethat accounts for the paradoxes that thephenomenon presents to today's organisationalmembers. We first we develop a genealogy ofprivacy and illustrate its relation tosurveillance, focusing on the antinomianrelationship between the “public” and “private.” Then we review the common ethicaltensions that arise in today's technologicallyintensive workplace. Lastly, we develop acritical approach to the ethical status ofprivacy and surveillance – a “micro-ethics” – that remains open todiscursively-based negotiation by those whofind themselves at the verypoint of scrutiny.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham Sewell
    • 1
  • James R. Barker
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ManagementUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Department of ManagementUnited States Air Force AcademyUSAF AcademyUSA

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