Skip to main content

Check Your Tech - Considering the Provenance of Data Used to Build Digital Products and Services

  • 235 Accesses

Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT,volume 587)


Digital products and services are producing unprecedented amounts of data worldwide. These products and services have broad reach and include many users and consumers in the developing world. Once data is collected it is often used to create large and valuable datasets. A lack of data protection regulation in the developing world has led to concerns about digital colonization and a lack of control of their data on the part of citizens in the developing world. The authors of this paper are developing a new digital ethics curriculum for the instruction of computer science students. In this paper we present two case studies we have developed with a focus on data ethics in a developing world context. Each case study is accompanied by a list of specific questions to be used by the instructor to allow students to evaluate the implications of introducing new digital products and services in a developing world context as well as a generic case studies checksheet that allow deeper reflection on the intended and unintended consequences of introducing new technologies.


  • Digital ethics
  • Digital colonization
  • Computer science education

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-65828-1_16
  • Chapter length: 10 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-65828-1
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 1.


  1. 1.

    “Ishmaelia” is a fictional African country created by Evelyn Waugh for his 1938 novel “Scoop”.

  2. 2.

    “Qumran” is a fiction Middle Eastern country created by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn for their 1982 episode of “Yes Minister” entitled “The Moral Dimension”.


  1. World Economic Forum, How much data is generated each day. Accessed 06 Mar 2020

  2. Measuring digital development Facts and figures 2019, International Telecommunication Union Publications. Accessed 06 Mar 2020

  3. Kwet, M.: Digital Colonialism: US Empire and the New Imperialism in the Global South. Race Class 60(4), 3–26 (2019)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  4. Russo, F.: Digital technologies, ethical questions, and the need of an informational framework. Philos. Technol. 31(4), 655–667 (2018).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  5. Floridi, L.: Foundations of information ethics. In: The Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics, pp. 1–23. Wiley (2009)

    Google Scholar 

  6. Ethics4EU, Erasmus+. Accessed 06 Mar 2020

  7. Spradling, C., Soh, L.K., Ansorge, C.: Ethics training and decision-making: do computer science programs need help?. In: Proceedings of the 39th SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, pp. 153–157 (2008)

    Google Scholar 

  8. Doteveryone, Consequence Scanning, An Agile Practice for Responsible Innovators. Accessed 06 Mar 2020

  9. Martin, D.A., Conlon, E., Bowe, B.: A constructivist approach to the use of case studies in teaching engineering ethics. In: Auer, M.E., Guralnick, D., Simonics, I. (eds.) ICL 2017. AISC, vol. 715, pp. 193–201. Springer, Cham (2018).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  10. Dyer, B., Hughson, M.A., Duns, J., Ricketson, S.: Teaching note: creating a corporations law case study. Legal Educ. Rev. 8, 161 (1997)

    Google Scholar 

  11. Pearl, J.: Heuristics: Intelligent Search Strategies for Computer Problem Solving. Addison Wesley, Boston (1984)

    Google Scholar 

  12. Yin, R.K.: Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  13. Hofstede, G.: Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks (1984)

    Google Scholar 

  14. Ahmed, T., Mouratidis, H., Preston, D.: Website design guidelines: high power distance and high context culture. Int. J. Cyber Soc. Educ. 2(1), 47–60 (2009)

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors of this paper and the participants of the Ethics4EU project gratefully acknowledge the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dympna O’Sullivan .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 IFIP International Federation for Information Processing

About this paper

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this paper

O’Sullivan, D., Gordon, D. (2020). Check Your Tech - Considering the Provenance of Data Used to Build Digital Products and Services. In: Bass, J.M., Wall, P.J. (eds) Information and Communication Technologies for Development. ICT4D 2020. IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, vol 587. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-65827-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-65828-1

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)