The modern world we live in is now connected more than ever before. In the age of technology, people are almost constantly online and rely on devices they use every day to communicate, manage, and handle their daily tasks.
What is an Ethical Internet?
In its simplest terms, ethical internet is described as moral principles online – in this case, both the positive and negative impact the internet plays in your everyday life. With the internet evolving and changing every day, tech companies and internet users need moral principles that govern their safety, privacy, and lives online. In other words, much like the world thrives and lives on certain moral principles, the challenge now is to develop necessary and fundamental ethical regulations of the internet.
Internet users make use of the internet in a variety of ways, from social media to shopping online, settling cash transactions, searching the web through search engines, downloading music, gaining knowledge, playing games, and much more. With ethical internet, tech companies try to understand what internet users want from the internet and how it ultimately benefits them in return for the information they provide it.
With the internet being a major part of everyone’s lives, most are well aware of the risks associated with it. As a result, there’s been a spotlight cast on Silicon Valley tech companies that call on them to implement ethics and set in stone deep security measures in protecting user information. Privacy, big data, and internet access are some parts of the equation that make up this big umbrella that surrounds every part of our lives.
Privacy is one of the most fundamental concerns that surround the ethics of the internet and the users that encompass it. The ethics of internet privacy is difficult to comprehend especially when users find themselves signing into a website and agreeing to its privacy settings to then having the website change those very same settings. Tech companies should address these concerns and work on protecting all their users’ information from all threats and security breaches.
Seeing that the world has evolved into a hyper-connected world and the Internet of Things, invasion of internet privacy should be strictly avoided. In this case, the question that comes to mind is how does one determine what is legal, illegal, and most especially ethical? Whilst it's legal for advertisers to inspect our online habits for the intention of becoming targeted consumers, the ethics claims how far is too far when it comes down to our activities being monitored?
Apple CEO, Tim Cook, raised his concerns on empowering users and their data, explaining that users should always be in the ‘know’ on how, why, and where their data is being used at all times. He argued that data belongs to users and that they should have “the right to have personal data minimized, the right to knowledge, the right to access, and the right to security.” Cook went on to state that privacy is a human right for all and advocated that all tech leaders join the bandwagon.
With tech giants like Facebook coming under fire for data privacy crisis – facing numerous data breaches and lawsuits for sharing data with unauthorized apps – goes to show how far and wide big data is. With increased surveillance, companies need to ensure their sophistication in handling and dealing with massive information, management, and data.
Ethical internet goes further to tackle the issue where individuals and citizens don’t have access to the internet or even a broadband connection. Much like education, the UN has acknowledged that internet access is a basic human right. The fact that millions around the world don’t have the access to go online and search the web is an ethical matter that governments and corporations should tackle for their citizens, youth, and last but not least educational institutions. It is really ethically imperative that all people have equal access to the internet no matter their background.
What makes ethical internet so important?
Many internet users feel a cloud of mistrust surrounding their lives online and so what societies at large need now is a set implementation of ethics for the vast body of technology they use. Without ethical internet, tech companies will sooner or later subject themselves to failure as trust is an integral part of the equation to keeping those same internet users by guaranteeing and eliminating surveillance.
With the world increasingly gaining traction in the digital world, internet users need governments, companies, and consumers that are well aware and forcefully push for a more dynamic and harmonious ethical internet. It is a priority that should drive conversations in order to protect them all not only in the digital space but follow through to their lives as well.