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Ethical reflections on the digital divide

Ethical reflections on the digital divide During the past decade, a fairly extensive literature on the digital divide has emerged. Many reports and studies have provided statistical data Digital Divide Network, 2002 NTIA, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000 pertaining to sociological aspects of the divide, while some studies have examined policy issues involving universal service Camp and Tsong, 2001 and universal access Brewer and Chuter, 2002.Other studies have suggested ways in which the digital divide could be better understood if it were reconceptualized in terms of an alternative metaphor, e.g. a divide having to do with literacy Warschauer, 2002, power Moss, 2002, content Carvin, 2000, or the information environment Floridi, 2001. However, with the exception of Johnson 2001 and Koehler 2002, authors have tended not to question at least not directly whether the digital divide is, at bottom, an ethical issue. Many authors seem to assume that because disparities involving access to computing technology exist, issues underlying the digital divide are necessarily moral in nature. Many further assume that because this particular divide has to do with something that is digital or technological in nature, it is best understood as a computer ethical issue. The present study, which examines both assumptions, considers four questions 1 What exactly is the digital divide 2 Is this divide ultimately an ethical issue 3 Assuming that the answer to 2 is yes, is the digital divide necessarily an issue for computer ethics 4 If the answer to 3 is yes,what canshould computer professionals do bridge the digital divide http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society Emerald Publishing

Ethical reflections on the digital divide

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1477-996X
DOI
10.1108/14779960380000230
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

During the past decade, a fairly extensive literature on the digital divide has emerged. Many reports and studies have provided statistical data Digital Divide Network, 2002 NTIA, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000 pertaining to sociological aspects of the divide, while some studies have examined policy issues involving universal service Camp and Tsong, 2001 and universal access Brewer and Chuter, 2002.Other studies have suggested ways in which the digital divide could be better understood if it were reconceptualized in terms of an alternative metaphor, e.g. a divide having to do with literacy Warschauer, 2002, power Moss, 2002, content Carvin, 2000, or the information environment Floridi, 2001. However, with the exception of Johnson 2001 and Koehler 2002, authors have tended not to question at least not directly whether the digital divide is, at bottom, an ethical issue. Many authors seem to assume that because disparities involving access to computing technology exist, issues underlying the digital divide are necessarily moral in nature. Many further assume that because this particular divide has to do with something that is digital or technological in nature, it is best understood as a computer ethical issue. The present study, which examines both assumptions, considers four questions 1 What exactly is the digital divide 2 Is this divide ultimately an ethical issue 3 Assuming that the answer to 2 is yes, is the digital divide necessarily an issue for computer ethics 4 If the answer to 3 is yes,what canshould computer professionals do bridge the digital divide

Journal

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in SocietyEmerald Publishing

Published: May 1, 2003

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