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Global ICT‐ethics: the case of privacy

Global ICT‐ethics: the case of privacy Purpose – The world wide use of information and communication technology (ICT) is one aspect of globalisation. In the ethical discussion of the implications of ICT the right to privacy is in focus. However, ICT‐ethics has been developed in a Western context and hence, privacy might be a Western value without relevance in other cultures. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to discuss the general problem whether one can expect a global convergence on ICT‐ethics, with the right to privacy as a case in point. Is privacy a universal or contextual value? Design/methodology/approach – In order to answer the research question, methods for conceptual and ethical analysis are used. The concept of privacy is analysed and an argument asserting that there is a deep disagreement between Western and Japanese understanding of a right to privacy is critically examined. Findings – Privacy is a vague concept and it is not possible to identify one Western view of privacy and, hence, to distinguish between the Western and – for example – the Japanese views of privacy. Common arguments for privacy within ICT‐ethics do not presuppose contextual Western premises. While globalisation implies increasing inter‐cultural communication one may well envisage a growing global convergence of a right to privacy. Thus, there is not a deep cultural disagreement concerning the right to privacy. Originality/value – The paper critically examines arguments for the view that privacy is a Western value without relevance in Japan. It clarifies the meaning of privacy and provides reasons why one can expect a global convergence of a right to privacy in particular and ICT‐ethics in general. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society Emerald Publishing

Global ICT‐ethics: the case of privacy

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1477-996X
DOI
10.1108/14779960810866819
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The world wide use of information and communication technology (ICT) is one aspect of globalisation. In the ethical discussion of the implications of ICT the right to privacy is in focus. However, ICT‐ethics has been developed in a Western context and hence, privacy might be a Western value without relevance in other cultures. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to discuss the general problem whether one can expect a global convergence on ICT‐ethics, with the right to privacy as a case in point. Is privacy a universal or contextual value? Design/methodology/approach – In order to answer the research question, methods for conceptual and ethical analysis are used. The concept of privacy is analysed and an argument asserting that there is a deep disagreement between Western and Japanese understanding of a right to privacy is critically examined. Findings – Privacy is a vague concept and it is not possible to identify one Western view of privacy and, hence, to distinguish between the Western and – for example – the Japanese views of privacy. Common arguments for privacy within ICT‐ethics do not presuppose contextual Western premises. While globalisation implies increasing inter‐cultural communication one may well envisage a growing global convergence of a right to privacy. Thus, there is not a deep cultural disagreement concerning the right to privacy. Originality/value – The paper critically examines arguments for the view that privacy is a Western value without relevance in Japan. It clarifies the meaning of privacy and provides reasons why one can expect a global convergence of a right to privacy in particular and ICT‐ethics in general.

Journal

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in SocietyEmerald Publishing

Published: Apr 4, 2008

Keywords: Privacy; Communication technologies; Ethics; Globalization

References