Ethics and Information Technology 4 (2):159-165 (2002)

Jeremy Moss
University of New South Wales
The ethical and political dilemmas raised byInformation and Communication Technology (ICT)have only just begun to be understood. Theimpact of centralised data collection, masscommunication technologies or the centrality ofcomputer technology as a means of accessingimportant social institutions, all poseimportant ethical and political questions. As away of capturing some of these effects I willcharacterise them in terms of the type of powerand, more particularly, the ‘Power-over’ peoplethat they exercise. My choice of thisparticular nomenclature is that it allows us todescribe, firstly, how specific technologiesoperate and second, exactly what sorts ofconstraints they impose on people. The reasonfor this focus has to do with a further aim ofthe essay, which is to intervene in aparticular type of debate that is often hadaround the appropriate use and scope oftheories of power that are employed in thinkingabout ICT, especially those theories associatedwith the work of Michel Foucault. There isconsiderable use of his work in computerethics, but my claim will be that despite theproductive uses of his work in the areas ofsurveillance, for instance, it does not exhaustthe larger potential of his work on power and,in part, `government.' I will argue that inorder to properly understand the politicalimpact of some aspects of ICT, especially thedigital divide, one needs an account of howpower operates that includes more traditionaltypes of power-over. To the extent that I willdeal with these concerns, the paper is both acontribution to debates about the nature andscope of Foucault's theory of power and to theissue of the effects of the digital divide
Keywords Foucault   Information and Communication Technology (ICT)   coercion   digital divide   force   power
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1019983909305
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References found in this work BETA

The Subject and Power.Michel Foucault - 1982 - Critical Inquiry 8 (4):777-795.

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The Categorical Imperative and the Ethics of Trust.Bjørn K. Myskja - 2008 - Ethics and Information Technology 10 (4):213-220.
Ethical Reflections on the Digital Divide.Herman T. Tavani - 2003 - Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 1 (2):99-108.
At the Foundations of Information Justice.Matthew P. Butcher - 2009 - Ethics and Information Technology 11 (1):57-69.
Social Epistemology and the Digital Divide.Don Fallis - 2003 - CRPIT '03: Selected Papers From Conference on Computers and Philosophy 37:79-84.

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