September 5, 2018
Technology is rapidly expanding in each and every part of the world, bringing new mediums, platforms, and apps that change the way we behave, finish tasks or communicate.
In almost every manual effort we put into doing different things, there is technology involved to carry out the same duties. Everything from conducting research work, detecting fraud, carrying out translations, teaching and carrying out surgeries has gone digital.
The digital world gets manifested in the form of smartphones, personal computers, cloud computing, AI applications, the internet and many other digital assistants.
We use technology to communicate with one another, to date, play games, organize information and many other things. In short, we have become marionettes of the “toys” we created. The question however is; are we adhering to digital morals and ethics?
It is very important to design a moral compass and attainable digital ethics into the world of technology today. This is more so because of the disadvantages and possibilities of experiencing consequences that come with a misuse of technology advancement.
Government organizations and political parties have had to change their systems many times due to hacking and other cybercrime activities threatening confidential data that if leaked could create major chaos.
The moral challenges of information technology
With the upsurge of technology, a lot has evolved and many people have changed the way they do things. Privacy is no longer a concern as everything we do is out in the digital world.
Technology continues to erode morals and bring changes to cultures every day. People continue misusing what they get from technology making them vulnerable and easily swayed.
You have to be very emotionally intelligent not to be carried away by the trends that come along with technology. The internet, for example, offers free unbridled information to anyone.
There is too much information, some of which is very damaging. Many people are not able to analyze and evaluate the validity of data or information from the internet before they use it.
Smartphones have become another need added to consumerism that is almost as important as processes like eating or drinking. What makes them even more special are the apps. There is an app for almost everything in the market.
You want to find out about your winning teams, there is an app for that. You want to do grocery shopping; there is an app for that. Apps act like our extended minds. However good they are, they come with many problems.
Hackers use apps to get information from unsuspecting users and organizations. Malware and viruses get into our tech devices via apps and websites. The creators of these only have one goal – to destroy or to steal information.
So what are the bright minds at app development companies doing about the risk that comes with app use. Developers and digital designers are now directing their focus to the ethics behind an app to prevent the future threat of corporations, agencies and businesses being sued.
An ethical approach towards app building, cybersecurity, and social media
While most app creators take privacy and security into consideration, they forget a very important factor, the ethical implications of the app. The creators leave the users to use their own judgment and decide what’s ethical and act accordingly.
App creators should look into the following things in order to protect users- Data accuracy, data quality, the validity of the analytics, information presentation in the app, visual and audio effects ob the users.
App creators should note that they are responsible for all the decisions their users make and should, therefore, make a good evaluation of the ethical implications of the app before releasing it into the market.
Another area that requires a moral approach is cybersecurity. Organisations can only infuse the best cybersecurity ethical standards by introducing and implementing proper guidelines, practice policies and a code of conduct for all staff members to adhere to. Without effective cybersecurity, there is a bigger chance of opening the door to cyber-attacks, malware spyware, phishing and other forms of hacking.
That’s the reason why many corporations and businesses dedicate a big chunk of their budget to hiring white hat hackers (also known as ethical hackers), who ensure a secure IT infrastructure for the security of the data and fight the attacks coming their way.
Is there something like ethical hacking, one might ask. There is, and in case you were wondering, these kinds of hackers search and determine the vulnerabilities of corporate systems and software the same way black hat or “bad hackers” would. The interesting thing here is that both of the hacker categories are similar to each other fighting for the right and wrong, where one fixes weaknesses and threats and the other leaks and exploits them for malware purposes.
Social media is another digital development that raises many questions when it comes to users’ ethics and morals. Social media keeps the community involved so every time a user connects with a profile, he or she is joining a larger community populated with numerous profiles and pages.
There is a need to respect other users in social media. To be ethical in social media, you have to be authentic, transparent and communicate clearly. Cyberbullying is one of the worst crimes that can happen on social media networks and users need to be taught about the repercussions of cyberbullying.
Though technology advancement comes with many advantages, there is every need for designers to look into ways of introducing a moral compass and an ethical approach towards digital development.
Many people today rely on technology to accomplish duties or experience some entertainment. People have become like slaves to technology and if everything is left to them to decide what is ethical or morally correct, then it will lead to disaster.
Checks have to be put into place in order to protect the masses from accessing sensitive data that could lead to bad consequences, and restrictions on data usage should draw the fundamental line.
Rilind Elezaj is a tech enthusiast from Prishtina, Kosovo. He graduated in Computer Science and has a passion for sharing tech-related information that can help society grow.