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Ethics in Cyberspace
Summary of the Book- the Ethics of Cyberspace by Cees Hamelink
Cees Hamelink is not new in the field of study of the principles relating to the communicating world and their association with civil liberties of mankind. Hamelink has accumulated his skills and views on all fields of communication and authored a book on the ways that most of the democratic society need to be resorted to in order to systematize the cyberspace. Hamelink, in his previous publications, attempted to evaluate the products, system and institutions of traditional industries vis-a-vis the morality of the people and liberty of mankind with a view to identifying these industries firmly and intentionally amidst as well as accountable to the civil society worldwide. He proved both of them to be essential. The book asserts of the facts that the control of the cyberspace worldwide should be guided by the public necessity rather than subject to the wills and motives of the private enterprises.
Cees lay stress on human participation and reiterated the view that the debatable communication on the issue will be capable of finding out the agreement on generalized moral standards considered significant in the sphere of cyberspace control. The book strives to reveal the very ideas concerning the ethical standards and necessary interferences those are essential to make the cyberspace receptive and responsible to the public aspirations. The book strives to solve the problem of intersection between the necessity of governments control over the World Wide Web in respect of its access and choice of substance and the next alternative of the Internet to be left to the jurisdiction of private individuals uncontrolled so as to be taken care of by them. Hamelink in his prelude mentioned that the Cyberspace technologies attempt to create a virtual world, which is not perceived in complete isolation from the real one. The existence of the real world is felt in terms its influences on the virtual world and alternatively, the influence of the virtual world is also quite evident in the real world.
To illustrate it may be pointed out that the game on the World Wide Web seems to be a dream world, however the news that is heard, after spending the entire day on the game, when presents about the case of the murders, killings, robbery, harassment and crimes a uniformity in the strategies as that of the computer game can easily be visualized in these cases. The introductory chapter of the book of Hamelink, delineates the problem of choice more particularly the moral choice. Hamelink attempts to bring out the strategies delineate moral choice and related ethical discourses. In the later portions of this chapter he emphasized on the characteristics and influences of Information and Communications Technology. His visualizations on the influence of Information and Communications Technology on the culture of the society are considered to be direct and perceptive while the concluding section dealing with social transformation reflects his skill, expertise, mastery and scholarship. The section is considered most useful to the executives that deal with the human statistics with out being open to the elements of recent Information and Communications Technology.
The next chapter brings out the variations in our morality as a result of the impacts of Information and Communications Technology. Mankind has different types of ethics that a person generally possesses or disseminates, which can be categorized under the heads-personal, professional, corporate and social. The latest changes in the innovations in Information and Communications Technology intensify such differentiations. The new problems along with old ones include virtual sex, and hacking. The added magnitude to the old problems is the possibilities of escaping being caught up in a cyber crime which is the higher in comparison to the traditional ones. This is possible due to the added features of size and speed on one hand and the combination of the ambiguity of virtual multiple persona and anonymity. The third chapter is concerned with the ethical principles basing on which the responsible society is expected to formulate its control over the cyberspace. Hamelink strived to provide explanations with a traditional touch on ethics and control and advocates in favor of civil liberties and freedom as the foundation of control of cyberspace of the society. The arguments of Hamelink are put forth clearly and in an understandable manner. The presentation of the idea in the whole chapter is found to be an enlightened one. The next chapter presents the civil liberties of mankind as the basis and finds out that the fairness and righteousness spells out the control of the cyberspace.
The fifth chapter is presented as one of the greatest chapter in the book the justification to this is accorded in terms of our concerns with the threats and safety particularly after the incident of 9-11. The illustrations, the problems and our anxieties are so lucidly presented in this chapter that it is worth reading for every one and particularly, by the computer users and Internet surfers. It is quite worth reading the section dealing with the software crashes, the points that make the software undependable, the software itself, and the users of the software. The sixth chapter presents the various problems associated with the new Information Communication and Technology. The two controversial legislations are presented in the book. These Acts are refuted as being encouraged by the entertainment industry and motivated the Internet user to condemn them as bad regulations and promulgated with biased motives.
Even though these two legislations attempt to safeguard the copyrights however are not successful in ensuring the just use of the liberties of the consumer in the correct perceptions. The new Act under process sought to ensure that all digital tools are to be formed with integrated protection mechanisms. This is so extreme that the Act even forbids watching on the TV a home video shot by the family. Hamelink also points out the anxieties associated with the right to speak and awareness with regard to the new ICT policies and cyberspace controls. The final chapter is an argumentation as well as an appeal for democratizing the controlling process and emphasizes on the participation of people in the process of choice of technology and determination of the base for controls.
The main contentions of the book is spread though questions on the beliefs and aspirations, ethics and legitimacy and technologies and applications, the infrastructures and practices, associated with the cyberspace presently. The world environment of rapid technological progress and relentless applications has resulted in universal recognition of policy making in retrospection. This resulted in propositions of various situation-oriented ethical codes for cyberspace that is said to hinder the very purpose. The concern of moral accountability is challenging in view of new sciences and applications. This however does not signify a shortage of ethical standards on cyberspace and virtual world, presently available. Cees Hamelink has emphasized in his book, about the association of the personal ethical code, professional ethical code and corporate ethical code. The abundance of such principles rather seems unwarranted. However, the necessity of these principles is felt due to the fact that the new virtual world is like the Pandora's Box containing all the possible ills and it is more vulnerable in the hands of corporations and the private sectors.
We are motivated to feel that this system is in existence to cater to our basic aspirations and for our well being. It affords to establish that they are well aware even though it is justified to presume that they are well aware because they have the money. We are posed in an undesirable situation visualizing the relevance of the digital technology indicating towards the exploration of wisdom and its application in the sunrise industries, the industries associated with cyber-finance and life-sciences, while the GM technologies emphasizing on ethical codes flooded with the writ of corporations. The non-corporate ethical codes fetch us a very little legitimately. The codes having applications at national regional or multilateral levels seem to pull little more. The deficiencies in terms of lack of a universal law to control such a potential application on the one hand and abundance of ethical codes of conduct for guidance of cyberspace on the other is regarded as demonstration of a 'wild west' mentality having tremendous impact on the control of the cyberspace.
Some opinions are floated that the cyberspace as an electronic no-man's land should be left free from any governmental restraints and to be in the hands of the private corporations or individuals. The supports of governmental intervention in nations like Singapore and Myanmar have been viewed as substitute in form of enforcement and censorship. There exists a broad range of associations who sitting on the fence take in for questioning the utilization of cyberspace for growth and civil liberty. This differentiation in utilizations, however, is not supported by increased participations in the critical areas associated with the choice of technology, design of infrastructure, and prediction of global futures. Cees emphasized that the crucial area of utilization…[continue]
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