Data, Dollars, and Unintentional Subversion of Human Rights

MON, FEB 12, 2007 (1:21:16)

Thomas White argues that one of the unanticipated consequences of some recent decisions in the IT industry is a disregard for the importance of privacy as a fundamental human right.

Given the speed of technological change in the IT industry, it should surprise no one that ethical issues in the industry develop at a brisk pace as well. It should also come as no surprise that, in such a fast-paced environment, decisions made with good intentions may have serious unintended consequences.

In each case, companies cite good intentions for their decisions--maximizing profit, operating legally, for example. However, White contends that the explanations that these companies offer for their behavior is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature and role of business particularly in a democracy. He also argues that a richer understanding of business will lead to better decisions.

Bentley University
Human Rights Series
Media Shift: Digital Revolution Series