The disclosure of the Prism program by whistle blower Edward Snowden raises a question about IT and the moral part it has to play in today’s society.
At the centre of the disclosures about Prism was the revelation that some of the world’s largest internet companies were part of the information sharing programme. Among the brand names are Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, Skype, Apple, YouTube and Microsoft – whose current advertising campaign leads with: “Your privacy is our priority.” These are companies who have vowed to protect us and the personal data that we provide during our interactions.
But it’s not just privacy issues that internet companies are coming under fire for. The BBC recently reported that a number of leading internet companies had been called to Downing Street to reach an agreement on doing more to take down illegal images.
So do internet companies have a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure our safety whenever we go online?
Bryan Glick, editor of Computer Weekly has written a blog on this very topic. Entitled ‘Morality and ethics – the next big thing for IT suppliers’ Bryan observes that with greater influence of technology on our lives comes greater responsibility.
Bryan says: “For smart IT suppliers looking for a new way to differentiate themselves, trust, morality and ethics are the next big thing.” As a technology PR agency and of course internet user, we couldn’t agree more. Brands that approach the internet and their users with an ethical and moral responsibility, and don’t just allude to it in their terms and conditions, will do well following what may become a huge backlash against technology.