Internet & E-Governance

The goal of the OLBIOS Advisory Group is to help you ask the right questions, raise awareness and inform you on the ethical issues you are confronted with, using ethics not as a constraint machine but as a basis for a stronger, deeper, more conscious and creative approach to your field.

Is the Internet a value-free zone?

What are the promises and dangers of the Internet?

Does the Internet levels all distinctions, encouraging detachment?

Is the Internet an outside political power? Is this extra-political status at the same time negative ( since it has no political power) and positive (rational, disinterested, reflective)?

Since it stays outside politics, people in it can criticize and reflect endlessly, and never act?

Is the Internet an ambiguous space, with groups everywhere and no qualifications needed to join, where everyone and anyone can have an opinion on anything and everything? Is it an anonymous and ubiquitous platform offering the opportunity to never take any real, risky commitments? Ethical implications.

Is anonymity a virtual commitment but not a real one?

Can the Internet change our notions of identity?

Does the Internet encourages experimentation, but only because it has no consequences?

In which ways can the Net become a valuable resource?

Could the very multiplicity of information eventually break down the ethical sphere?

Has cyberspace changed our view of space? Has it altered our written language? Has it made us into more interior beings by communicating so much with unspoken thought?

The IAB’s (Internet Activities Board) definitions of the proper use of the resources of the Internet. History, nature and specificity of the Internet.

The dispersed nature of the Internet makes any central control of the medium impossible – consequences.

Elitist tolerance of dissent and antipathy to control still pervading the debates on Internet.

The American-centred internet and the massive influence by American culture and values.

Ethical implications of social networking.

Search engines: privacy, censorship, fairness, access issues, trust, intellectual property issues.

Gated communities in cyberspace, and commerce on the Internet.

Cyber-smut, children’s access to objectionable material; legislation issues.

Internet blocking. Access, Internet, and Public Libraries.

Security of personal information and invasion of privacy.

The idea of spiritual machines.

Sexually explicit content on the Internet.

Access to Internet and disparities between rich and poor.

Practicing Law on the Internet (confidentiality, software piracy and licensing policies, advertising and communication).

Data mining from the perspectives of utilitarianism, fairness, rights, common good, and virtue ethics.

Privacy and security of personal information. The issues raised by terrorist attacks.

E-mania and E-mail Overload.

Employers watching e-activity of employees: invasion of privacy?

Online Gaming.

Social responsibility of the video game industry.

On the various forms of Regulation. How to regulate Violence on the Internet? Is legislation the right approach?

Internet Addiction.

Gender stereotyping.

Educational games.

The IT Industry.

Ethical issues surrounding free software.

The Open Source example; on innovation and the common good.

Ethical boundaries in Intellectual property, the X979 Jumpstart case.

E-waste and environmental damage. Who is responsible?

Dealing with the unanticipated consequences on technology.

Software piracy, illegal software use.

Can the Internet support a multiplicity of value systems / cultures? Can it ignore customer / (non)-user opinions?

Responsibilities of governments / police / Internet service providers / operators of services in the Internet / consumers / parents / teachers.

The need for new defense mechanisms and protection of children.

How to apply separate/different national legal systems to global cyberspace? On Jurisdictional competence.

Technical complexity and impossibility to apply “old” regulatory conventions from the worlds of publishing and broadcasting.

Populist campaigns against the Internet, exaggerating its dangers. The Web as a threat.

Necessity to modernise related legislation / More high-tech crime fighters / “Note and talk down” mechanisms.

Labelling and filtering software / “walled gardens” for children / better supervision.

Providing information /education to Internet users.

Task force undertaking advice and awareness.

The many faces of Internet criminality.

American vs. European values as applied to Internet content?

Borderless and/or geo-location checkpoints (and how would they work).

Importance and depth of cultural differences; how Internet use and control is different around the world.

The need for new, flexible means of resolving Internet-related disputes.

Misappropriation of Internet resources.

Establishing agencies -such as the IFCC- to handle Internet ethics violations.

Copyright and intellectual property law.


On Hate sites.

Dissemination of rumors.

Character assassination under the guise of news.

The digital divide: who has access? The information-rich and the information-poor.

The overwhelming quantity of information.

On censorship, junk mail and spamming, viruses & pyramids.

The various identities of the Internet: Is it a soapbox? A refuge from law & order? A gigantic video game? A non-regulated loose federation with no central node?

Applying the principles of ethics through e-governance : Access facility / Public portal / Possibility of providing services according to unified and comparable standards within the administration (personnel & procedures) as well as among administrations (interconnectivity, €“ interoperability, flexibility in the information flow, data analysis reinforcement and capacity).

Forgery (in all forms) on the Internet.

Participation in decision making through the Internet.

Internet as another tool for cultural domination.

E-governance and the Principles to apply:
– Digitalization of relationships
– On-line applications, standardization of procedures, portals and legal sites
– Automation of transactions, eliminate interface/interest conflicts
– Considerable reduction of cost, distance and time, elimination of intermediates, clientelism and favoritism
– On line quest, forms
– Traceable responsibilities, higher control and follow-up
– Information encoding techniques.

Cases: South Korea’s “open system”/ Malaysia’s “smart card” / Morocco’s e-customs.

Studying some examples of e-governance: driving license, identity card, birth certificate, vehicle registration document, declaration taxes, health services.