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Ethics, Norms, and Rules in Cyberspace

Chapter 10

Focusses specifically on ethical issues in the international cyber environment.  It allows students to think about issues from equity and justice, to trust in the online environment. 


Here again, students should begin to identify parallels between other types of issues in international relations (such as the issue of corporate social responsibility and the responsibilities of corporations to practice stewardship in the international system) and those which exist in cyberspace. 

Learning Objectives

At the end of this chapter, students will be able to:

  • Define ethics and describe the relationship between ethics, laws and values

  • Describe particular ethics challenges presented by emerging technologies

  • Apply the technology paradigms of technological determinism, designer’s intent and social construction of technology to describing the sources of technology’s values and their relation to ethics

Questions for Discussion

  1. How should the international community negotiate the role which a technology hosting platform like Google or Twitter should play in enforcing use norms within the global system, and how does the timing of technological closure affect that role?Can we expect any actor – including a tech platform – to enforce use norms if indeed technological closure has not occurred?

  2. Is it possible for the international community to somehow accelerate the process of technological closure (which is most often presented as an organic process which occurs gradually over sometimes centuries, in a process which is simultaneously bottom up and top down), so as to arrive at a specific set of meanings regarding acceptable and unacceptable uses of technology?

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