Report: Can We Make the Digital World Ethical?

Digital developments such as the internet of things and big data bring risks for consumer privacy and safety that are largely ignored by policy makers. The EU should create a new regulatory body for technology to address the societal issues that come with the growing number of connected devices and extensive data gathering, write three British technology experts in the new report Can we make the Digital World ethical?

Whether it’s a wearable device tracking your nutrition intake or a large scale IT-system keeping records of your health history, computer software is becoming increasingly important in our lives. We are now seeing examples where this software poses risks in terms of safety and surveillance to citizens, says Peter Warren, one of the report writers. The technology and its implications are too much of a concern for society not to take action. We suggest that the EU should set up a new technology regulatory body, equivalent for software to the Federal Drug Administration in the United States, to handle these kinds of issues.

The report, which was published on Feb 18th by the Brussels-based web forum Netopia, is based on interviews with leading experts in computers, robotics, ethics and the law. Among them are Melissa Hathaway, previously first adviser on cyber security policy to US President Barack Obama, and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford.

Download the full report here.

The launch event on replay here.