Beyond good intentions: Navigating the ethical dilemmas facing the technology industry

Report by Paul Silverglate, Jessica Kosmowski, Hilary Horn, and David Jarvis: “There’s no doubt that the technology industry has achieved tremendous success. Its ubiquitous products and services power our digital society. Prolonged ubiquity, scale, and influence, however, have forced the industry to face many unforeseen, difficult ethical dilemmas. These dilemmas weren’t necessarily created by the tech industry, but many in the industry find themselves at a “convergence point” where they can no longer leave these issues at the margins.

Because of “big tech’s” perceived power, lagging regulation, and an absence of common industry practices, many consumers, investors, employees, and governments are demanding greater overall accountability from the industry. The technology industry is also becoming more introspective, examining its own ethical principles, and exploring how to better manage its size and authority. No matter who first said it, it’s widely believed that the more power you have, the more responsibility you have to use it wisely. The tech industry is now being asked to do more across a growing number of areas. Without a holistic approach to these issues, tech companies will likely struggle to meet today’s biggest concerns and fail to prepare for tomorrow’s.

Five dilemmas for the tech industry to navigate

While these aren’t the only challenges, here are five areas of concern the technology industry is currently facing. Steps are being taken, but is it enough?

Data usage: According to the UN, 128 of 194 countries currently have enacted some form of data protection and privacy legislation. Even more regulation and increased enforcement are being considered. This attention is due to multiple industry problems including abuse of consumer data and massive data breaches. Until clear and universal standards emerge, the industry continues to work toward addressing this dilemma. This includes making data privacy a core tenet and competitive differentiator, like Apple, which recently released an app tracking transparency feature. We’re also seeing greater market demand, evident by the significant growth of the privacy tech industry. Will companies simply do the minimum amount required to comply with data-related regulations, or will they go above and beyond to collect, use, and protect data in a more equitable way for everyone?…(More)”.