In our increasingly interconnected and digital world, an era defined by the relentless march of technology, the intertwined ideas of tech ethics and privacy have assumed exceptional significance and have become a central part of our daily lives.
Technology and Privacy
Technology is transforming how we communicate, work, and live from smartphones to social media platforms. While the modernisations offer several benefits, they also raise important questions about ethics and privacy. As we traverse the digital landscape characterised by ceaseless innovation and interconnectedness, our ethical compasses and personal boundaries are being tested more than ever.
People appreciate their right to privacy and the security of their private lives. No one would like people to have unsolicited access to their confidential information. However, recent developments in information technology put privacy at risk. Lowering the degree of control over personal data and making it more likely that access to personal data could have various unfavourable effects. The crux of the concern is–what information should be regarded as private or confidential. Who should have access to it, and who should give permission for others to access it are all hotly contested issues.
Never before has technology, as we know it now, been more pervasive in people’s lives. Most emerging technologies are quietly at work in the background as we go about our daily lives. Whether checking our mobile devices, shopping, using travel cards, making purchases remotely, or accessing information or media, many technologies collaborate to give us quick options, responses, and solutions.
The goal of data protection is to keep your information private. It involves controlling who has access to information and data. It means that only specific individuals may examine the information provided. Thereby, ensuring that no unauthorised person can read or access the information.
The profound and pervasive influence of technology in our lives demands a critical examination of the principles that govern its development, deployment, and our interactions with it. Tech ethics and privacy, two fundamental pillars of this discourse, stand as vital safeguards to ensure that the digital revolution enriches our lives: all without eroding our core values or infringing on our fundamental rights.
This exploration will delve into the intricate web of tech ethics and privacy. By shedding light on the ethical considerations that guide technological advancements and how imperative safeguarding our personal information in an increasingly interconnected world is.
Tech Ethics and Privacy
This is the application of ethical thinking, moral principles, value concerns and guidelines that govern technology development, use, and deployment in practical day-to-day exercise.
On the other hand, privacy is the right of individuals to control their personal information and decide who has access to it. In the digital age, privacy is a fundamental concern, as technology can easily collect, store, and transmit personal data. It has the potential for unnecessary interference with our personal information, civil liberties, and societal values.
Features of Ideal Tech Ethics
Technology should be such that its design and use are transparent, for the user to understand how their data is collected, processed, and shared.
The use of technology should be non-discriminatory, and devoid of bias and inequality.
People’s data should not be used without their consent. The system’s design should have strong security precautions, especially to protect against data breaches and other cyber-related interferences.
Ideal tech ethics should be inclusive and accessible to people of all abilities and backgrounds.
Tech companies and developers should take responsibility for the consequences of their products. This is especially true in cases of data breaches or harmful uses of technology.
Areas of Privacy Relevant to our Daily lives affected by Emerging Technologies
1. Personal privacy
This encompasses the right to keep one’s confidential information secure and private. This includes sensitive biological and medical information, political activities, religious practices, behaviours, and interests. Such protection is relatively at increased risk of exposure in a digital world.
2. Privacy of communication, data and images
This aims to avoid interception, interposing, or interference with various means of communication and digital accessories. This restraint will enable a certain degree of control over data and its use.
3. Privacy of opinions and feelings, location and space
This concerns the individual’s right to share their thoughts or feelings. Furthermore, to move about in public spaces without being identified, tracked or monitored. This conception of privacy also includes the right to solitude and privacy in spaces of any chosen environment.
4. Privacy of association
It concerns people’s right to associate with whomever they wish without being monitored.
What to do?
Balancing the benefits of technology with the need to uphold ethical standards and protect privacy can be challenging. However, if technology companies, policymakers, and society can collaborate to create a framework that respects individual privacy and ethical considerations while fostering innovation and progress, it is possible.
1. Mutual respect should be the watchword
Personal data should be securely stored and protected from unauthorised access or breaches.
2. Users consent
Users should give informed consent for collecting and using their data and be able to revoke this consent at any time.
3. Organisations should make extra efforts to utilise security techniques
Data storage and cryptography help to increase the security of information. Also, it helps implement policies that notify employees about what they can and cannot view to achieve information confidentiality.
4. Promoting digital literacy
Raising awareness about tech ethics and privacy among users is a path in the right direction, so they can make informed choices.
5. Enacting regulations and strengthening compliance culture
This will ensure tech companies respect user privacy and adhere to ethical standards.
6. Developing and implementing privacy-enhancing technologies
Technology that protects personal data while allowing for the benefits of data-driven innovation will mitigate interference.
7. Constant Surveillance
Strengthening agencies that periodically conduct and monitor ethical impact assessments to ensure adherence to transparent practices will add to parties’ compliance.
Tech Ethics, Privacy in Nigeria
Many countries and regions have made concerted efforts to implement data protection regulations to safeguard individuals’ privacy rights. Nigeria has tried to address technology ethics and privacy regulations, but the regulatory landscape and corresponding implementation are still evolving.
Some key related outfits to tech ethics and privacy regulations in Nigeria are:
1. The Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) in 2019.
2. The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
3. Data Breach Notification.
4. Cross-Border Data Transfer.
5. The Electronic Transactions Act 2011 and the Cybercrimes Act 2015.
Many regions are also advocating for anonymity, wherein users can use technology and services without revealing their identity unless necessary. This will help reduce the risk of personal data exposure.
Technology as we know it today and in the future will not be avoided in society and individual life. The questions surrounding tech ethics and privacy will only grow in importance.
As we travel along this path, we will choose the kind of future we desire to create. Striking the balance between technological advance and ethical responsibility is an ongoing challenge. By recognising the significance of these principles and actively working to uphold them, we can ensure that technology enriches our lives. All without compromising our values or infringing on our fundamental rights.
We need to pay more attention to ethics if we want to live in a better future. The path forward is not without obstacles but is essential for a responsible and ethical digital future. The choice is ours as we invent and embrace these emerging technologies.
Researched by Olamide Opebiyi