Power, Ethics and the Digital Divide

Jeremy Moss

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    41 Citations (Scopus)


    The ethical and political dilemmas raised by Information and Communication Technology (ICT)have only just begun to be understood. The impact of centralised data collection, mass communication technologies or the centrality of computer technology as a means of accessing important social institutions, all pose important ethical and political questions. As away of capturing some of these effects I will characterise them in terms of the type of power and, more particularly, the lsquo Power-overrsquo people that they exercise. My choice of this particular nomenclature is that it allows us to describe, firstly, how specific technologies operate and second, exactly what sorts of constraints they impose on people. The reason for this focus has to do with a further aim of the essay, which is to intervene in aparticular type of debate that is often had around the appropriate use and scope of theories of power that are employed in thinking about ICT, especially those theories associated with the work of Michel Foucault. There is considerable use of his work in computer ethics, but my claim will be that despite the productive uses of his work in the areas of surveillance, for instance, it does not exhaust the larger potential of his work on power and,in part, 'government.' I will argue that in order to properly understand the political impact of some aspects of ICT, especially the digital divide, one needs an account of how power operates that includes more traditional types of power-over. To the extent that I will deal with these concerns, the paper is both a contribution to debates about the nature and scope of Foucault's theory of power and to theissue of the effects of the digital divide.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)159-165
    Number of pages7
    JournalEthics and Information Technology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2002


    Dive into the research topics of 'Power, Ethics and the Digital Divide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this