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Article Title

Ethics in the Cloud

Abstract

For the past several decades, information communication technologies (ICTs) have been changing the way we create, share, and keep our records and data. How are we adapting? Today, individuals and organizations are increasingly creating, sharing, and storing information of all kinds in the cloud, some of them with the same expectations of privacy, access, intellectual rights, and control they have when storing it in in-house systems, either digital or analog. Such expectations provoke outrage when it is discovered that behavior in the cloud is not guided by long-established ethical rules guiding information creation, sharing, and use, but needs to be controlled by legal contracts and enforced by laws, many of which are ill-equipped to cope with the affordances of new technologies. Ethical expectations and guidelines that have been socially situated in a print culture developed over centuries are suddenly thrown into debate by technologies that may change yearly. What is the nature of information ethics in the digital era? In the context of the cloud environment, the ideas of privacy, access, intellectual rights, ownership, and control need to be reinterpreted and given new meaning. But ethical considerations concerning presentation of information through traditional channels of communication do not translate seamlessly to online communities. Information ethics, generally understood to be a branch of applied ethics, has developed to address the main ethical issues with information communication technologies – privacy, accuracy, property or ownership, and accessibility. These are considered within contexts of responsibility and trust. This article explores the landscape of emerging ethical issues related to the creation, use, and maintenance of digital materials in cloud computing platforms in the course of our business and personal activities.

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