Digital Divides: Their Social and Ethical Implications

Digital Divides: Their Social and Ethical Implications

Emma Rooksby (Charles Sturt University, Australia) and John Weckert (Charles Sturt University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-939-7.ch217
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Abstract

This chapter considers the social and ethical significance of digital divides, where a digital divide is taken to be an intra- or international inequality in levels of access to information and communication technologies. The authors argue that digital divides are not necessarily morally objectionable in themselves. Digital divides are instead morally objectionable to the extent that they create, perpetuate or exacerbate morally objectionable conditions of other sorts, such as material deprivation, or abridgement of liberty. The authors also propose a method for assessing the moral significance of digital divides. They hope that the chapter will help analysts of inequalities in access to information and communication technologies to provide more specific accounts of the moral harms caused by instances of such inequalities.

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