Ethical Issues and Pervasive Computing

Ethical Issues and Pervasive Computing

Penny Duquenoy (Middlesex University, London, UK) and Oliver K. Burmeister (Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-220-6.ch014
OnDemand PDF Download:


There is a growing concern both publicly and professionally surrounding the implementation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and their social and ethical impact. As these technologies become increasingly pervasive and less visible to the user, there is a greater need for professionals to address the concerns in order to regain public trust and maximise the benefits that these technologies can bring. This chapter explores the ethical aspects of the world of pervasive computing and shows the need for an ethical perspective when considering the design and implementation of complex, integrated, multiple systems. We present the background to ethics and technology to give the foundation for our discussion, and refer to current research and ethical principles to provide the argument for ethical consideration. Finally, codes of professional conduct provide the standards, and endorsement, for professional responsibility.
Chapter Preview


It has become increasingly clear that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) raise ethical issues. The volume of research presented at conferences dedicated to computer ethics1, the numerous academic texts on computer ethics produced to aid in the education of computer science undergraduates, and the formation of ethics groups within professional bodies2 (internationally and nationally) give an indication of the amount of concern within the profession on this subject. In the research context the European Commission has several projects from the 6th Framework tackling these issues3 and has increased the visibility of ethics and ICT in its 7th Framework Programme.

With the emergence of these technologies over the last 10 years or so their ethical impact has often only become evident following implementation, for example many people now have concerns regarding privacy as a result of massive data collection, and extended monitoring capabilities. However, as ICT increasingly pervades almost every aspect of daily life (hence the term ‘pervasive computing’) supporting not only industry but also the citizen population, the aspects of ethical impact have had a significant effect on public perception and uptake. As we have just noted, public discussions have largely centred on the issue of privacy in terms of individual private space, and personal data. As a consequence we have seen a greater emphasis on addressing this issue resulting in substantial developments to offer protection through security technologies and efforts to encourage public trust by involving the users in the management of their privacy (for example, privacy policies and customisation of their Internet settings).

It is recognised that public confidence is key to the successful implementation of new technologies in the public sphere, not least by professional bodies who have demonstrated their commitment for public welfare in their codes of ethics for some years4. More recently, we have seen increased attention to the incorporation of ethical considerations in technical development by research funding agencies and the United Nations5. Quite apart from the strategic benefits of public acceptance in respect of continued economic growth, professionals have an ethical imperative to consider the benefits and harms to society and individuals within society when planning the next technological development.

Pervasive computing is not so much a new technological development (as, for example, the mobile phone) but a term that describes the concept of computer technologies becoming embedded within the social infrastructure in such a way that their use becomes commonplace and often invisible – the use of computer technology in cars is a good example. Other terms that are used to describe this concept are ‘ubiquitous computing’ and ‘ambient intelligence’. A recently published book resulting from one European Project that was charged with looking at forthcoming security issues announces (Wright et. al., 2008): “In the near future, every manufactured product – our clothes, money, appliances, the paint on our walls, the carpets on our floors, our cars – will be embedded with intelligence, networks of tiny sensors and actuators, which some have termed “smart dust” or an “Internet of Things”. The world of ambient intelligence (AmI) is not far off. We already have surveillance systems, biometrics, personal communicators, machine learning and more. Ambient intelligence will provide personalised services − and know more about us − on a scale dwarfing anything hitherto available.”

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Table of Contents
Jeffrey Soar
Varuna Godara
Chapter 1
Varuna Godara
Pervasive computing is trying to make the dreams of the science fiction writers come true—where you think of some type of convenience and you have... Sample PDF
Pervasive Computing: A Conceptual Framework
Chapter 2
Varuna Godara
The need for more and more flexibility (in terms of time and location) in business operations, contextbased services, decentralization of business... Sample PDF
Pervasive Business Infrastructure: The Network Technologies, Routing and Security Issues
Chapter 3
Deo Prakash Vidyarthi
The proliferation of the capable mobile devices has given the opportunity to utilize these devices for various purposes. The mobile devices being... Sample PDF
Computational Mobile Grid: A Computing Infrastructure on Mobile Devices
Chapter 4
Mark J.W. Lee
This chapter investigates the use of mobile digital technologies for learning, or mobile learning (mlearning), across a variety of education and... Sample PDF
Mobile and Pervasive Technology in Education and Training: Potential and Possibilities, Problems and Pitfalls
Chapter 5
Gaya Prasad
Microorganisms are ubiquitous in their presence. They are present in air, soil, water, and all kinds of living creatures. Varieties of microbes have... Sample PDF
Ubiquitous Computing for Microbial Forensics and Bioterrorism
Chapter 6
Jonathan G.M. Pratt
This chapter presents the major findings of case study research investigating uncritical assessment of an institution-wide learning management... Sample PDF
Falling Behind: A Case Study in Uncritical Assessment
Chapter 7
Yvonne Lee, Martin Kornberger
In the rapidly changing digital marketplace, firms increasingly try to look for new ways to acquire, engage, and retain their consumers. In doing... Sample PDF
Strategizing in the Digital World: Aligning Business Model, Brand and Technology
Chapter 8
Helena Halas, Tomaž Klobucar
This chapter explores the influence of pervasive computing on companies and their businesses, with the main stress on business models. The role of... Sample PDF
Business Models and Organizational Processes Changes
Chapter 9
Te Fu Chen
To date, identifying barriers and critical success factors (CSFs) and integrating business model in implementing e-business for SMEs, have not been... Sample PDF
The Critical Success Factors and Integrated Model for Implementing E-Business in Taiwan's SMEs
Chapter 10
Lawan Ahmed Mohammed
The change in physical structures of computing facilities into small and portable devices, or even wearable computers, has enhanced ubiquitous... Sample PDF
Security Issues in Pervasive Computing
Chapter 11
Grace Li
Pervasive computing and communications is emerging rapidly as an exciting new paradigm and discipline to provide computing and communication... Sample PDF
Deciphering Pervasive Computing: A Study of Jurisdiction, E-Fraud and Privacy in Pervasive Computing Environment
Chapter 12
Reima Suomi, Tuomas Aho, Tom Björkroth, Aki Koponen
Accurate identification of individuals is a cornerstone of any modern society. Without identification, we cannot recognize the parties of different... Sample PDF
Biometrical Identification as a Challenge for Legislation: The Finnish Case
Chapter 13
Antony Glambedakis
This chapter sets out to inform the reader about the impact of pervasive computers in aviation passenger risk profiling. First is an overview of the... Sample PDF
Pervasive Computers in Aviation Passenger Risk Profiling
Chapter 14
Penny Duquenoy, Oliver K. Burmeister
There is a growing concern both publicly and professionally surrounding the implementation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and... Sample PDF
Ethical Issues and Pervasive Computing
Chapter 15
Phillip W.J. Brook
This chapter explores the implications of knowledge sharing in an era of pervasive computing, and concludes that, perhaps counter-intuitively... Sample PDF
Knowledge Sharing and Pervasive Computing: The Need for Trust and a Sense of History
Chapter 16
Patrice Braun
In view of the fact that women are playing an increasingly important role in the global economy, this chapter examines business skilling in the... Sample PDF
Advancing Women in the Digital Economy: eLearning Opportunities for Meta-Competency Skilling
Chapter 17
B.K. Mangaraj, Upali Aparajita
The future of pervasive computers largely depends upon culture studies of human societies. This forms a challenging field of social research because... Sample PDF
Cultural Dimension in the Future of Pervasive Computing
Chapter 18
Genevieve Watson
Pervasive computers cover many areas of both our working and personal lives. This chapter investigates this phenomenon through the human factors... Sample PDF
Outline of the Human Factor Elements Evident with Pervasive Computers
Chapter 19
Kalawati Malik
This chapter analyses the impact of computer and video games on the development of children. First introductory part of this chapter informs its... Sample PDF
Impact of Computer and Video Games on the Development of Children
About the Contributors