“Bitcoin” is a form of digital currency that uses encryption technique to verify the transfer of funds between two peers. Therefore, it helps in completing currency operations without any third party payment providers (like banks and governments). This transaction technology was developed between 2008 and 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto who claimed that, it was developed in response to the economic crisis at that time.
As described by Krugman in NY times, this process of transaction helps the users to be anonymous in the whole process, therefore it may happen that transactions are unethical and can be used in the criminal or terrorist activities (Angel & McCabe, 2015). If we take the deontological perspective of ethics, then the use of the Bitcoin is unethical and surely evil for the economies of different countries.
In deontological perspective, the act is more important than the result or consequences of it. In this ethical theory the morality of an action is decided according to some rules that are set by society. In case of Bitcoin, it seems that it is used as a weapon which can damage central banking and money issuing institutions of a country (Guadamuz & Marsden, 2014). Moreover, transactions have done through “Bitcoin” damages the ability of a government to monitor the transactions done by their citizens. This in turn also damages the ability of collecting taxes from the citizens. Here we can say that, as some wrong steps or actions are used in the whole transaction process it can be considered as unethical according to deontology theory.
On the contrary the utilitarianism theory, the best moral actions are those which maximizes the utility of anything. In context of “Bitcoin”, it has increased the utility of the money as well as technology by encrypting the transaction process (Angel & McCabe, 2015). This encryption can be helpful in preventing the frauds that are related to the monetary transaction.
Meaning of “problem of many hands" in computing/IT context
In IT industry it is seen that when an individual is to be held responsible for any event then he or she must have influence on that certain event. It must be checked that if that person has not carried out his/her responsibility which may have prevented the accident or the harmful event.
In case of information technology the, accidents in development and deployment of the technologies happens due to misunderstanding or negligence of several individuals involved in the development project (Thompson, 2014). It may be the fault of designers, maintenance staff or even of the policy makers in the organization. Therefore it can be stated that the contribution of several actors in development and deployment of technology is generally known as the “Problem of many hands.”
The failure of any project or technology is a result of several factors. This factor includes inadequate testing, software errors and insufficient quality assurance by the developers. Moreover exaggerated claims about dependability, poor interface design and inadequate investigation or follow-up on accidents (Noorman, 2012).
Therefore it is important for the IT industry and organizations to develop a tradition of accountability for the risks and faults that may occur due to the malfunctioning of the systems. It is also more important for the information technology as this industry is struggling with the level of standards and reliability of the different inventions or products.
There is a misconception about the “Problem of many hands”, which is it only talks about the blame and liability for an accident (Thompson, 2014). In contrast with that, this helps in development of sense of responsibility in the employees or the members of the development team
Functions professional codes of ethics (CoE) serve
The professional code of ethics helps professionals to deal with the ethical dilemmas he/she may face in their career. Since the personal code of ethics is not effective in the different business situations, therefore it is important for organizations to set a standard of ethics in profession (Quinn, 2014). There are several types of code of ethics are in practice. Some of them are NSPE, AITP and IEEE code of ethics.
Different code of ethics has different functionalities, but all of them share some common functionality. These functionalities are stated below,
To symbolize the professionalism of a specific group.
Protection of group interests.
Inspiring good conduct and behavior at workplace (Fleischmann, Hui & Wallace, 2016).
Providing discipline to the employees.
Specifies the rights of professionals.
Helps professionals to foster relation with the clients of the organizations and other professionals (Quinn, 2014).
Professionals should contribute to the wellbeing of the society and the human beings.
It helps the professionals to provide proper credit to the owners of intellectual properties.
This codes also helps professionals in acquiring and maintaining the professional competence.
Criticism of Code of Ethics (CoE): The code of ethics sometimes can be counterproductive. The reason behind this is, code of ethics creates discrepancy between the actual and professional behavior. The professional code of ethics is both useful and important for the professionals (Fleischmann, Hui & Wallace, 2016). On the contrary, the blind reliance on these codes acts as obstacle in the way of developing their own moral sensitivity. Sometimes it is also observed that, this code of ethics encourages the unrealistic expectations for the organizations. Therefore, it can be stated that, the code of ethics is not for every organization.
Definition of digital divide and ways to overcome it
The Digital Divide defines the differences between people who can access to the different resources of information and communication technology (ICT) (such as Internet) and people who do not have access to these resources. In this interconnected world till individuals and households are not able to use the advancement of the information and communication technology (Nakamura & Chow-White, 2013). Day by day these connection or access gap is shifting to the knowledge gap in the different countries.
According to different surveys, it is seen that there are almost 757 million adults in all over the world (including 115 million youths) are not able to read or write a simple sentence. Therefore to educate them and help them to explore the world of knowledge it is necessary to connect them with the different information and communication technology.
Reasons to close the digital divide
It is important to close the digital divide, so that the people residing at different regions of the world can get the knowledge and advantage of the advancement in different fields. More reasons to close the divide are,
Healthier democracy: The use of internet and communication technology in a country can lead to better public participation in the elections and decision making process for the nation (Lopez, Gonzalez-Barrera & Patten, 2013).
Social mobility: The advancements in the information and communication technology can be helpful and play an important role in learning process, career development and professional work for the citizens of any country.
Ways to overcome the digital divide
Providing better internet coverage: Since the number of internet users in developing countries is too much low, therefore it is important for them to focus on greater coverage for the rural areas s most of the population lives in rural areas.
Enhancement of ICT skills: The lack of education as well as ICT skills also has a impact on digital divide (Nakamura & Chow-White, 2013). Therefore, to ensure that different public sector organizations integrate ICT in its different education initiatives.
Angel, J. J., & McCabe, D. (2015). The Ethics of Payments: Paper, Plastic, or Bitcoin?. Journal of Business Ethics, 132(3), 603-611.
Fleischmann, K. R., Hui, C., & Wallace, W. A. (2016). The Societal Responsibilities of Computational Modelers: Human Values and Professional Codes of Ethics. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology.
Guadamuz, A., & Marsden, C. (2014). Bitcoin: The Wrong Implementation of the Right Idea at the Right Time. Available at SSRN 2526736.
Lopez, M. H., Gonzalez-Barrera, A., & Patten, E. (2013). Closing the digital divide: Latinos and technology adoption. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.
Nakamura, L., & Chow-White, P. (Eds.). (2013). Race after the Internet. Routledge.
Noorman, M. (2012). Computing and moral responsibility.
Quinn, M. J. (2014). Ethics for the information age. Pearson.
Thompson, D. F. (2014). Responsibility for failures of government the problem of many hands. The American Review of Public Administration,44(3), 259-273.