Ethics, Social Responsibility and Empowerment Protecting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in relation to access to and use of ICT By Jacob Dahl Rendtorff Department of Communication, Business and Information Technologies, Roskilde University Empowering the vulnerable! How should we define the principles of ethics and social responsibility in relation to the protection of persons with disabilities in relation to access to and use of ITC in knowledge society? This presentation will give an outline of the principles of philosophical ethics and social theory for protecting and empowering persons with disabilities with regard to the use of ICT. Sustainable development, human rights and global equality Social protection and social concern for empowerment of vulnerable persons with disabilities are essential elements of international justice and human rights following the ideals of sustainable development of the United Nations. With an ethical and political vision of equality resources as essential for political freedom and social justice around the world it is important to provide full access to information technologies of persons with disabilities. The framework for such a vision is a concept of global equality. This concept is based on the fundamental human rights of the person. Dangers of global ICT The danger of the Big Brother from 1984 The danger of Transhumanism – no humans left The danger of inequality and oppression of the most vulnerable (exclusion of the disabled) The danger of totalitarian power – use of information technology for the service of the strongest The danger of big capitalism and corrupt government We need to use e-governance for democracy and social cohesion ICT should be used for the service of humanity Principles of information ethics are needed Ethics provides principles for the ethics of public governance Values-driven management of public administration Interaction between rules and values in the use of ITC Concern for empowerment of citizens with ICT is essential Ethics of public governance is stakeholder management Ethics of public governance is service management and service oriented concerns for citizens. Ethics of empowerment of the vulnerable and weak in global society The principle of vulnerability Vulnerability of mental and corporeal life is closely linked to integrity. But it expresses more characteristics of the human condition. Protection of vulnerability is considered as the bridging factor between moral strangers in a pluralistic society and therefore respect for vulnerability is essential to policy making in the modern welfare state. Vulnerability should be considered as a universal expression of the human condition. Moreover, it appeals to protection of both animals and the teleological autoorganisation of the world. The challenge of vulnerability However, vulnerability has been largely misunderstood in modern society, which has been guided by a so-called vulnerability reducing agenda, which aims to eliminate all vulnerability, i.e. suffering, abnormality, deafness and disability, in order to create perfect human beings. Respect for vulnerability must find the right balance between this logic of the struggle for immortality and the finitude of the earthly presence of human suffering. As an expression of the destiny of finitude the moral receptivity of vulnerability, i.e. the vulnerability for the vulnerability of the other, is the foundation of ethics in our time. The challenges of ICT for human empowerment However, the potentialities of ICT for people with disabilities are not only defined ethically from the point of view of need for protection of the vulnerable and the weak. There are also important concerns for empowerment of persons with disabilities with the use of ICT that can help to integrate such persons with respect as capable members of human communities. With focus on the necessary protections and possible empowerments of persons with disabilities the we need to move from theoretical clarifications to practical policy proposals concerning using ICT actively for enabling persons with disabilities to live as free and equal citizens in democratic societies. Using ITC for human empowerment! Empowerment of vulnerable people is essential Equality of resources is a basic principle of global justice Empowering capabilities is essential for human dignity We should move towards empowering responsible and participating citizens We should move from disabilitiy-empowerment to social inclusion and work-participation as free citizens Universal stakeholder access to ICT is essential The importance of Privacy Respect for Privacy is the central concept of information ethics Privacy is closely connected with respect for the basic ethical principles of respect for human autonomy, digniy, integrity and vulnerability This is integrated in a general concept of human rights Basic ethical principles and respect for human rights form a cluster of respect for the human person and human personality. Empowering for human autonomy Five important meanings of autonomy can be put forward: 1) autonomy as capacity of creation of ideas and goals for life. 2) Autonomy as capacity of moral insight, "self-legislation" and privacy. 3) Autonomy as capacity of decision and action with lack of outer constraint, 4) autonomy as capacity of political involvement and personal responsibility, 5) autonomy as capacity of informed consent. Autonomy should be considered as a principle of the self-legislation of rational human beings taking part in the same human life world. Human dignity as an essential concept Fair information practices (Use of ICT for respecting dignity of human persons) Protection of the individual Concern for human dignity But what is really the definition of dignity in relation to information technologies? Human digntiy should be considered in interaction with the use of ICT for empowering human beings to live as full citizens in society Don’t forget respect for integrity The principle of integrity may be said to refer to the totality of life saying that it should not be destroyed. Integrity is a coherence that in a certain sense must not be touched. This coherence, or rather “Lebenzusammenhang” is the narrative coherence of a person's life (the life story) or the narrative (historical) unity of human culture. On this basis, integrity has four meanings. 1) Integrity as a narrative totality, wholeness, completeness. 2) Integrity as a personal sphere of selfdetermination. 3) Integrity as a virtue of uncorrupted character, expressing uprightness, honesty and good character. 4) Integrity as a legal notion, where it expresses the moral coherence of the legal or medical system. Use of ICT should be in the general interests of the vulnerable citizens The concern for the good life of the citizen is essential in the use of ICT for empowerment The ethics is orientered towards protecting the rights and the good life of the citizens in society The aim of public use of information technology for egovernance should be: ”La vie bonne avec et pour autrui dans les institutions justes (Paul Ricoeur)” Information ethics should try to prevent the use of egovernance in the interest of biopolitics and panoptikon internet technology Simplicity as an ethical principle Use of e-governance technologies should be done in the perspective of simplification (easy access) There should be help and instructions to citizens in order to avoid that everything ends in a Kafka-like brave new world Efforts should be made to ensure equal access for all to information technology use Particular efforts should be made to give access to information technologies to the poor and vulnerable in society. Use of ICT for people with disabilities should be democratic The tension between public governance and private businesses: CSR contra efficiency There is an obligation to ensure empowerment of the vulnerable Access to all is an important principle Equality of resources of citizens should be ensured E-governance is to be promoted in order to improve citizenship and democracy. Responsibility and solidarity Ontological Responsibility: Responsibility for future generations: Hans Jonas Responsibility in the welfare state: Francois Ewald: Responsibility without fault Responsibility as basis for the law of welfare community (Mireille Delmas-Marty) Responsibility means solidarity with the vulnerable and weak in society Stakeholder Engagement Stakeholder management as stakeholder engagement and stakeholder inclusion must be an essential principle of e-governance in knowledge society Stakeholder engagement means involving people with disabilities in democratic processes of extending access to ICT to vulnerable people Stakeholders are citizens with requirements of respect of their autonomy, dignity, integrity and vulerability Stakeholder justice means respecting the principles of equality of resources for everybody Basic ethical values Rethinking organizational structures of e-government Openness Collaboration Participation Transparency Mutual trust Access for all Equality of resources Principles of public policy Democracy, built on responsibility and solidarity, fairness and inclusion are essential frameworks of public policy in relation to the ethics of ICT. ICT should be available for people with disabilities in order to empower them to take part in society as responsible citizens ICT should be available for people with disability in order to ensure respect for their privacy including their autonomy, dignity, integrity and vulnerability This use of ICT contributes to social justice and social coherence of global societies.