During this time of turmoil caused by the COVID pandemic and watching the news fairly closely, you get to see all this energy being spent protesting for or standing up against all the injustices and isms (racism, sexism, ageism etc.) being brought to the forefront of people’s minds.
It seemingly shows that society has started focusing on taking moral stances and exercising their right to voice concerns to those who do not follow the same moral values or ethics.
This got me wondering, in this technology-focused time with such a push for businesses, educational facilities and ultimately each individual, to be more “digital” …. how much time do we spend thinking about the ethics or morality of the organizations that provide our technology?
We are consuming so much software from the internet in the form of Social Media, News, Apps, Cloud services, etc. Our devices are becoming more powerful and mobile – which means we are giving these companies access to our personal lives, businesses, finance, and location. These apps and sites, apart from the obvious registration or use data often ask for access to our Cameras, Microphones and Files on the device in order to work or provide the service.
So I hear you say “we know all this, so?” In order for me to give access to my life and all its components to a company, store or another person I would have to have a high level of trust in them. This trust would be based on their ethics and moral responsibility to the information I’m sharing.
With the explosion of software readily available with one click, how many of us look at the entities or people behind these applications?
We must look at the Banning of 56 Chinese app’s Including the popular TikTok by India, and the banning of Huawei to provide telecommunications hardware by the US. To see the level of influence these companies have on people and the domain they serve. Even the ones we have used for years with the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google to testify before Congress later this month to answer questions related to the US antitrust investigation of Big Tech.
“It is curious – curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.”
– Mark Twain (1835 – 1910), American Novelist and Journalist
But how much thought does the average person or company give to this? I suggest it is way less than we should, and way less than we expect from our fellow citizens – if the news is anything to go by?
I say we should be taking more care, we should prize the ethics and morals of the service and software providers – as much if not more – than we do the general public or fellow countrymen.
I believe we should even go so far have a rating system for software vendors to this effect. We seem to be able to demand this from our coffee and clothing manufacturers with “ethically grown” stickers and “No child labour” labels springing up everywhere. Ultimately, we need to know who we are partnering with as these apps are more than just one shirt in your wardrobe, or a cup of coffee at a cafe. Indeed they are entirely integral to the functioning of our lives and businesses.
So, next time you want to Jump on to the fad train or use some new, fresh, or innovative thing, ask yourself “Who makes this?” “Do they align to what I believe in?” and “Can I accept them into my trust circle?” If not, I challenge you to vote with your click and click somewhere else.
To see a tech provider that is aligning to these values just look at Samsung. They have partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to create a community and awareness software (read more) to help with the following UNDP Goals: 1: No Poverty, 2: Zero Hunger, 3: Clean Water and Sanitation and post COVID 4: Good Health & Wellbeing.
This shows that if you want to find out what corporates stand for, just look at what they do with regards to their social responsibility. And how they respond to customers needs and criticisms. In this case, Samsung is taking their huge market share and penetration worldwide to help enable a program to better Mankind as a whole, values I think most of us would not mind supporting or being associated with.