December 11, 2010

Social Responsibility in Tech

Rebecca MacKinnon's recent column is worth reading.

In a day where the New York Times is displaced by Netflix on the S&P 500 and where Chrome OS portends the end of the PC and the rise of the cloud, we need to realize that it is time for the tech business to grow up.

The electronic spaces in which 21st century citizens exercise their right to Free Speech and Peaceable Assembly are internet communities that are run by for-profit private corporations.

As the Times and the Post and the Journal downsize and struggle, the pressing question of the day is not whether Google or Facebook or Twitter or Youtube or Amazon can make the next billion dollars; but whether we in the tech world have the fortitude to take our newfound social responsibility seriously.

Posted by David at December 11, 2010 10:00 AM

After reading the article, I am left with some obvious questions. How is this any different? Are not CNN, and the NYT for profit too? Would the morality of the information somehow be improved if it was done pro-bono?

Posted by: Roger at December 11, 2010 04:17 PM

The difference is that the tech industry has historically had no culture of defending free speech. In engineering school there is no analogy to the journalistic code of ethics:

Posted by: David at December 11, 2010 07:29 PM
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