Several ethical issues pertaining to “new media” were discussed and debated at PTC ’13, the 35th Annual Pacific Telecommunications Conference, in Honolulu, January 20-23, 2013. Some 1,625 participants from 74 countries attended.
Focusing upon the theme “Capacity, Capability, and Collaboration,” the Conference considered both the challenges and the opportunities of such topics as applications, expanded bandwidth, and new partnerships among and between corporations, institutions, and individuals. “Ethics” frequently was an important part of discussion about how new applications will be regulated in an international environment with differing national and cultural values, ethics, and laws.
Four panels gave emphasis to regulatory and ethical themes: “Policy challenges in evolving markets”; “Policy and ethics” (a regulatory/legal session); a roundtable titled “Securing the Cloud for the Hawaii Broadband Initiative”; and a research session that included papers on such matters as “Identifying best practices in next generation networks,” “Government restructuring and its impact on innovation capacity in Korea’s ICT sector,” “Fighting the ‘Creepy Factor’ in Telecom Technologies,” and “The Evolving Role of the ITU with Regard to Space Debris.”
In these panels, numerous questions involving ethics were explored: “who has access to ‘the cloud’?” (both privacy and accessibility); “do customers understand the itinerary and accessibility of their communication?” (transparency); “is the widening digital divide ‘fair’—or fixable?”; and “why does space debris exist, and who is responsible for damages if it falls to earth?” Other issues, such as information security, equitable pricing, international quality standards, discriminatory carrier practices, online fraud, environmental waste, disability services, implementing ITU policy in the Pacific region, licensing IT professionals, regulating telemarketing, safety risks when automobile users concurrently communicate, and updating IT policy to maintain pace with the rapid rate of innovation also were considered
- (PTC is a non-profit, international organization. Conference attendees typically include IT and telecom executives, academics, government officials, lawyers, consultants, and other interested parties from approximately 60 countries. The mission of PTC includes promoting the development and understanding of telecommunications and related industries and their impact throughout the Pacific region. For further information contact www.ptc.org.)