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A methodology for internal Web ethics

  1. 1. A methodology for internal Web ethics M. Vafopoulos, P. Stefaneas, I. Anagnostopoulos, K. O'Hara Philoweb, WWW2012 WSSC: “webscience.org/2010/E.4.3 Ethics in the Web”
  2. 2. Research questions what changes need to be incorporated in the Web to best serve humanity? Can philosophical theories help in this direction? How? 2
  3. 3. Outline ① Hypotheses ② Being, space & time in the Web ③ Hayek‟s freedom ④ 3-level analysis – The Technological Web – The Contextualized Web – The Economic Web ⑤ Results & discussion 3
  4. 4. Hypotheses Web: • ethically-relevant social machine • magma of Users and code start from the Web assume a self-contained Web or the “manna from heaven” hypothesis (internal ethics analysis) 4
  5. 5. “manna from heaven” hypothesis • Web is the only existing system • human beings are communicating & working solely through it • a compassionate „God‟ provides the necessary quantity of „manna‟, fulfilling all human needs, with no cost & effort • Web being, space & time 5
  6. 6. Being, space & time in the Web • A being exists if and only if there is a communication channel linking to it • Web beings communicated through the Web • Web space: the Web being‟s URI, incoming & outgoing links • Web time: visiting durations 6
  7. 7. URI  minimal description of invariant elements in communication through the Web  borderline, interlocutor & fingerprint of Web being  enables transformation from digital to Web  directly connected to existence (birth, access, navigate, edit & death of a Web being)  other characteristics of Web beings may change in time  a change in URI means the death of existing & birth of a new Web being 7
  8. 8. The Web space • a division of position & place created by the links among Web beings • each Web being occupies a specific locus in the Web network • a 3d “geographic coordinate system” • heterogeneous • many “gravity” & relative “distance” metrics • Pagerank initially build on Web space 8
  9. 9. The Web time • a series of choices (visits) in the Web space (Bergsonian durations) • visiting selections attach semantic meaning • casual relationships among Web beings • counting: Log file as a generic common property & co-operation in the Web 9
  10. 10. The Web time Durations are becoming: Discoverable, Observable, Traceable Processable, Massive increases material dimension of networks enables reconstruction of consciousness & memory of Users 10
  11. 11. How to analyze the Web as an ethical space? 11
  12. 12. Freedom I othe source of values o“freedom-coercion” tradeoff –more options to solve problems collectively & innovate, but –some of these options may be used in ways that cause coercion 12
  13. 13. Freedom II • Theories: how to construct a system that selects, with minimum social cost which positive options to sacrifice in order to minimize coercion (or the dual problem) • start with Hayek’s approach because confronts with most Web characteristics 13
  14. 14. Hayek’s freedom I • State posses the monopoly to enforce coercive power through General Rules • Personal Sphere & Property counterweight state power • General Rules are enforced equally & describe the borderlines between State & Personal Sphere • Property is a basic realization of General Rules 14
  15. 15. Hayek’s freedom II • Competition is possible by the dispersion of Property • Mutually advantageous collaboration is based on Competition in service provision • effective anti-monopolistic policy: require from the monopolist (including the state) to treat all customers alike • Individuals should be responsible & accountable for their actions 15
  16. 16. 3-level analysis Apply theory of freedom according to Web‟s evolution from plain s/w to ecosystem • The Technological Web – Internet infrastructure & Web software • The Contextualized Web – Sets of rules enforced through trust • The Economic Web – Economic contexts 16
  17. 17. The Web as a space of Freedom Freedom Coercion free access & inter-connection of any badware applications (e.g. computer- compatible software/device zombies) Internet traffic censorship (e.g.“Snooping”) inadequate quality of transmission Web software freely navigate, create and update badware-infected Web Beings Web Beings and links central control & censoring of traffic universality, openness & separation of “walled gardens” in SN (privacy threats & layers in engineering, editing, fragmentation) searching & navigating manipulation of indexing & searching (e.g. spamdexing) establish specific contexts in order to un-trustworthy technologies, business & form beliefs that some Users/Web governments beings are trustworthy Contextualized badware & malicious representations Web Economic concentration of power in a minority of Users no barriers to economize Web inability of some people to benefit from the Web economy
  18. 18. Personal sphere IP address: can only be processed for certain reasons o Web: log file common ownership by design (admin & navigator) o architectural element of co-operation o Admin: direct access o Navigator: not straightforward access o not proper practices for collecting traffic o should be further analyzed 18
  19. 19. General rules Treating all Internet Users, Web Navigators & Editors equally • profile customization • open technological standards • efficient business incentives 19
  20. 20. The contextualized Web • Web 2.5: not only User-Generated Content, but context • communication is central to establishing trust (Habermas) • rich connectivity of the Web is bound into its function • antitrust & coercion= the prices for widespread & beneficial trust 20
  21. 21. The contextualized Web internal Web ethics: • ensure not that antitrust happens, but • that it is outweighed by beneficial trust to as great a degree as possible consistent with Hayekian notions of freedom 21
  22. 22. Challenges in the economic Web I obtain the right balance between: • open access and processing of online information (e.g. socially aware cloud storage, g-work) & • provision of incentives to produce content & to develop network infrastructure 22
  23. 23. Challenges in the economic Web II • accelerate socio-economic development by facilitating life- critical functions in the developing world (e.g. W3F) • enable transparency & participation in the developed world (e.g. Open Data) 23
  24. 24. Challenges in the economic Web III o“Link economy” o“App economy” oexcessive market power in Search Engine market 24
  25. 25. Results I • centralization of traffic & data control • rights on visiting log file • custom User profiles • interplay among function, structure & moral values are directly connected to the quality of freedom in the Web 25
  26. 26. Results II issues about freedom in lower levels of the Web (i.e. technology) have crucial impact on the subsequent levels of higher complexity (i.e. context, economy) 26
  27. 27. Next steps o involve more theories & disciplines o relax assumptions o connect to engineering issues (e.g. TAG) o Webizing humanity & humanizing Web 27
  28. 28. Webizing humanity & humanizing Web Web: • emerged not as a business project with hierarchical structures but • as a creative & open space of volunteers outside traditional market and pricing • markets would have never invested such amounts in labor costs to develop it • temporal disconnection between effort & rewards • symbiosis between non-financial and financial incentives 28
  29. 29. Webizing humanity – humanizing web In economy o incorporate in the entire economy, the best of the symbiosis between virtues and economic incentives in the Web o the Web has still many lessons to take from the long-living market mechanisms on how to best orchestrate effort and reward in society 29
  30. 30. Role of philosophy What society can learn from the Web? What can teach it in order to become more useful? 30
  31. 31. Thank you! • More in vafopoulos.org References • Being, space and time in the Web. Metaphilosophy (forthcoming). • The Web economy: goods, users, models and policies. Foundations and Trends in Web science (forthcoming). 31
  32. 32. appendix 32
  33. 33. The Web time “time of social systems” is • indeterministic, • Heterogeneous • irreversible • built on the Einsteinian time of physical systems. 33
  34. 34. The case of Net Neutrality • QoS issues • Technological approach (e.g. Flow- Aware Networking) • generic freedom-coercion trade-offs are useful in framing the feasibility space but incomplete in treating more specific cases in practice (like NN) 34
  35. 35. Flow-Aware Networking FAN may ensure neutrality along with the awareness of QoS create an occurrence, upon which the implicit separation will be performed solely based on the current link status (e.g. dataflow congestion, traffic bottleneck etc.). Therefore, all datagrams are forwarded unconditionally in the pipeline, but they are also “equal”, subject to be separated or even dropped when the network tolerance demands it. The main advantage of FAN-based architectures is that they differentiate the data flow, taking into account only the traffic characteristics of the currently transmitted information. Hence, apart from data discrimination, it is not possible to comprehensively discriminate certain applications, services and end-Users. 35
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