The concept of embedded values and the example of internet security

Bob Nguyen (Editor), Amy L. van Wynsberghe, Giovane Moreira Moura

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Many current technological devices used in our everyday lives confront us with a host of new ethical issues to be addressed. Facebook, Twitter, or smart phones are all examples of technologies used quite pervasively which call into question culturally significant values like privacy, among others. The embedded values concept presents the compelling idea that engineers, scientists and designers can create technologies which intentionally enhance cultural and societal values while at the same time minimizing threats to other values. Although the embedded values concept (and the resulting design theories that follow) is of great utility, it remains unclear how to utilize this concept in practice. Added to this is the difficulty of utilizing this concept when engaged in fundamental research or experiments rather than in the creation of a commercial product. This paper presents a novel approach for collaboration between an ethicist and a computer engineering PhD researcher working on the Internet Bad Neighborhoods concept for spam filtering. The results proved beneficial in terms of both the utility of the embedded values concept as well as a strengthening of the engineering PhD researcher’s work.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherResponsible Research and Innovation in ICT
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2013

Publication series

PublisherResponsible Research and Innovation in ICT


  • Internet security
  • Value-sensitive design
  • Embedded values
  • Research ethics


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