The precautionary principle in a world of digital dependencies

Wolter Pieters, A. van Cleeff

    Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional

    20 Citations (Scopus)
    175 Downloads (Pure)


    According to the Jericho forum, security in information technology can no longer be achieved by building a digital fence around the organisation. We investigate the consequences of this "de-perimeterisation" for software engineering ethics. "Being in control" is no longer feasible for certain types of risk, and therefore software engineering ethics cannot only be based on foreseeable consequences. Instead, ethics could be based on the precautionary principle, which states that lack of certainty shall not be used to postpone cost-effective measures. We translate this principle from the domain of safety to the domain of security, in which we are interested in precaution with respect to people's actions rather than natural disasters. Following the example of Napster as well as recent results in philosophy of technology, we present a guideline for ethical software development, focused on inviting desirable use.
    Original languageUndefined
    Place of PublicationEnschede
    PublisherCentre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT)
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009

    Publication series

    NameCTIT Technical Report Series
    PublisherCentre for Telematics and Information Technology, University of Twente
    ISSN (Print)1381-3625


    • METIS-264402
    • SCS-Cybersecurity
    • EWI-15414
    • IR-65514

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