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The Ethics of Cloud Computing

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  • University of Oxford - University of Bologna

Abstract

Cloud computing is rapidly gaining traction in business. It offers businesses online services on demand (such as Gmail, iCloud and Salesforce) and allows them to cut costs on hardware and IT support. This is the first paper in business ethics dealing with this new technology. It analyzes the informational duties of hosting companies that own and operate cloud computing datacentres (e.g., Amazon). It considers the cloud services providers leasing 'space in the cloud' from hosting companies (e.g., Dropbox, Salesforce). And it examines the business and private 'clouders' using these services. The first part of the paper argues that hosting companies, services providers and clouders have mutual informational (epistemic) obligations to provide and seek information about relevant issues such as consumer privacy, reliability of services, data mining and data ownership. The concept of interlucency is developed as an epistemic virtue governing ethically effective communication. The second part considers potential forms of government restrictions on or proscriptions against the development and use of cloud computing technology. Referring to the concept of technology neutrality, it argues that interference with hosting companies and cloud services providers is hardly ever necessary or justified. It is argued, too, however, that businesses using cloud services (e.g., banks, law firms, hospitals etc. storing client data in the cloud) will have to follow rather more stringent regulations.
ORIGINAL PAPER
The Ethics of Cloud Computing
Boudewijn de Bruin
1,2
Luciano Floridi
3
Received: 4 July 2015 / Accepted: 21 January 2016 / Published online: 17 February 2016
The Author(s) 2016. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com
Abstract Cloud computing is rapidly gaining traction in business. It offers busi-
nesses online services on demand (such as Gmail, iCloud and Salesforce) and allows
them to cut costs on hardware and IT support. This is the first paper in business
ethics dealing with this new technology. It analyzes the informational duties of
hosting companies that own and operate cloud computing datacentres (e.g., Ama-
zon). It considers the cloud services providers leasing ‘space in the cloud’ from
hosting companies (e.g., Dropbox, Salesforce). And it examines the business and
private ‘clouders’ using these services. The first part of the paper argues that hosting
companies, services providers and clouders have mutual informational (epistemic)
obligations to provide and seek information about relevant issues such as consumer
privacy, reliability of services, data mining and data ownership. The concept of
interlucency is developed as an epistemic virtue governing ethically effective
communication. The second part considers potential forms of government restric-
tions on or proscriptions against the development and use of cloud computing
technology. Referring to the concept of technology neutrality, it argues that inter-
ference with hosting companies and cloud services providers is hardly ever nec-
essary or justified. It is argued, too, however, that businesses using cloud services
(e.g., banks, law firms, hospitals etc. storing client data in the cloud) will have to
follow rather more stringent regulations.
&Boudewijn de Bruin
b.p.de.bruin@rug.nl
Luciano Floridi
luciano.floridi@oii.ox.ac.uk
1
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Groningen, Oude Boteringestraat 52, 9712 GL Groningen,
The Netherlands
2
Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, Nettelbosje 2,
9747 AE Groningen, The Netherlands
3
Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, 1 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3JS, UK
123
Sci Eng Ethics (2017) 23:21–39
DOI 10.1007/s11948-016-9759-0
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
Keywords Cloud computing Information ethics Privacy Epistemic virtue
Introduction
Businesses and individual users alike are embracing online software in order to
process, share and synchronize data, recruit personnel, organize customer services
and sales, and for an increasing number of other purposes. Computing resources
(especially software, memory space, CPU power, and maintenance routines) are
becoming services on demand, offered by online providers that store and process
files in large datacentres. This new Information Technology (IT) paradigm of cloud
computing offers huge advantages in terms of installation, configuration, updating,
compatibility, costs and computational power (Zhang et al. 2010), and in the last
few years cloud computing has already provided enormous benefits to a large
number of users. However, it also comes with a number of potential risks. The year
2010, for instance, witnessed a huge cyber attack on the popular cloud email
services of Gmail, and the sudden discontinuation of cloud services to WikiLeaks
by Amazon. There followed the 2013 NSA spying scandal, the 2014 nude photo
iCloud hack and the Sony hack, with hackers increasingly turning to the cloud.
This is the first paper in business ethics dealing with cloud computing.
1
It
employs an informational or epistemic ethical approach (Floridi 2013,2014a). After
a brief overview of cloud computing technology and a survey of the relevant
stakeholders, we discuss two issues.
First, we describe the educational pressure on clouders, that is, initiatives to
educate and/or inform the individuals and business corporations that make use of
cloud computing services. We observe that cloud computing suits the interests and
values of those who adopt a deflated view of the value of ownership and an inflated
view of freedom (De Bruin 2010). This is especially, but not exclusively,
Generation X or the Millennials, who care less about where, for instance, a certain
photograph is stored and who owns it (Facebook? the photographer? the
photographed?) and care more about having the opportunity and freedom to do
things with it (sharing it with friends, posting it on websites, using it as a
background for one’s smartphone). They were aptly described as Generation Cloud
in a report written by researchers at Goldsmith College, London, and sponsored by
Rackspace, a large hosting company.
2
And they are part of a move towards an
Internet of Things in which values shift ‘from the product to the services the product
represents’, that is, the Everything-as-a-Service world where one does not need to
buy and own, say, a book, but only a licence to read it on one’s Kindle or other
device (Melin 2015). We use insights gained from the epistemic study of freedom
1
Other papers on ethics and cloud computing are Greenbaum and Gerstein (2011), on privacy and
genetic data, Ratten (2012), on the psychology of ethical decision making and cloud computing, Stark and
Tierney (2014), on privacy and Lockbox, an encrypted cloud application, and Timmermans et al. (2010),
on general conceptual issues surrounding cloud computing.
2
http://www.rackspace.co.uk/sites/default/files/whitepapers/generation_cloud.pdf (accessed 30 March
2015).
22 B. de Bruin, L. Floridi
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(De Bruin 2010) to argue that this warrants particular forms of educational pressure.
Not only must the clouders discharge their epistemic duties. The cloud computing
industry must also develop radically different ways to communicate with its
customers. The industry should have concern for the virtue of interlucency,aswe
call it (De Bruin 2015). It should communicate with customers, provide them with
information about what the technology does, and actively check whether these
customers understand what it attempts to communicate.
Second, we describe the proscriptive pressure on the cloud computing industry
and its business customers, that is, proscriptions about what they must not do. Our
point of departure is that the companies hosting cloud services and providing the
hardware, the infrastructure and platform (Amazon, Google, Microsoft and several
other firms) as well as the companies providing cloud services, the applications and
the software (Salesforce, ZoHo Recruit, Google Docs and many others) should
receive as little proscriptive pressure as possible. The motivation that underlies this
assumption is that, on the one hand, regulation of this emerging industry would run
the risk of stifling innovation, while, on the other hand, as far as we can see now the
risks of cloud computing technology are much less significant than, say, the risks of
nuclear power or genetic engineering. The largest risks of cloud computing concern
its use and misuse, and hence we suggest that proscriptive pressure must be exerted
primarily on the business users of software as a service rather than on the providers.
Cloud computing is still in its infancy. Most of the research literature comes from
computer science and concerns the technology (see, e.g., Erl et al. 2013; Zhang et al.
2010). Many business magazines have devoted attention to the reasons for adopting
cloud computing in business, to questions about the financial performance of specific
companies,and, to a lesser extent, to the possible dangers (Palmer and Bradshaw 2011).
There is alsoa significant literature in law, sketching, for instance, the consequences for
cloud computing of proposals for legal reform in the EU (Hon et al. 2014).
The present paper differs from these lines of literature. Unlike the computers
science and business literature, it approaches cloud computing at a fairly general
and non-technical level; and unlike the law literature, we consider not so much the
specific legal mechanisms through which cloud computing can be regulated, but
rather approach regulation from an ethical rather than legal point of view, which, to
our knowledge, is novel.
Our main position can be summed up as follows: we encourage the cloud
computing industry and its business customers to take a step forward yet cautiously,
making haste slowly, as the Latin adage festina lente suggests. At the same time, our
aim with this paper is to convince the business ethics community of the relevance of
studying cloud computing and the many ethical issues surrounding it, in order to
anticipate problems that, tackled earlier, are more easily solvable.
Cloud Computing
The history of the word cloud computing goes back at least as far as a description of
the ATM networks that became widespread during the 1990s. But it was not until
2006, when Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO at the time, started using the term, that it
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became popular in its current meaning. Right now it is being used in more than
twenty different ways (Vaquero et al. 2009) and is just as much exploited by
marketing departments as it is met with scepticism from anti-Internet sides (Zhang
et al. 2010; Moreno-Vozmediano et al. 2013). It has a common core, though, which
we shall introduce in a non-technical way here below.
3
We write this paper using a word processing program that runs on our laptops.
We use software installed on these laptops; we use the laptops’ processors to run the
software; and we use the laptops’ hard drives to store versions of the paper. But we
could have written it using the online suite offered by Google Docs. If we had done
that, we would have used software installed on computers in Google’s datacentres,
scattered around the world; we would have used Google’s processors and servers to
run the software; we would have used their computers to store only one file. We
would have been working in the cloud. And where the way we actually wrote the
paper required sending versions of it back and forth by email, Google Docs would
have allowed us to ‘share’ the document and to work on one and the same file in the
cloud, even simultaneously.
Cloud computing does not just make it easier for people to work on joint
projects. More than that, it decreases the need for businesses to invest in fancy
computers, data servers, expensive software that you only use once a month,
maintenance and support staff, and many other things. What you need is a rather
plain computer, connected to the Internet, some basic software, like a free browser
and a pay-as-you-go subscription to the services that you need. The servers in the
datacentres may go down of course. To minimize the risk of interrupted service due
to power outages, datacentres are located near power plants and data are stored on
various different physical locations—the greater the number of locations where
your data are stored, the more you pay. Google, for instance, has datacentres in
Oklahoma, Oregon and a few other US states, as well as in Belgium, Chile,
Finland, Ireland, The Netherlands, Singapore and Changhua County, Taiwan.
4
This
is also true for other companies. Yet even then, things may go wrong. Cloud
services may face problems as a result of which they become temporarily
unavailable. For the numerous companies dependent on cloud services, this means
interruption of their websites, their customer services and/or their sales adminis-
trations. Small start-up companies are typically affected most: cloud companies
require their customers to pay more to store data in more datacentres to diminish
the risk, but smaller companies are less likely to be able to afford this. Insurance
companies have started developing products covering some of the risks of power
outage and service interruption, marketing them both to providers and customers of
cloud services, but it is unclear to what extent smaller companies benefit from this
development.
Cloud computing is not a new idea. Its business model goes back to the old days
of computing, when companies and researchers rented computation time on large
3
The definition suggested by the National Institute of Standards and Technology seems to find relatively
wide acceptance among scholars See http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-145/SP800-145.pdf
for the 16th and final draft (accessed 30 March 2015).
4
http://www.google/corporate/datacenter/locations.html (accessed 30 March 2015).
24 B. de Bruin, L. Floridi
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mainframe computers. These developments were pioneered by such firms as IBM in
the 1950s, and ideas of computation as a utility function—which cloud computing,
like water and electricity, really is—were further championed in the 1960s by John
McCarthy, the Stanford computer scientist and Artificial Intelligence pioneer, and
by Douglas Parkhill, then Canada’s Assistant Deputy Minister for Research
(McCarthy 1961; Parkhill 1966).
The Personal Computer (PC) changed this idea of public utility—only
temporarily, of course, if cloud computing will live up to its promises. Public
utility was abandoned in favour of an ideal of computation as a private affair,
carried out at home, in the office, in isolation, with the explicit suggestion that this
would ‘liberate’ the computer user. It surely did. The main reason that the PC gave
users increasingly more freedom was, however, not that the physical location of the
computation changed, but rather that PCs would become increasingly powerful.
And while outsourcing computation to the cloud makes computation a less private
and stand-alone business, and more like a public utility again, cloud computing
represents still another increase in computational power. Some authors describe the
change as just as radical as the one invoked by the PC (Carr 2008), and indeed, the
most popular email providers worldwide, Hotmail and Gmail, are cloud services.
It is useful to distinguish between a number of actors in and around the cloud
computing industry. First, there are hosting companies that own and run the
datacentres, the servers, the hard disks on which the data are stored and the
processors necessary for the computation. Examples include Amazon, Google,
Microsoft and Rackspace.
5
Then, there are the cloud services providers, which
provide specific online services. These services are sometimes called Software-as-a-
Service (SaaS) and examples include Google Docs (word processing, spreadsheet,
etc.), Salesforce (customers services and sales), ZoHo Recruit (recruitment),
Dropbox (sharing and synchronizing data) and many others.
6
And third, there are
the clouders, the individual or business customers of service providers that use SaaS
at home or in business. Every Google Docs user is a clouder. Business examples are
companies using Salesforce to manage their sales administration, using the cloud-
based survey tools of SurveyMonkey for market research, or using online tools to
store customer accounts in the cloud. These business clouders are an interesting
category. They do not, strictly speaking, provide cloud services; they use them. The
customers of business clouders, however, may not always spot the difference
between a cloud services provider and a business clouder using Software-as-a-
Service, or may fail to realize that, when they fill in data on online customer loyalty
websites, they are in reality contributing data to the cloud.
5
Technically, individuals or businesses may host their own cloud server through network-attached
storage devices such as MyCloud (Western Digital) or CloudBox (Lacie), facilitating backups and access.
These products do not offer Software-as-a-Service, which makes them less interesting for businesses.
6
Hosting companies typically offer cloud services as well, witness Google Docs and Microsoft Office
365.
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Stakeholders
An informational ethical approach to cloud computing starts with an identification
of the stakeholders that are affected by cloud computing (Floridi 2013; Zakhem
et al. 2007). Stakeholders are individuals or groups that are confronted with the
consequences of corporate activities, affecting their interests or rights. They
typically include owners, investors, employers, employees, customers, suppliers,
competitors, governments and the environment (Freeman 1984). Who are they?
What are their rights, their interests, their vulnerabilities? What possible advantages
and disadvantages may cloud computing services have for them?
To start with the last one, the environment is an easily forgotten stakeholder.
Datacentres consume large amounts of energy; about half of the energy goes to
cooling the processors only. A 2010 study by Pike Research suggested that, in
comparison to a business as usual scenario, the adoption of cloud computing may
well reduce energy consumption by almost 40 % (Pike Research 2010). The largest
gain here, it was argued, is obtained by outsourcing computational tasks from
inefficient local datacentres (or home and office computers) to the more efficient
large datacentres of the hosting companies. Environmental advantages are also to be
expected because cloud computing decreases the need to invest in ever more
powerful hardware because data are saved and computational tasks carried out by
servers and processors in the cloud (Berl et al. 2010). Yet recent publications
caution against overly rash and optimistic scenarios (Mastelic et al. 2015).
Governments, in turn, are stakeholders in two ways. First of all, governments
have to respond to new technology by developing new laws or not. But governments
can also assume the function of hosting company, cloud services provider or
business clouder. The Dutch government, for instance, has decided not to
experiment with cloud computing services available from private vendors and has
therefore developed its own ‘closed’ cloud for its own IT functions. The City of San
Francisco, on the other hand, has been a pioneer in moving services into the
commercial, ‘open’ cloud for some time (Walton 2011). And the UK government
attempts to steer the middle course between open and closed clouds by setting up
the ‘G-Cloud framework’, which is a rather lightly regulated marketplace where the
cloud computing industry and the public sector meet.
Next we turn to investors in cloud computing companies and the cloud
computing industry. Reliable figures are hard to find, but analysts at UBS, the Swiss
investment bank, estimate that revenues from Amazon Web Services, the cloud
division of Amazon, was only around $200 million in 2010; by the third quarter of
2015 it had grown to a staggering $2.1 billion. Some cloud computing companies do
not have the goal of contributing to technological innovation and offer relatively
simple filing, storage or backup services (e.g., Dropbox). These firms typically buy
the services of larger companies that invest heavily in the design and building of
faster and increasingly efficient datacentres (Amazon), while still others are mainly
concerned with the development of cloud computing software (Salesforce). This last
category, the cloud services providers, boosts impressive results, too.
26 B. de Bruin, L. Floridi
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Following the distinction between private and business clouders, cloud comput-
ing has advantages and disadvantages for both, but not all of them are the same.
Cloud computing decreases the need for installation, configuration and updating of
software, but does not reduce it to zero—one needs to set up and configure an
account, for instance. For larger businesses this may lead to a significant reduction
of costs, because traditionally software had to be installed, configured and
maintained on every single desktop in the office. For smaller businesses and private
clouders, the change may be less significant. Yet even if costs do not decrease, there
may be positive effects on cash flow due to the fact that cloud services providers use
a pay-as-you-go pricing system. Disadvantages vary as well. Private clouders and
small start-up companies, for instance, may not be willing (or capable) to pay the
full rate and have to content themselves with free or low-cost services that are
accompanied by pop-up ads, limited downloading and uploading, less than maximal
reliability and other drawbacks. Secondly, when they pay more, the functionality of
the service may become too complex, designed as it often is with the interests of
large business clouders in mind, rather than those of private users or small business
clouders. Continuous payment of fees may be required for keeping your data safe,
particularly when clouders do not have the resources for backup storage themselves.
Moreover, when software changes, data formats may change, with uncertainty about
backward compatibility.
A loose category of stakeholders includes those individuals, business corporations
and others whose data are stored in the cloud, not by themselves, but by individuals or
businesses with whom they interact. This happens when a business collects
information about its customers, and stores and processes it by means of such
applications as Salesforce, but also when patients or doctors store medical files in the
cloud, or even simpler when a customer sends an email to a business Gmail account.
A final category includes stakeholders that are indirectly affected by cloud
computing. A few years ago, a study by the Brookings Institution claimed that a
large part of the savings that cloud computing promises are due to reducing IT jobs,
in particular IT support staff (West 2011), but in all fairness it should be noted that
the debate about potential negative effects of cloud computing on employment has
waned. A more serious worry today concerns citizens in developing countries,
where even the more optimistic scenarios still allow for the possibility that cloud
computing may exacerbate rather then diminish the digital divide between
developed and developing countries (Floridi 2007). While cloud computing seems
to be a boon to a population that cannot afford the computer equipment that is
necessary for today’s IT—a very simple laptop is sufficient for cloud computing—it
also requires reliable, ubiquitous and high speed Internet connections that are almost
entirely absent, and if not absent very expensive, in large parts of the world.
Educational Pressure
In order to get a clear grasp of what normative requirements follow from our
observations so far, we turn to recent changes in the views held by clouders about
ownership and freedom. The main idea is that many users of IT services have
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gradually adopted a deflated view of the value of ownership, a sense that owning
things is no longer as important as it was (De Bruin 2010). This is particularly true
of Generation Y, the Millennials, the generation born in the eighties and nineties
(Howe and Strauss 2000). This generation has large expertise with electronic
devices and electronic commerce, is concerned with the community, oriented
towards teamwork, and it attaches great value to ‘sharing’ things. One aspect of this
is that Generation Y accepts the rules they learned from their parents to a greater
extent than Generation X (born in the sixties and seventies). Where parents and
educators are absent, though, Generation Y follows their own rules; and these rules
often reveal a deflated view of ownership, reflected in a more lenient or perhaps
simply different attitude towards plagiarism and Internet piracy (Freestone and
Mittchel 2004). Information available on the Internet is not seen as belonging to
someone whose property rights have to be respected; rather, it is seen as something
put out there to be shared and to be freely used (Germek 2009).
While a deflated view of ownership is most clearly visible in Generation Y, this
generation is by no means unique in this respect. A significant proportion of the
stakeholders affected by cloud computing embrace such a view. And it is this view
of ownership, we shall argue now, that motivates the need for specific educational
pressure on clouders. First, we defend the view that a deflated view of ownership
often entails an inflated view of freedom. Then, we interpret this using an epistemic
view of arguments for the value of freedom (De Bruin 2010). This enables us,
finally, to defend our claim about the need for educational pressure on clouders,
indicating the epistemic responsibilities both of the cloud computing industry (and
those businesses using their services) as well as of the clouders themselves.
With a deflated view of the value of ownership, it is no longer ownership that
counts, but the use that people can make of a certain thing. We move from owners to
users, who do not so much value possessing a certain hard copy of a photograph, but
rather the fact that they can view photographs, show them to their friends, include
them on their homepage and in their social network profiles, or manipulate them in
Photoshop. They value ownership only instrumentally insofar as it gives them
opportunities, that is, freedom of choice. Oversimplifying: ownership that yields no
freedom loses its value.
A standard argument for the value of freedom is to the effect that freedom allows
people to satisfy their desires, to fulfil their wishes and to reach their goals (Carter
1995; Kreps 1979; De Bruin 2010). If your freedom increases, the likelihood
increases that among the actions you are free to select there is an action that would
satisfy your desires best. Another argument goes back to Kant and focuses on
personal responsibility, maintaining that if your freedom increases, your respon-
sibility increases too, because you are responsible for excluding increasingly more
options (Hurka 1987). In this sense, an increase in freedom is an increase in
opportunity costs (Benn 1975). These arguments are often invoked by politicians
and policy makers to motivate specific forms of regulation (Brown 2009). However,
as (De Bruin 2010) has shown, the value of freedom is best realized when specific
epistemic conditions are satisfied, which politicians and policy makers tend to
overlook. To benefit genuinely from their freedom, people have to know what
actions they can choose from and they have to know what the likely consequences
28 B. de Bruin, L. Floridi
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of these various choice options are. In other words, they have to know the
characteristics of their opportunities.
These observations form the basis of a number of responsibilities that cloud
computing stakeholders must assume. If cloud computing is to deliver on its
promise to cater to the desires of people embracing an inflated view of freedom of
choice, then realizing the conditions necessary for freedom of choice to be exploited
ought to be given priority. It is here, then, that educational pressure on the clouders
enters the stage, both for private and business clouders. Clouders need to have
general knowledge about the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing; and
they need to have specific knowledge about the services they buy and use or
consider buying or using.
Information about the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing will
primarily have to be provided by the hosting companies and the cloud services
providers, because they have the most extensive and up to date knowledge. The
typical ways by which companies communicate with their customers are
advertisements (commercials) and licence agreements, however, and none of these
are particularly adequate to get a good view of one’s options needed for an informed
decision on the part of the customer. Commercials do of course emphasize the
advantages, but sometimes exaggerate them and rarely mention the disadvantages.
Licence agreements do mention the risks and disadvantages, but they are not a
very good source of information either, because they are written in hard to
understand ‘legalese’, which causes customers not to read the texts of the licence
agreements and only check the required ‘consent boxes’ in order to obtain access to
site or service.
Now it surely cannot all hang on the cloud computing industry and their business
customers only. The industry is not the ‘clouder’s keeper’ (Ebejer and Morden
1988). Clouders, too, have to do some epistemic work. In particular, they have to
search for information. Recent work on virtue epistemology is useful to flesh out the
responsibilities of the clouders with a little bit more precision. Authors such as
Montmarquet (1993) and Zagzebski (1996) have developed rather sophisticated
theories of epistemic virtues that, like the non-epistemic or practical virtues, give
normative guidance to individual human behaviour, an approach that is gaining
traction in applied ethics as well (Crossman and Doshi 2014; Marcum 2008;
Rawwas et al. 2013; De Bruin 2013).
7
Intellectual impartiality is one of these
epistemic virtues. Intellectually impartial clouders consider cloud computing in an
open-minded way and are willing to confront their prejudices (about alleged
insecurity or data mining, for instance) with opposing ideas, while being actively
aware of the fact that their own beliefs might be wrong. They listen to what the
cloud computing industry says, but they will also actively seek recommendations
from independent experts and representatives of consumer organizations. Another
epistemic virtue is intellectual sobriety. Intellectually sober clouders resist the
overly enthusiastic adoption of beliefs about either the pros or the cons of cloud
computing; they take ads with the necessary grain of salt. At the same time, they
avoid being overly sceptical, because scepticism leads to inaction. They realize that
7
The exposition here is based primarily on Montmarquet (1993).
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making a business decision forces them to make up their mind and to decide what to
believe, for instance, when they must decide on whether to buy new locally installed
software or subscribe to cloud computing services. The third virtue is intellectual
courage. Intellectually courageous clouders admit their own ignorance and keep
actively searching for information if they need it, even if they meet resistance—or
even contempt—from others. If they do not understand the terms of service, they
will ask; and if they do not understand the answer, they will ask again.
Yet even the most epistemically virtuous clouder will fail to collect sufficient
information to make an informed decision if hosting companies, cloud services
providers and business clouders do not communicate in the right way. Terms of use
are often cast in very lengthy documents written in a legal jargon many people find
hard to understand. This is one of the main barriers obstructing adequate
communication between the industry and its customers. O’Neill (2011) has
diagnosed this as a form of ‘quasi-communication’ that primarily serves the
function of laying off liabilities rather than ensuring that clouders understand what
services they buy into. The solution we suggest here is that the cloud computing
industry should strive for interlucent communication (De Bruin 2015). Interlucency
is an epistemic virtue. Yet unlike the virtues of intellectual impartiality, sobriety and
courage, which are self-regarding virtues, interlucency has to do with the way
agents interact with other agents; it is an other-regarding or patient-oriented
epistemic virtue (Kawall 2002; De Bruin 2015). Interlucency incorporates the
virtues of being a good teacher. Interlucent agents make sure to adapt the provision
of information to the audience they want to reach, and they actively track whether
their audience is understanding them.
Slightly more formally, interlucency can be seen as an epistemic virtue directed
at establishing common knowledge to the extent that this is necessary for successful
communication. A proposition uis common knowledge among two agents A and B
whenever both know that uis true, both know of each other that they know that uis
true, both know that both know that uis true, and so on. Common knowledge
captures situations in which uis completely open and transparent to the relevant
agents. In game theory, common knowledge is seen as a source of beliefs that agents
need for coordinated action and social cooperation (Geanakoplos 1992; De Bruin
2005). Linguists have used these insights to understand communication and mutual
understanding between speakers and hearers, and to show that a breakdown of
common knowledge about the meaning of a certain linguistic utterance is likely to
result in miscommunication. Suppose, for instance, that A tells B to get the book
from a library. Normally it will be common knowledge between A and B that
library refers to an institution where you can borrow books. But this may clearly be
upset by B’s knowing that A is French and that in French librairie means bookshop
rather than library.
As a communicative ideal, common knowledge implies such things as that
speakers use words not just in ways that are correct according to the dictionary;
what should also guide their linguistic choice is whether what they say is likely to be
understood by the hearers in the intended way. It is here that interlucency comes
into play. If an agent A has evidence to the effect that u, and A knows that uhas to
be communicated to B, then A will use communication strategies that B is likely to
30 B. de Bruin, L. Floridi
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interpret correctly. And this often requires more than just sending the message. It
also requires checking whether B has understood the message, and if not, to find
alternative ways to communicate u. To that end, A has to examine what background
information B possesses, what, for instance, the level of technicality is that B will
understand or whether B will give common words like anonymous or personal data
the precise legal meaning A may give to them.
Interlucency is somewhat related to Habermas’ (1973) concept of Versta¨ndlich-
keit ‘comprehensibility’, which may be seen as a precondition of communicative
action. While comprehensibility does not get as much attention in Habermas’ (1981)
own writings as the better known concepts of truth, rightness and truthfulness, it has
found its way in applied contexts inside (Porr 2005; Spahn 2012) and outside
philosophy (O’Donnell and Henriksen 2002; Underwood and Ozanne 1998).
Comprehensibility is, however, more general than interlucency in the sense that it
captures the syntactic and formal aspects that communication action should satisfy.
Interlucency, by contrast, is always related to specific speakers and hearers and the
specific epistemic demands that they have to satisfy for communication between
them to be successful.
Regulation may force businesses to be interlucent. In the UK and other countries,
for instance, buyers of certain financial services have to go through a lengthy,
detailed and clear presentation of the risks of the products they buy, and they have
to sign a form indicating that the risks have been explained to them in full. Certain
mortgage products cannot be bought without the consumer having demonstrated a
clear understanding of how they work. These procedures contribute to the
establishment of common knowledge among clients and service providers. Other
ways to implement interlucency are lists of Frequently Asked Questions—if indeed
these are the questions that are frequently asked—or accurate query-answering
services by email or in discussion forums.
Similar measures have much to recommend themselves to the cloud computing
industry, and there is reason to assume that they may work. Dropbox, one of the
most popular cloud file synchronization services used by academics and business
people alike, stated in an earlier version of its licence agreement (in 2010) that ‘By
utilizing the siteyou consent to allow Dropbox access to your computer to access
any files that are placed in thefolder you choose to link to Dropbox’. This left
many questions unanswered. Did this mean that storing a file in such a folder
entailed giving Dropbox staff access to it so that they could read it? That would
have meant that Dropbox could engage in data mining of what you store on the site.
Nowhere in the 2010 agreement did Dropbox clarify this issue, even though at the
time it was one of the most serious concerns clouders had about cloud computing
services (Fujitsu 2010). Dropbox answers the data mining question in a forum: ‘if
you’re really paranoid you can monitor all network communication of Dropbox, but
let me just say up front that you shouldn’t be putting anything like medical records
(which plenty of people have inquired about) into Dropbox for legal reasons’.
8
8
http://forums.dropbox/topic.php?id=7833 (accessed 29 June 2011).
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Today, however, Dropbox has a fairly elaborate and easy to navigate section
devoted to privacy issues, answering many potential concerns of their customers.
9
One may wonder how our recommendation to increase interlucency in cloud
computing through regulation can be squared with proposals to reform EU data
protection law. One of the main pillars of existing data protection law is the notice
and consent model of consumer informed consent. A number of commentators
think, however, that this model is outdated because in the age of Big Data ICT
makes it possible to analyse large amounts of data gathered from a large variety of
different sources in ways that cannot be described to consenting consumers in
understandable ways or that simply cannot be predicted beforehand (Mantelero
2014). A suggested solution is the establishment of data protection authorities that,
endowed with sufficient technological knowledge and expertise, shall speak on
behalf of the consumers.
It cannot be sensibly denied that a number of technical questions are too complex
for most consumers to address. It is also true that, as the notice and consent
framework is actually implemented, it is often too easy for companies ‘to give
notice and require the consent without effective self-determination of users’
(Mantelero 2014), that is, failing to establish genuine informed consent. Moreover,
data processing increasingly targets not only individual people but also social
groups (ethnic or religious groups, local communities, nations, etc.), which shows
the importance of a concern for group privacy (Floridi 2014b). Yet there will remain
numerous issues in which the notice and consent model is far from outdated. Many
of the more tangible risks that consumers of cloud computing run can be described
to them in ways that they understand. Not disputing the potential relevance of data
protection impact assessments and other initiatives meant to keep a tab on the
processing of personal data, we do not believe that the notice and consent model can
be set aside so easily. Even when potential future use of data is hard to predict, the
primary guiding normative principle ought to be that customers must be in the
position to decide for themselves how to deal with the existing uncertainty rather
than outsourcing their decisions to data protection authorities.
This is not to say that the notice and consent model as we know it should be left
unchanged. We agree with the critics that the current implementation of the model
does not always succeed in generating genuine informed consent. We propose that
this is often due not to the fact that by its very nature the required information is too
complex to understand for most customers, but rather to the fact that it was not
communicated by the service provider in a way that customers understand. It is here
that we see the potential contributions of interlucency come to the fore most clearly,
because it suggests a more context-dependent approach to duties of information and
transparency. Merely providing information in transparent ways is not enough for
communication to be interlucent. Interlucent service providers tailor their commu-
nications to their intended audience, and track their understanding, because they
realise that genuine informed consent requires first and foremost that the consumers
understand the information on which their consent depends. In our view, current as
well as proposed regulation too often allows the industry to obtain consent through
9
https://www.dropbox.com/help/topics/security_and_privacy (accessed 30 March 2015).
32 B. de Bruin, L. Floridi
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forms that are too complex for most consumers to understand. Our suggestion here
is that regulation should require the industry not only to provide information, but to
provide it in ways that consumers understand, and that the industry must actively
check whether customers understand.
Proscriptive Pressure
Recall our distinction between hosting companies owning and operating the
datacentres; cloud services providers developing particular forms of Software-as-a-
Service and leasing ‘space in the cloud’ from hosting companies; and business
clouders that use these cloud computing services. We work from the assumption
that minimal proscriptive pressure must be put on hosting companies and cloud
services providers, but that rather extensive proscriptive pressure may be exerted on
business clouders. This assumption gains plausibility from a broadly liberal
principle connecting freedom and technological progress. It is based on the idea that
even though scientific and technological developments may have disadvantages,
governments (and other regulators) will hardly be able to predict the disadvanta-
geous outcomes of research and development and that they should therefore
minimize interference during the development phase. This argument can be found in
the writings of such authors as John Stuart Mill (1859) and Friedrich von Hayek
(1960), but it has been defended with more precision by Carter (1995). The claim is
not that developing clearly harmful technology should be allowed; it does not
readily apply to nuclear power, say, the risks of which are rather straightforward to
determine. Rather, the idea is that in a situation in which clear indications of serious
downside risks are so far lacking, government bans are premature. From this
perspective, the cloud computing industry requires only minor proscriptive pressure.
Of course this is restricted to the initial stages of product development, because
downside risks may become visible along the way; and if that happens, government
policy may have to be re-evaluated.
Another defence of this assumption refers to the chilling effects that regulation
may have. Regulation may force IT businesses into specific directions and even
have negative spill-over effects in other domains (Reed 2007), when, out of fear for
legal repercussions, companies stay on the safe side and develop products only if
there is no doubt that they are legally acceptable. This would stifle creativity and
innovation. A government may, for instance, require the cloud computing industry
to satisfy certain standards of security or reliability, or prohibit data mining or
marketing through personalized ads, and it may do so with the intention to protect
consumers. But at the same time, the argument goes, such regulation may make
cloud computing more expensive to customers who, for instance, may not need the
extra 0.99 % reliability or security, or to those who have good reasons not to object
to data mining.
Our claim that minimal prospective pressure ought to be exerted on hosting
companies and cloud services providers—but sometimes rather intense pressure on
business clouders—is in line with demands for technology neutral regulation. Our
defence does not discriminate against particular technologies. Nor does not hamper
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the development of technology. Rather, treating business clouders differently from
hosting companies and cloud services providers rests on a conception of technology
neutrality to the effect that the purpose of regulation is to regulate effects, not means
(Knoops 2006). As we shall show shortly, it is in particular the effects of the
activities of certain business clouders that are ethically problematic.
It is true that regulation of business clouders may have chilling effects, too, and
that certain (non-ICT) businesses may for fear of non-compliance decide against
adopting cloud computing technology that, if they adopted it, would lead to
efficiency improvements. But we do not think these risks will likely materialize.
And even if they do, this will not so much impact the development of ICT but rather
put a break on efficiency enlarging measures in those businesses that can very well
operate without cloud computing. Businesses that make essential use of cloud
computing will take the risk.
This does not let the cloud computing industry off the hook. As we argued in the
previous section, the other side of the coin is that the cloud computing industry has
an obligation to communicate in crystal-clear fashion with their consumers. If the
idea is that the industry (hosting companies and cloud services providers) and its
customers are left free more or less to do and contract what they think is to their
mutual advantage (which is what we argued for in the first paragraphs of this
section), then consumers must have detailed and adequate knowledge of what they
actually buy. And as we have seen, this requires more than merely finessing detailed
licence agreements; it requires the kind of genuine interlucent communication that
we defended in the previous section.
As we indicated before, while we argue for limited proscriptive pressure on
hosting companies and cloud services providers, proscriptive pressure on businesses
making use of cloud services, the business clouders, will have to be considerably
stronger. Here, too, the guiding principle is that regulation should not stifle
innovation, but since the main activities of business clouders is something else than
cloud computing, proscriptive pressure is less likely to have such an effect. To argue
in favour of proscriptive pressure on business clouders, we shall now discuss a
number of properties of cloud computing that, through the activities of business
clouders, may negatively affect certain stakeholders. We shall also indicate what
proscriptive pressure may be used as a response.
To begin with, the physical security of datacentres themselves determines the
likelihood of servers, and therefore data, being stolen. Even though online crime is
more common, criminals have shown some interest in actual servers, and several
legal cases show that the data stored on these servers were used for criminal
purposes (De Bruin 2010). Yet ultimately the probability of this kind of crime is
likely to decrease when firms start opting for cloud services, because criminals will
find it very hard to determine which servers in the datacentres contain the data they
are interested in. Whereas a bank’s server has only one purpose and is an easy target
for criminals interested in data on social security numbers, credit card numbers and
the like, cloud computing datacentres store very different kinds of data and this may
makes it less attractive to burgle a cloud computing datacentre. Because of their
larger impact, physical terrorist attacks on datacentres were expected in the first
years of cloud computing. However, a more serious concern seems to be the use
34 B. de Bruin, L. Floridi
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terrorist groups make of cloud computing services themselves, as well as ‘non-
physical’ cyber attacks on datacentres, including the 2014 Sony hack. And while
physical attacks on datacentres can be prevented by traditional methods, hosting
companies are in constant competition with cyber criminals honing their decryption
and hacking skills.
Sometimes such skills are not even needed to gain access to certain data. In the
bulk of cases, the physical location where the data are stored determines the
jurisdiction under which it falls. Once data cross national boundaries, it may be
much easier for interested parties to gain access even in legal ways. Law
enforcement in the US and elsewhere increasingly contacts hosting companies and
cloud services providers with requests to make customer data available. In the first
6 months of 2014, the number of data requests received by Google from US law
enforcement agencies amounted to 12,539, of which 84 % were completely or
partially complied with.
10
It cannot be denied that the search warrants that underlie
some of these requests may play a crucial role in law enforcement, and we believe
that there are cases where cloud search warrants are fully justified. All the same,
what these figures show is also that the cloud is not a safe place for a particular kind
of data. Lawyers, for instance, must be forbidden to store some kinds of customer
data in the cloud. Here we strongly disagree with the ethics opinions issued by
several professional organizations according to which decisions about storing
customer data have to be left to the lawyer’s discretion (Acello 2010). Despite the
fact that other voices can be heard defending more stringent codes of conduct
(Lewallen 2013), these opinions are still fairly common. But while they are right to
point to the advantages of using cloud computing in general and to play down the
risk of cyber attacks and other security breaches, they seriously ignore the fact that
when, say, a European lawyer stores data in the cloud and the data end up in a
datacentre in the US, the data may fall under US law, with unforeseen
consequences—and there is no guarantee either that hosting companies will not
extend their territory to countries with poor or no legislation protecting customers.
11
Not to mention the risk of technical failures where, as Lewallen (2013) describes,
legal documents that a law firm had stored on Google Docs were forwarded to all
people with whom it had shared documents in the past.
Interested parties can exercise influence on the cloud in other ways as well. In a
widely publicized event in the history of cloud computing, the staff of Joe
Liberman, Chairman of the US Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental
Affairs Committee, contacted Amazon apparently with the request to remove
WikiLeaks from its servers. A day later, the hosting company indeed discontinued
their service to WikiLeaks. In a dry comment, the Guardian wrote that this is a
‘wake-up call to anyone who thinks that Cloud Computing services can be trusted to
protect the interests of customers’ (Naughton 2011).
10
See http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/userdatarequests/ (accessed 30 March 2015, data for
second half of 2014 not yet available). The country ranking second is Germany with 3338 requests in the
same period of which 48 % were complied with.
11
This is among the reasons underlying EU sponsorship of a Europe-wide cloud computing scheme.
The Ethics of Cloud Computing 35
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There is then a third reason why security breaches are likely to increase concerns
about the way in which business clouders and private clouders access the cloud.
Cloud services such as Salesforce are very attractive for business people working at
many different locations, because they can access their customers’ data from the
office computer, but also while travelling, using their laptop, or from home. To log
on to these cloud services, one typically needs a username and a password, but for
convenience many users save them on their computers so that they are automatically
logged on to the cloud services when they start their computers. If these computers
are not themselves protected (by passwords or fingerprints, for instance), anyone
who gains access to the computer has access to the cloud services and hence to the
data of numerous customers. Moreover, public wifi networks at airports, conference
venues and so on are likely to be a prominent form of access to the Internet for many
business people, in particular if they are working for smaller companies that cannot
afford more expensive mobile Internet. The security of these networks is, however,
far from optimal. If business people turn to the cloud and start storing sensitive
customer data there, such data breach cases will increase—even if the number of
stolen laptops remains the same—because the cloud services will contain more data
than can be stored on one laptop alone.
Conclusion
Increasingly more private and business customers are turning to the cloud as the
default option. The advantages are indeed huge: no installation, no configuration, no
updating, no upgrading, no compatibility problems, low costs, and computation
power that far exceeds that of their own computers, their own servers and their own
datacentres. This is very attractive to many business corporations that have
witnessed a data explosion (so called Big Data) that their in-house computing
resources can no longer handle. Banks, pharmaceutical industries, insurance
companies, marketing, consultancy and research firms, and many others benefit
enormously whenever the cloud computing industry makes highly complex
computer tasks possible and affordable, by combining innumerable processors
spread all over the world. However, there are risks to cloud computing, too. First of
all, many clouders are unaware of what cloud computing really amounts to. We
have argued that this is due to a lack of interlucent communication between the
cloud computing industry and its customers, and showed that competing with
integrity in this emerging market requires of hosting companies and cloud services
providers that they do their utmost to ensure that customers understand what they
buy. Second, we defended the claim that regulation of the hosting companies and
the cloud services providers should be at a minimum, because proscriptive pressure
here risks slowing down innovation. Yet regulation of the business customers of the
cloud services providers is urgently needed. Hosting companies and cloud services
providers move their customers’ data with high frequency from one datacentre to
another so as to enable efficient use of storage space. This is one of the innovations
that marks cloud computing. But it is currently unsuitable, we have argued, to store
lawyers’ client data, for instance, or sensitive military, business or medical data.
36 B. de Bruin, L. Floridi
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Disagreeing with several professional associations, we defended, for instance, the
claim that lawyers should be forbidden to store client data in the cloud.
To our knowledge, this is the first paper dealing with cloud computing from the
perspective of business ethics. The technology is still in its infancy, and while
computer scientists have of course amply published on the topic, its ethical
implications have been largely ignored so far. This has made some of the
conclusions of this paper tentative, depending as they do on a relatively slim body of
research. We hope that this paper may inspire other researchers to take up this
fascinating subject.
Acknowledgments We would like to thank Sietse Daudey, Wouter Koenders, Onora O’Neill and Tom
Simpson as well as the audience of the 2011 annual conference of the European Business Ethics Network,
which was held in Antwerp. We are also very grateful to the anonymous referees for extensive and useful
comments obtained on an earlier draft of this paper.
Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, dis-
tribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original
author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were
made.
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... To this end, the present work studies the Intelligent Recommendation System (IRS) based on SRD to help people retrieve the required information quickly and accurately (Chen, 2019). At present, personalized recommendation technology has become an effective method to deal with information overload, including Content-Based Recommendation (CBR), Collaborative Filtering (CF) recommendation, hybrid recommendation, knowledge-based recommendation, network structure-based recommendation, and social-tag based recommendation (Bruin and Florida, 2017). However, the rapidly developing Electric Commerce (e-commerce) puts higher requirements for user recommendation that cannot be achieved through a single recommendation technology. ...
Article
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The purpose is to provide researchers with reliable Scientific Research Data (SRD) from the massive amounts of research data to establish a sustainable Scientific Research (SR) environment. Specifically, the present work proposes establishing an Intelligent Recommendation System (IRS) based on Machine Learning (ML) algorithm and SRD. Firstly, the IRS is established over ML technology. Then, based on user Psychology and Collaborative Filtering (CF) recommendation algorithm, a hybrid algorithm [namely, Content-Based Recommendation-Collaborative Filtering (CBR-CF)] is established to improve the utilization efficiency of SRD and Sustainable Development (SD) of SR. Consequently, the present work designs literature and SRD-targeted IRS using the hybrid recommendation under the background of SD. The proposed system’s feasibility is analyzed through experiments. Additionally, the system performance is analyzed and verified from accuracy, diversity, coverage, novelty, and recommendation efficiency. The results show that the hybrid algorithm can make up for the shortcomings of a single algorithm and improve the recommendation efficiency. Experiments show that the accuracy of the proposed CBR-CF algorithm is the highest. In particular, the recommendation accuracy for the single-user system can reach 82–93%, and the recall of all recommended algorithms falls between 60 and 91%. The recall of the hybrid algorithm is higher than that of a single algorithm, and the highest recall is 91%. Meanwhile, the hybrid algorithm has comprehensive coverage, good applicability, and diversity. Therefore, SD-oriented SRD-targeted IRS is of great significance to improve the SRD utilization and the accuracy of IRS, and expand the achievement value of SR. The research content provides a reference for establishing a sustainable SR environment and improving SR efficiency.
... Accounting information system [16] refers to accounting personnel using accounting system software to make accounting books and financial statements, and using computer technology to input, summarize, calculate, and count original accounting vouchers, which refers to the management system that reports financial data obtained by analysis to the company. e bookkeeping mode of the accounting information system replaces the original manual bookkeeping mode, which improves the efficiency of corporate financial operations. ...
Article
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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are an indispensable part of the development of the market economy, and they occupy a major position in the national economic system. Nowadays, the information construction of SMEs is becoming more and more important. Having an informationized accounting system can speed up the economic development of SMEs. So, this article designs a new type of accounting system, mainly for SMEs. Therefore, this article is based on sensor monitoring and cloud computing to optimize the informatization construction of the accounting system of SMEs. This paper proposes a cloud computing SOA architecture to build a cloud computing-based accounting system, and then combines the wireless sensor network routing protocol in the wireless sensor network system and the method of measuring the distance of the sensor monitoring node, and the wireless sensor network is applied to the cloud computing-based accounting system. Then, designed the enterprise information construction investigation experiment to formulate the rules applicable to SMEs, and then tested the data detection ability of the new accounting system by testing the performance of the sensor network protocol. Finally, the data obtained from the analysis of the weight of the enterprise cloud service is used to optimize the new accounting system, and the performance of the final optimized accounting system is compared with the traditional system. Experiments show that the accuracy of data monitoring by an accounting system based on sensor monitoring and cloud computing has increased by 13.84% compared to traditional accounting systems; compared with the traditional accounting system, the data processing efficiency of the accounting system based on sensor monitoring and cloud computing has increased by 14.63%.
... Virtualisation and convenience charging, for example, aren't novel cloud processing technology. Cloud storage, but at the other hand, employs contemporary capabilities [5][6] [7] . ...
... They was called Generation Cloud in a research conducted by Goldsmith College professors and supported by Rackspace, a large hosted company. They're likewise consistent with the tendency it towards an IoT technology wherein assets are transferred "from the commodity to the capabilities the commodity represents," i.e., an Everything-as-a-Service prospect wherein the users will not have to buy who own a textbook, just a permission to consume it on your EBook or even other device [4] [5] . ...
Book
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This book presents the main scientific results from the GUARD project. It aims at filling the current technological gap between software management paradigms and cybersecurity models, the latter still lacking orchestration and agility to effectively address the dynamicity of the former. This book provides a comprehensive review of the main concepts, architectures, algorithms, and non-technical aspects developed during three years of investigation.
Chapter
In the field of research, the role of ethics grows more and more every year. One might be surprised but even in the field of technology there is a necessity for experts to understand and to implement ethical principles. Ethics itself could be understood as a code or a moral way by which a person lives and works. But within the field of information technology and cybersecurity research there is a chance that even the most technical appropriate solution does not go in line with the corresponding ethical principles. Experts need to implement fundamental ethical principles in their technical products in order not to cause harm or have any negative effect on their users. To the vast majority of challenges that will be reflected in this chapter are discussed within the EU-funded project GUARD, namely what are the proper actions which need to be taken to ensure ethical compliance. Challenges such as ensuring the privacy of the users, reporting and handling incidental findings, testing the technological product, mitigating biases etc. could have different negative effect on humans if not dealt with properly. The current chapter would explore the questions posed above alongside a description of a methodology resulting in the combined efforts of experts both in the field of cybersecurity and ethics.
Chapter
Detection of unknown attacks is challenging due to the lack of exemplary attack vectors. However, previously unknown attacks are a significant danger for systems due to a lack of tools for protecting systems against them, especially in fast-evolving Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The most widely used approach for malicious behaviour of the monitored system is detecting anomalies. The vicious behaviour might result from an attack (both known and unknown) or accidental breakdown. We present a Net Anomaly Detector (NAD) system that uses one-class classification Machine Learning techniques to detect anomalies in the network traffic. The highly modular architecture allows the system to be expanded with adapters for various types of networks. We propose and discuss multiple approaches for increasing detection quality and easing the component deployment in unknown networks by known attacks emulation, exhaustive feature extraction, hyperparameter tuning, detection threshold adaptation and ensemble models strategies. Furthermore, we present both centralized and decentralized deployment schemes and present preliminary results of experiments for the TCP/IP network traffic conducted on the CIC-IDS2017 dataset.
Chapter
Full-text available
For many years signature-based intrusion detection has been applied to discover known malware and attack vectors. However, with the advent of malware toolboxes, obfuscation techniques and the rapid discovery of new vulnerabilities, novel approaches for intrusion detection are required. System behavior analysis is a cornerstone to recognizing adversarial actions on endpoints in computer networks that are not known in advance. Logs are incrementally produced textual data that reflect events and their impact on technical systems. Their efficient analysis is key for operational cyber security. We investigate approaches beyond applying simple regular expressions, and provide insights into novel machine learning mechanisms for parsing and analyzing log data for online anomaly detection. The AMiner is an open source implementation of a pipeline that implements many machine learning algorithms that are feasible for deeper analysis of system behavior, recognizing deviations from learned models and thus spotting a wide variety of even unknown attacks.
Chapter
The purpose of this chapter is to outline the development of the idea of "stakeholder management" as it has come to be applied in strategic management. We begin by developing a brief history of the concept. We then suggest that traditionally the stakeholder approach to strategic management has several related characteristics that serve as distinguishing features. We review recent work on stakeholder theory and suggest how stakeholder management has affected the practice of management. We end by suggesting further research questions.
Book
In this topical book, Boudewijn de Bruin examines the ethical 'blind spots' that lay at the heart of the global financial crisis. He argues that the most important moral problem in finance is not the 'greed is good' culture, but rather the epistemic shortcomings of bankers, clients, rating agencies and regulators. Drawing on insights from economics, psychology and philosophy, de Bruin develops a novel theory of epistemic virtue and applies it to racist and sexist lending practices, subprime mortgages, CEO hubris, the Madoff scandal, professionalism in accountancy and regulatory outsourcing of epistemic responsibility. With its multidisciplinary reach, Ethics and the Global Financial Crisis will appeal to scholars working in philosophy, business ethics, economics, psychology and the sociology of finance. The many concrete examples and case studies mean that this book will also prove useful to policy-makers and regulators.
Article
Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach was first published in 1984 as a part of the Pitman series in Business and Public Policy. Its publication proved to be a landmark moment in the development of stakeholder theory. Widely acknowledged as a world leader in business ethics and strategic management, R. Edward Freeman’s foundational work continues to inspire scholars and students concerned with a more practical view of how business and capitalism actually work. Business can be understood as a system of how we create value for stakeholders. This worldview connects business and capitalism with ethics once and for all. On the 25th anniversary of publication, Cambridge University Press are delighted to be able to offer a new print-on-demand edition of his work to a new generation of readers.
Article
The article argues that Information Ethics (IE) can provide a successful approach for coping with the challenges posed by our increasingly globalized reality. After a brief review of some of the most fundamental transformations brought about by the phenomenon of globalization, the article distinguishes between two ways of understanding Global Information Ethics, as an ethics of global communication or as a global-information ethics. It is then argued that cross-cultural, successful interactions among micro and macro agents call for a high level of successful communication, that the latter requires a shared ontology friendly towards the implementation of moral actions, and that this is provided by IE. There follows a brief account of IE and of the ontic trust, the hypothetical pact between all agents and patients presupposed by IE. Purchase this article to continue reading all 11 pages >