The Ethics of Cloud Computing

TitleThe Ethics of Cloud Computing
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
Authorsde Bruin, B, Floridi, L
JournalScience & Engineering Ethics
Date Published2017
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number13533452
KeywordsCloud , CREATIVE , epistemic , information , Privacy , Technological , VALUES
AbstractCloud 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. 
Notesde Bruin, Boudewijn; Email Address: Floridi, Luciano 1; Email Address:; Affiliation: 1: Oxford Internet Institute , University of Oxford , 1 St Giles Oxford OX1 3JS UK; Source Info: Feb2017, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p21; Subject Term: Values (Ethics); Subject Term: Cloud computing; Subject Term: Cloud storage; Subject Term: Technological innovations; Subject Term: Creative ability in technology; Author-Supplied Keyword: Epistemic virtue; Author-Supplied Keyword: Information ethics; Author-Supplied Keyword: Privacy; NAICS/Industry Codes: 518210 Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services; Number of Pages: 19p; Document Type: Article