•  2016
    Trusting virtual trust
    Ethics and Information Technology 7 (3): 167-180. 2005.
    Can trust evolve on the Internet between virtual strangers? Recently, Pettit answered this question in the negative. Focusing on trust in the sense of ‘dynamic, interactive, and trusting’ reliance on other people, he distinguishes between two forms of trust: primary trust rests on the belief that the other is trustworthy, while the more subtle secondary kind of trust is premised on the belief that the other cherishes one’s esteem, and will, therefore, reply to an act of trust in kind (‘trust-res…Read more
  •  1579
    Two property regimes for software development may be distinguished. Within corporations, on the one hand, a Private Regime obtains which excludes all outsiders from access to a firm's software assets. It is shown how the protective instruments of secrecy and both copyright and patent have been strengthened considerably during the last two decades. On the other, a Public Regime among hackers may be distinguished, initiated by individuals, organizations or firms, in which source code is freely exc…Read more
  •  1253
    The ideas behind open source software are currently applied to the production of encyclopedias. A sample of six English text-based, neutral-point-of-view, online encyclopedias of the kind are identified: h2g2, Wikipedia, Scholarpedia, Encyclopedia of Earth, Citizendium and Knol. How do these projects deal with the problem of trusting their participants to behave as competent and loyal encyclopedists? Editorial policies for soliciting and processing content are shown to range from high discretion…Read more
  •  751
    Open Source Software: A New Mertonian Ethos?
    In Anton Vedder (ed.), Ethics and the Internet, Intersentia. 2001.
    Hacker communities of the 1970s and 1980s developed a quite characteristic work ethos. Its norms are explored and shown to be quite similar to those which Robert Merton suggested govern academic life: communism, universalism, disinterestedness, and organized scepticism. In the 1990s the Internet multiplied the scale of these communities, allowing them to create successful software programs like Linux and Apache. After renaming themselves the `open source software' movement, with an emphasis on s…Read more
  •  651
    Many virtual communities that rely on user-generated content (such as social news sites, citizen journals, and encyclopedias in particular) offer unrestricted and immediate ‘write access’ to every contributor. It is argued that these communities do not just assume that the trust granted by that policy is well-placed; they have developed extensive mechanisms that underpin the trust involved (‘backgrounding’). These target contributors (stipulating legal terms of use and developing etiquette, both…Read more
  •  423
    English - language Wikipedia is constantly being plagued by vandalistic contributions on a massive scale. In order to fight them its volunteer contributors deploy an array of software tools and autonomous bots. After an analysis of their functioning and the ‘ coactivity ’ in use between humans and bots, this research ‘ discloses ’ the moral issues that emerge from the combined patrolling by humans and bots. Administrators provide the stronger tools only to trusted users, thereby creating a new h…Read more
  •  309
    Profiling vandalism in Wikipedia: A Schauerian approach to justification
    Ethics and Information Technology 18 (2): 131-148. 2016.
    In order to fight massive vandalism the English- language Wikipedia has developed a system of surveillance which is carried out by humans and bots, supported by various tools. Central to the selection of edits for inspection is the process of using filters or profiles. Can this profiling be justified? On the basis of a careful reading of Frederick Schauer’s books about rules in general (1991) and profiling in particular (2003) I arrive at several conclusions. The effectiveness, efficiency, and r…Read more
  •  308
    During the two last decades, speeded up by the development of the Internet, several types of commons have been opened up for intellectual resources. In this article their variety is being explored as to the kind of resources and the type of regulation involved. The open source software movement initiated the phenomenon, by creating a copyright-based commons of source code that can be labelled `dynamic': allowing both use and modification of resources. Additionally, such a commons may be either p…Read more
  •  281
    Open-content communities that focus on co-creation without requirements for entry have to face the issue of institutional trust in contributors. This research investigates the various ways in which these communities manage this issue. It is shown that communities of open-source software—continue to—rely mainly on hierarchy (reserving write-access for higher echelons), which substitutes (the need for) trust. Encyclopedic communities, though, largely avoid this solution. In the particular case of …Read more
  •  121
    In communities of user-generated content, systems for the management of content and/or their contributors are usually accepted without much protest. Not so, however, in the case of Wikipedia, in which the proposal to introduce a system of review for new edits (in order to counter vandalism) led to heated discussions. This debate is analysed, and arguments of both supporters and opponents (of English, German and French tongue) are extracted from Wikipedian archives. In order to better understand …Read more
  •  105
    Trusting the (ro)botic other: By assumption?
    SIGCAS Computers and Society 45 (3): 255-260. 2015.
    How may human agents come to trust (sophisticated) artificial agents? At present, since the trust involved is non-normative, this would seem to be a slow process, depending on the outcomes of the transactions. Some more options may soon become available though. As debated in the literature, humans may meet (ro)bots as they are embedded in an institution. If they happen to trust the institution, they will also trust them to have tried out and tested the machines in their back corridors; as a cons…Read more
  •  102
    Online diaries: Reflections on trust, privacy, and exhibitionism (review)
    Ethics and Information Technology 10 (1): 57-69. 2008.
    Trust between transaction partners in cyberspace has come to be considered a distinct possibility. In this article the focus is on the conditions for its creation by way of assuming, not inferring trust. After a survey of its development over the years (in the writings of authors like Luhmann, Baier, Gambetta, and Pettit), this mechanism of trust is explored in a study of personal journal blogs. After a brief presentation of some technicalities of blogging and authors’ motives for writing their …Read more
  •  93
    Decision-making assisted by algorithms developed by machine learning is increasingly determining our lives. Unfortunately, full opacity about the process is the norm. Would transparency contribute to restoring accountability for such systems as is often maintained? Several objections to full transparency are examined: the loss of privacy when datasets become public, the perverse effects of disclosure of the very algorithms themselves, the potential loss of companies’ competitive edge, and the li…Read more
  •  78
    Open-source communities that focus on content rely squarely on the contributions of invisible strangers in cyberspace. How do such communities handle the problem of trusting that strangers have good intentions and adequate competence? This question is explored in relation to communities in which such trust is a vital issue: peer production of software (FreeBSD and Mozilla in particular) and encyclopaedia entries (Wikipedia in particular). In the context of open-source software, it is argued that…Read more
  •  55
    Emerging roles for third parties in cyberspace
    Ethics and Information Technology 3 (4): 267-276. 2001.
    In `real' space, third partieshave always been useful to facilitatetransactions. With cyberspace opening up, it isto be expected that intermediation will alsodevelop in a virtual fashion. The articlefocuses upon new cyberroles for third partiesthat seem to announce themselves clearly.First, virtualization of the market place haspaved the way for `cybermediaries', who brokerbetween supply and demand of material andinformational goods. Secondly,cybercommunication has created newuncertainties conce…Read more
  •  51
    The disciplinary power of predictive algorithms: a Foucauldian perspective
    Ethics and Information Technology 21 (4): 319-329. 2019.
    Big Data are increasingly used in machine learning in order to create predictive models. How are predictive practices that use such models to be situated? In the field of surveillance studies many of its practitioners assert that “governance by discipline” has given way to “governance by risk”. The individual is dissolved into his/her constituent data and no longer addressed. I argue that, on the contrary, in most of the contexts where predictive modelling is used, it constitutes Foucauldian dis…Read more
  •  33
    Open-source communities that focus on content rely squarely on the contributions of invisible strangers in cyberspace. How do such communities handle the problem of trusting that strangers have good intentions and adequate competence? This question is explored in relation to communities in which such trust is a vital issue: peer production of software (FreeBSD and Mozilla in particular) and encyclopaedia entries (Wikipedia in particular). In the context of open-source software, it is argued that…Read more
  •  15
    Big data and algorithmic decision-making
    Acm Sigcas Computers and Society 47 (3): 39-53. 2017.
    Decision-making assisted by algorithms developed by machine learning is increasingly determining our lives. Unfortunately, full opacity about the process is the norm. Can transparency contribute to restoring accountability for such systems? Several objections are examined: the loss of privacy when data sets become public, the perverse effects of disclosure of the very algorithms themselves, the potential loss of competitive edge, and the limited gains in answerability to be expected since sophis…Read more
  •  11
    Trusting the robotic other
    Acm Sigcas Computers and Society 45 (3): 255-260. 2015.
    How may human agents come to trust artificial agents? At present, since the trust involved is non-normative, this would seem to be a slow process, depending on the outcomes of the transactions. Some more options may soon become available though. As debated in the literature, humans may meet bots as they are embedded in an institution. If they happen to trust the institution, they will also trust them to have tried out and tested the machines in their back corridors; as a consequence, they approa…Read more
  •  8
    Trusting the (ro)botic other
    Acm Sigcas Computers and Society 45 (3): 255-260. 2015.
    How may human agents come to trust artificial agents? At present, since the trust involved is non-normative, this would seem to be a slow process, depending on the outcomes of the transactions. Some more options may soon become available though. As debated in the literature, humans may meet bots as they are embedded in an institution. If they happen to trust the institution, they will also trust them to have tried out and tested the machines in their back corridors; as a consequence, they approa…Read more
  •  8
    Decision-making assisted by algorithms developed by machine learning is increasingly determining our lives. Unfortunately, full opacity about the process is the norm. Would transparency contribute to restoring accountability for such systems as is often maintained? Several objections to full transparency are examined: the loss of privacy when datasets become public, the perverse effects of disclosure of the very algorithms themselves, the potential loss of companies’ competitive edge, and the li…Read more
  •  6
    Trusting Virtual Trust
    Ethics and Information Technology 7 (3): 167-180. 2006.
  •  1
    Online diaries: Reflections on trust, privacy, and exhibitionism
    Ethics and Information Technology 10 (1): 57-69. 2008.