Understanding Computer Ethics Globalization



Because of ICT, the term Globalization now is employed everywhere, such as economic globalization, globalization age, globalization communication, and globalization society and computer ethics globalization. With the spreading of Internet, now we humankind is nearly living in an international village — this is an actually globalized, virtual community, or “second world”. [1] Currently, more then 700.86 million people who are from more than one hundred countries and regions all over the world are surfing the Internet, by which they communicate each other globally, and do e-business, collaboration, chat, or videoconference, hardly limited by time or place. However network has seriously impacted national cultures. Some countries disallow link with the Internet. Should the people on Internet observe the universal ethics and same law? Obviously the answer to this question is “Yes”, since the order and relations in our lives need it. We must pay more attention to what computer ethics globalization is, firstly.

In Chinese Confucianism we have the proverb: All under the heaven are equal. “When the great way prevails, the world community is equally shared by all. The worthy and able are chosen as office holders. Mutual confidence is fostered and good neighborliness cultivated. ” The age of great harmony is our wish. That is a Chinese traditional sense. The modern perception is that globalization is an international culture revolution,is a way in which can moral beings get survival from the cultural crisis caused by the industrial civilization. It is also a new culture model —information culture, to be constructed worldwide [2]. The purpose of globalization is all kinds of beings in the world can happily live together.

Second, how can we fulfill the dream-computer ethics globalization? Let’s think about it from the following two viewpoints:

1. Which things has already globalized? Peace and friendship-the spirits of Olympic game, the beauty of arts: both in music, paintings and drawings. All the people in the world appreciate them. It means that there is a common sense in human moral recognition. We may trace some general rules form worldwide ethics global one, such as respect life (all kinds of life in nature, tree, bird, air, hill and mountain, stream, grass?), faithfulness, justice and freedom.

2. Localization, the parity of globalization. There are more than hundreds of religions and social systems nowadays in our world, so it is true to say a number of social, economic and political issues and problems may emerge during the course of globalization. For example, culture conflicts, global digital divide (that means rich people get richer, while the poor get poorer), multi-culture co-existence, knowledge monopolize and so on. Meanwhile localization may make some cultures pass away, even some kinds of language may elapse. So we think globalization have the meaning multi-culture co-existence, and all kinds of people should respect and understand each other. The biggest problem in ethics globalization is the culture and history we believe. That the civilization develops equilibrium globally is the key to fulfill the aim ethics globalization. Depending upon Chinese tradition sense, the core of ethics is equity and justice, we have one earth, and all under the earth are one family. According to the Internet Usage and Population Statistics [3], it is clearly to know that in our world there are still more then billions of people do not have visited the WWW, even have no computer, how can they know something about computer ethics?

Another side of localization is, different people have different understanding for the globalization, so they do the things in individual way, maybe they are in the same country, it mostly depends on their local culture and their history, the experience of education. So both globalization and localization need tolerance.


It is true that computer ethics globalization has its nature, and it is a hard work for individuals, governments and international society to do with. Technique (such as ISO standards), International Institutions and Regional organization (OECD, ISO, UNESCO, WHO, WTO?), ethics, and law may be the points to work starting with. Everyone in the world must have to keep an open mind, and be ready to construction a new world -a great harmony world. This paper will give the author’s teaching experience on computer ethics in Zhejiang Wanli University, PRC, to study the different understanding of computer ethics. Especially on privacy, intellectual property right, and pornography.


Bynum, T. and Rogerson, S., Computer Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

Li, Qing-xia, Culture Conflicts in the Course of Globalization, Teaching and Research, 2004,6. PP 17-23.