This paper evaluates the potential benefits, drawbacks and ethical risks of cloud computing for African countries in the context of information communication technologies for development (ICT4D). The paper argues that the capability approach, incorporating development ethics, provides a useful framework for considering the ethics of cloud computing in Africa. Coupled with global and intercultural ethics perspectives, both provide a rich human-centred view of the technology's benefits, drawbacks and ethical risks. Focussing on the transformational benefits and features of cloud computing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the health sector, the paper highlights potential ethical risks that are cause for concern. The paper concludes that while cloud computing has considerable potential for advancing development through the enhancement of capabilities, there remain huge challenges in its efficient, effective and ethical use. As a result, ethical risks related to equity, ownership, dependency, privacy, trust and security that reflect ‘unfreedoms' and ‘capability deprivations' may consequently have an impact on the technology's potential as an information communication technology for development.
Bibliographical note© 2017. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
- Cloud computing
- Ethical issues
- Capability approach
- Intercultural ethics