Consider ethical technology issues with data center growth

Authors Harry Lewis and Ken Ledeen discuss ethical issues organizations should consider when expanding data center, data collection and technological capabilities.

Businesses and their data centers gather and generate more data than ever before. Data center administrators and managers facilitate and implement infrastructure that enable many of the modern technologies and services we take for granted -- think smartphones and social media, for example.

But the explosive data growth in areas like consumer data comes with scrutiny. As technology advances, businesses and governments have developed complex data centers and infrastructure to store, analyze and manage more data from more different places than ever before.

This may put the everyday data center manager in a tough position. While the technology exists to collect and store mass amounts of data on consumers and that data presents business advantages, there are always ethical technology issues to consider. Organizations should navigate the fine line between business objectives and ethical practices.

Data center managers must consider these ethical issues when managing data centers and, effectively, business and personal data. According to Ken Ledeen and Harry Lewis, two co-authors of Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion, 2nd Edition, they can look to a lesson from the famous Jurassic Park film for guidance on ethical technology issues: Businesses know they can implement the data center infrastructure to collect more and more data, but businesses and data center admins should ask themselves whether or not they should.

Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion book coverClick here to learn more about
Blown to Bits: Your Life,
Liberty, and Happiness
After the Digital Explosion,
2nd Edition
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More on Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion, 2nd Edition

To learn more about the digital explosion and the relationship between advances in technology and ethical issues, check out Chapter 1 of Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion, 2nd Edition by Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, Harry Lewis and Wendy Seltzer.



"The data center guy may well say, 'If you want to have a data center that stores everybody's face every 30th of a second, I can implement that for you.' But then the question is: What does it mean to do that?" Ledeen said in a recent interview with TechTarget Editorial. "And one of the responsibilities of the data center person is to bring awareness to all of these things to the people who may be making perfectly valid decisions otherwise."

Innovation and extracting business value from data help organizations bolster their bottom line and encourage technological development. As organizations look to evolve their data center's capabilities, admins and managers can play a role in making sure business goals do not intrude on a company's core ethical values.

"The difference every one of us can make, to our workplace or to another institution, can be to ask a question at the right time about the risks of some new technological innovation," the authors wrote.

In this Q&A, Lewis and Ledeen discuss the complexities of data residency laws, data privacy and the role data center managers have in what they call the "digital explosion." See the full interview below via BrightTALK.

Interview with authors of "Blown to Bits"


BrightTALK is a division of TechTarget.

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