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Posts Tagged ‘Ethics’

Are there ethical concerns with the introduction of social tools  like web 2.0 within government?

With the introduction of the new policy on online media participation by APSC in November 2009, it opens new platforms of online collaborations within an open and unregulated environment. This may pose some challenges for current APS culture of control and top-down hierarchy.

web 2.0 tools in government may be categorised into a framework: interaction focused, communication focussed and service focussed (Chang & Kanan, 2008 ). Web 2.0 provides the following opportunities or new forms of interactions for governments:

  • Publishing – blogging, twitter e.g. TweetMP
  • Rich user experience -YouTube, mySpace e.g. Kevin Rudd’s use of these channels for election
  • mash-ups – geotagging, geomapping e.g. YourHealth
  • Networking – Facebook, Myspace e.g. ATO e-tax page
  • Crowdsourcing – Wikipedia e.g. policy consultation, NLA newspaper digitization

Based on the APS job continuum, there is potential overlap while acting different personas within an APS role defined as: official, public and private (Gov2.0 Tasforce). This overlap may give rise to potential ethical concerns for the APS. One can take some of these new forms of interaction and apply the new online media participation to see if this sufficient.  For example, you may have your own blog and you may use this as a way to connect and share your knowledge in your profession. Should this blog contain criticisms of APS practices within agencies, will that be counted as engaging as a professional or private communication. Another could be you may post a comment on someone else’s blog which criticises a current policy – is this their personal comment, professional comment or official comment? How would public know which “you” is this comment being made?

This is an area that needs further exploration – as more pilots, web2.0 projects pop-up within agencies, there will be more ethical issues identified. It would be good government to create a database with these concerns and record the response and outcomes.

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