What Does Digital Accountability Mean?


Rapidly advancing information and communication technologies encourage individuals to use the internet and social media platforms intensively. Millions of transactions per minute are made online, especially for searching (for example, captain cooks casino login), sharing, shopping, and messaging. This situation makes it even more important to know what rights and responsibilities internet users have in the digital world. Digital right refers to the freedom of individuals to access information, create content, and publish the content they create through computers and other electronic devices. But like any right, digital rights come with responsibilities too.

We Are Responsible for Our Actions Everywhere

Accountability means that individuals or organizations can be held accountable for their actions. In other words, you must be accountable for what you do. This obligation continues in both the real and digital worlds. For example, sharing information on the internet is a digital right. But today, fake news is one of the biggest problems for the internet. The irresponsible sharing of such news by internet users, regardless of their accuracy, increases the size of the problem even more. The consequences of fake news can sometimes cost people’s lives and even cause social unrest.

Simply put, if you use this right to cause any of these consequences, you must be prepared to face the results. You can’t abuse your rights, and that’s true in the digital world too. If you do, you have to suffer the consequences: that’s what digital accountability means, especially for individuals. In this context, it is possible to determine the general rules of behaviour in the online world as follows:

  • Not to abuse technology and to display correct, ethical, and moral behaviour while interacting and communicating in the online world.
  • Paying attention to what you share in the digital world, not taking offensive attitudes in terms of concepts such as religion, language, race.
  • Not using social media accounts in a way that disturbs other individuals.
  • To know the ethical implications of your behaviour. Being aware that digital fingerprints, that is, what we share on the internet, will never be lost.
  • Using the correct information while sharing, specifying the source of each information.
  • Be respectful when expressing or commenting on any platform, just like in real life.
  • Knowing that it is a crime to damage other people’s work, identity, or information.

But digital accountability isn’t just about individuals. It’s also about institutions and governments, and it can be broad in scope.

Governments and Corporations Are Responsible Too

Governments’ digital accountability is not a very complex concept: it means providing transparent and honest information about where taxes are spent. The goal here is to provide easily accessible information about how governments use their people’s taxes. As an example, we can show the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014. This Act makes it possible for every citizen to obtain information on federal spending on the USAspending.gov website. Similar practices are also valid in EU member states.

The digital accountability of corporations is a little more complex. A company takes on various responsibilities during its operation and has to do certain things in line with these responsibilities. For example, making sure that their employees have a pension guarantee is something companies must do in the real world. It is possible to adapt such responsibilities to the digital world, and these practices are called Corporate Digital Responsibility (CDR). To give some examples:

  • Ethical design of digital products: Companies should stay away from “predator” tactics when designing digital products. Today, we can say that this is the most violated obligation. For example, if you have to watch ads that you can’t turn off every minute to use a mobile application, the design is unethical.
  • Environment & resources: Companies should harm the environment as little as possible in all their activities and take the necessary measures for the sustainability of resources.
  • Responsible innovation: When developing new technologies, a company should act responsibly and avoid innovations that could harm the environment or humanity itself. This is a bit of a philosophical discussion because even the development of artificial intelligence can be seen as a technology harmful to humanity.
  • Data responsibility: When you read the privacy policy of any website, you learn the scope of companies’ responsibility to keep your personal information confidential. Almost every country has various legal sanctions to keep users’ personal information confidential and secure, and companies must act accordingly.

We can keep giving more examples, but we think you understand the extent of this responsibility. Individuals, governments, and companies need to be accountable for every action they take. Digital accountability means that these responsibilities continue in the online world, and it also includes some special terms appropriate to the nature of this world. Just because we have digital rights doesn’t mean we can use them without any responsibility.

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