Naked CIO: Where's the morality in technology?

IT chiefs have a finger on some ethical hot buttons...

...information intelligence to drive sales and marketing efforts. The information that systems and companies gather about individuals is horrifying to say the least.

Google's tracking of wi-fi networks and activity has nothing on the analytics of human behaviour and predictive modelling that persists in companies today. Although certainly the outcry of the Google software that scanned unsecured wi-fi networks in the Street View project...

...is perhaps indicative of the very moral obligation I'm talking about. At what point do you acknowledge that systems and software may cross the line?

Another IT hot button is green technology and having a strategy in place to limit use of energy to satisfy our businesses. To be honest I am very sceptical that a CIO has much effect on this. Our hardware has a huge impact but still needs to be fit for purpose.

Limited exercise
Choosing a supplier that has the right hardware and software capabilities to satisfy the business is already a limited exercise. Choosing the most green as long as the price is right may make you feel better - but doing so will probably make little difference.

Perhaps as we become more linked to real social issues and the proliferation of IT and social opinion become more linked, we may actually be able to steer strategy to adopt a more moral approach to issues. As it stands now there is little we can do to have an impact on any social and moral issues.

Moreover, to argue for an agenda that could increase costs to satisfy social conscience would be a very risky agenda in today's business climate and probably lead to a short tenure in the executive chair.

As CIOs we should continue to debate how we can make the world better. But I will let the theory evolve into something that can be articulated before I start pronouncing myself an innovator in search of social and moral change in the world.