Original Research

Die morele verantwoordelikheid van internetdiensverskaffers: ‘n Christelik etiese perspektief

J J Britz, D E de Villiers
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 24, No 2 | a330 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v24i2.330 | © 2003 J J Britz, D E de Villiers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 October 2003 | Published: 17 November 2003

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J J Britz, Universiteit van Pretoria, South Africa
D E de Villiers, Universiteit van Pretoria, South Africa

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The  article deals with the moral responsibility of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) concerning the distribution of information in the virtual world, seen from the perspective of Christian Ethics. A number of case studies are discussed to illustrate  some  of  the  typical problems of responsibility experienced in this regard and the inadequacy of international legislation regulating internet services is pointed out. To adequately deal with specifically the moral responsibility of ISPs contemporary shifts in the concept of responsibility as a result of the process of modernisation are discussed. It is argued that the moral responsibility of ISPs is at least equivalent to that of other distributors of information. Nonetheless the moral responsibility ascribed  to ISPs on the basis of liberal values would be  different from that  ascribed on the basis of Christian values. Liberals would tend to underplay the moral responsibility of ISPs to control the flow of information on the internet,  while Christians would tend to emphasise their prospective responsibility to bar harmful information from the internet. However, in contemporary liberal democracies only ISPs serving Christians can be expected to exercise the moral responsibility that  is  regarded as ideal from a Christian  perspective. From  all ISPs the exercise of an optimal moral responsibility can nonetheless be expected.


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