by Jessica Heesen, Maria Pawelec and Laura Schelenz
Work of the authors is supported by the Institutional Strategy of the University of Tübingen (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, ZUK 63)
In the Global South, private corporations and development aid programs are widely implementing information and communication technology (ICT). Stakeholders export infrastructure (including satellites, drones, and white spaces technology) as well as mobile and internet services (mobile money services, zero-rating), following the proclaimed goal to close the global digital divide. They particularly target under-connected regions in Africa, as Africa shows the lowest levels of internet connectivity (cf. International Telecommunications Union 2017). According to companies and development aid programs, these digitalization efforts in the Global South are key to development and security. However, an ethical perspective points to concerns about the practice of digitalization in the Global South. One central concern is that certain values are inscribed in ICT, and that they may be indirectly implemented through technology in the importing countries. Thus, the export of ICT by Western companies and development aid programs to the Global South may have a „neo-colonial“ character. This raises ethical questions about global justice.