Opportunities and Threats
NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research
Edited by Nikolas Thomopoulos, Mosche Givoni and Piet Rietveld
Chapter 9: Reversing the order: towards a philosophically informed debate on ICT for transport
ICTs are increasingly used in transport contexts for reasons of efficiency, cost-effectiveness and convenience. At the same time, such technologies enable increasingly comprehensive surveillance from the data gathered via devices and infrastructure. Marketing discourses around these applications highlight the benefits that such technologies have for the user and avoid mention of potential risks. This leaves users under- (and in some cases mis-) informed concerning the use of their data by third parties, which raises a number of ethical, social and legal concerns such as privacy and social profiling. Thus this chapter, drawing mainly upon medium theory, philosophy of technology, critical theory and surveillance studies, aims to contribute on a theoretical level to the debate concerning the balance between the positive contributions ICTs can make in the transport sector and the risks arising from the gathering of increasing amounts of personal data. It foregrounds the dual use of ICTs in transport contexts using up-to-date cases of applications and offers policy-relevant recommendations to inform the inclusion of ethical, social and legal issues in the design stage of ICTs for transport.
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