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Technology, society and democracy: The social impact of, and democratic control over technology, with special reference to information technology and data protection.

van Meurs, Philip (1990) Technology, society and democracy: The social impact of, and democratic control over technology, with special reference to information technology and data protection. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

Certain developments and applications of science and technology are often seen as a problem for society. The first chapter of this work concentrate on what technology actually is, its relation with science and the problems it creates for society. Two questions are asked: 1. Is democratic control of technological research and development necessary and possible. 2. Is democratic control of the applications of this research and development necessary and possible. A broad definition of technology brings out the relation of science and technology. The key concept is: control over nature, non-human as well as human. The theories of Marx and Engels show that technology and science are an integral part of society and cannot be seen as separated from it. This obvious point is taken by the Frankfurt school which discusses the ideological aspects of technology and science. This culminates in the notion of technology as ideology itself (Habermas). These ideas can be used in relation to information technology and its dangers and uses for the protection of privacy. The issue of information technology in relation to privacy and personal freedom is used (i) to demonstrate the possibilities of democratic control and (ii) because the problem of privacy and data protection is generally recognised in many countries. Because of the defects found in a number of legislative implementations of data protection a proposal is made for a more complete and effective control of information technology in relation to data protection. This proposal rests on two related concepts: 1. Democratic control through citizens committees (as a kind of jury duty), 2. The extension of the division of power to a fourth data controlling power, controlled not only by a legislative power but a separate citizen's committee.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Information Technology
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3051

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