The value (driven) web

NHG Baken, V Wiegel, G van Oortmerssen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


This paper presents a vision on the importance of values and ethical aspects in web science. We create(d) the Internet, but now the Internet (technology) is shaping our world increasingly: the way we experience, interact, transact, conduct business et cetera. The Internet is ubiquitous and vital to many aspects of our society; it is substituting some of our existing infrastructures and its traffic becomes a reflection of our society. The complexity of the Internet grows fast and might at some point transcend that of ourselves. At the same time the Internet escapes our normative, ethical control. Though it is value-laden, the process of embedding values in internet technology is mostly implicit and obscured by both the strong technological focus and distributive nature of internet technology and services. This distributive nature reflects amongst other things the result of an increased institutionalization of functionally decomposed economical and societal products and services in all the sectors that contribute to the GDP. This trend of decomposition clashes with the desires of all ¿prosumers¿ using the Internet and require integrated, composed products and services that they can identify and associate with in a human way. User values and expectations must be met by the products and services. This is a potential tipping point where supply and demand, producers and consumers, political society and technology may be drifting apart. Thus, web science is confronted with a crucial challenge and a huge responsibility. We argue that in order for the Internet to evolve and mature into a long term sustainable organic extension of our society, we must explicitly recognize the importance of values. This is a first step towards embedding the values that society recognizes as important. Values concerned do not solely deal with privacy, but also with security, transparency, trust, user autonomy et cetera. The challenge for all involved in the development of the Internet and in the provision of services is to define the values that matter and to bring them to bear upon technology, software architecture, standards, code et cetera. In this paper, we set out to identify some of the vital values and norms that will enable us to mould the Internet according to societal ideals. Working within the approach of value sensitive design, we sketch how we can capture, formalize and embed a balanced set of values in internet technology as non-functional requirements
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the WebSci10: extending the frontiers of society on-line
EditorsW Hall, J Hendler
Place of PublicationSouthampton, UK
PublisherWeb Science TRust
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventWebSci10: extending the frontiers of society on-line,Raleigh, NC, USA - Southampton, UK
Duration: 26 Apr 201027 Apr 2010

Publication series

PublisherWeb Science TRust


ConferenceWebSci10: extending the frontiers of society on-line,Raleigh, NC, USA


  • conference contrib. refereed
  • Conf.proc. > 3 pag

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