Digital enforcement: Rethinking the pursuit of a digitally?enabled society

Sep 18th, 2020 | By | Category: RSS Feed


In this article, we aim to sensitise the information systems community about the dispossession of choice that the extended reliance on Internet technology creates for individuals. The overemphasis of digital inclusion as a solution to the digital divide problem frames Internet use as desirable in a progressive society but labels non?use as problematic or a deficiency that needs to be remedied. This situation, we argue, creates a new modality of inequality that we term digital enforcement, defined as the process of dispossession that reduces choices for individuals who prefer to minimise their reliance on the Internet if given the opportunity or those who want to live their lives offline altogether. We present digital enforcement as an ethical problem and draw on the concepts of governmentality and technologies of power to explain how practices around Internet use in society result in digital enforcement. We conclude with a hopeful perspective to call for an ethical agenda to develop desirable futures.


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