Blurring You and not-You

The blurring between You and not-You creates confusions as well as solutions. In not-You spaces trust is delegated, moral distance is easily taken, responsibility is harder to sense. In the You spaces relations are made and social interaction takes place. By interchanging between mediated and natural, between witnessed and not, between synchronous and asynchronous, between not-You and You spaces, between Here and not-Here, and by offering the possibility to act, communication processes take shape.

International organizations and businesses, which work local, regional and global, have developed all sorts of formats and rhythms in communication processes that use all these elements and dimensions. The public domain, in which information and communication technologies play a crucial role, is in trouble though. In the not-You communication spaces basic trust is delegated to governments and companies. When analyzing or designing in what trust relation one is operating being in a not-You configuration, one is completely dependent on how the delegation of trust is experienced. But what possibilities are there to address an issue when the experience is unpleasant or even harmful? Since so much of the activity generated by information and communication technologies do not share place or time, there is no shared social structure in which effects and demands can be addressed. There is no international court for ICT, there is no control on how data are created, there is no control on how data are matched, travel or even on how long they exist. Especially the relation between a human being and his or her evolving data-identity, which comes into existence through processes of purification and translation/mediation and can travel endlessly, requires rigorous further research from the perspective of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The UDHR wants to regulate how we treat people we do not know by granting human rights to all human beings. I took the perspective these have to be respected for trust to build or break down. As I argued in the first section of this chapter, people are inclined to take a moral distance towards themselves, their actions and other people when using information and communication technologies. Faced with so much influence of the information and communication technologies, especially in the not-You communication spaces, which spills over in the personal sphere of the You communication spaces, the way human dignity can be safeguarded and how trust can be build, demands for a rethinking of technologies and the way we use them. My plea is to rethink the design of technology as well as the way we design the processes in which we use the technology. To propose ideas about how to redesign technology is not within my capacity, but I do want to propose hereunder with some examples how one can think about the use of information and communication technology when being concerned about how trust will build up or break down.