Both available theories of ethics and actual practiced ethics of role-responsibility are deficient in addressing the soci0-ethical dimension of socio-technological change.
Ethical theories are deficient since they either adress the intentions of individuals or the consequences of their intended action (or a combination of both) as the starting point of ethical responsibility. Technological change can neither be traced down to intentions of individuals nor can all intended or unintended consequences and side-consequences of technological change be related to a “responsible subject”.
Actual role responsibility of professional engineers and scientist in the context of technological change can not fully determine “who is responsible for what”.
An ethics of co-responsibility is required and can only be implemented through mechanisms well beyond the legal system.
My key note lecture at the first annual conference of the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging technologies addresses this issue.
More info on the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging technologies: see 2012 conference call in my posts.