Worth a Look: Information Ethics

Advanced Cyber/IO, Ethics

The Field

Contributions to the field can be submitted for publication in the: International Review of Information Ethics (IRIE)

This presentation is divided into three chapters:

  1. Foundations
  2. Historical Aspects
  3. Systematic Aspects

1. Foundations

1.1 Information Ethics as Applied Ethics
1.2 Information Ethics as a Descriptive and Emancipatory Theory
1.3 Ethics for Information Specialists


A brief history of information ethics by Thomas Froehlich.

Computer and Information Ethics by Terrell Bynum.

We draw a distinction between:

  • Morals: customs and traditions
  • Ethics: critical reflection on morals
  • Law: norms formally approved by state power or international political bodies.

1.1 Information Ethics as Applied Ethics

Information ethics deals with ethical questions particularly:

  • in the Internet (cyberethics; information ethics in a narrower sense)
  • in computer science (computer ethics)
  • in the biological and medical sciences (bioinformation ethics)
  • in the mass media (media ethics)
  • in the library and information science field (library ethics)
  • in the business field (business information ethics)

1.2 Information Ethics as a Descriptive and Emancipatory Theory

Information ethics as:

  • a descriptive theory explores the power structures influencing informational attitudes and traditions in different cultures and epochs.
  • an emancipatory theory develops criticisms of moral attitudes and traditions in the information field at an individual and collective level. It includes normative aspects.

Information ethics explores and evaluates:

  • the development of moral values in the information field,
  • the creation of new power structures in the information field,
  • information myths,
  • hidden contradictions and intentionalities in information theories and practices,
  • the development of ethical conflicts in the information field.

1.3 Ethics for Information Specialists
Educational goals:

  • to be able to recognize and articulate ethical conflicts in the information field,
  • to activate the sense of responsibility with regard to the consequences of individual and collective interactions in the information field,
  • to improve the qualification for intercultural dialogue on the basis of the recognition of different kinds of information cultures and values,
  • to provide basic knowledge about ethical theories and concepts and about their relevance in everyday information work.

See Also:

International Center for Information Ethics

Wikipedia / Information ethics

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