What Are Your Information Ethics?

By Gregory, Gwen M. | Information Today, December 2005 | Go to article overview

What Are Your Information Ethics?


Gregory, Gwen M., Information Today


What Are Your Information Ethics? Information Ethics: Privacy, Property, and Power edited by Adam D. Moore Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2005 ISBN: 0-295-98489-9 455 pages $30 softcover

As information professionals, we spend a great deal of time providing information to our clients, whether they are students, businesspeople, or researchers. After searching dozens of databases, finding Web sites, and consulting reference books, we don't have much time left to consider the bigger issues of the information world. However, if we want to step back and reflect on these issues for a moment, Adam Moore has collected some interesting articles in Information Ethics: Privacy, Property, and Power.

Moore, a professor in the philosophy department and the information school at the University of Washington, has a Ph.D. in philosophy and specializes in philosophy of law, information policy, and applied ethics. The idea for his book may have emerged from his collection of course readings on information policy and its related topics. In the introduction, he points out that the study of information ethics involves several different disciplines, including law, ethics, and sociology. This new area of study is still evolving, however.

Information Control Issues

Moore created this anthology so that "a number of important articles centering on the normative issues surrounding information control-in the broadest sense-could be found in one work." The scope is indeed broad. Works by John Stuart Mill and Emmanuel Kant (certainly not modern information scientists) are included. Moore explains that the realm of information ethics is not the same as computer ethics or information technology ethics, although they do overlap somewhat.

Information Ethics: Privacy, Property, and Power is divided into five sections: I)An Ethical Framework for Analysis, 2) Intellectual Property: Moral and Legal Concerns, 3) Privacy and Information Control, 4) Freedom of Speech and Information Control, and 5) Governmental and Social Control of Information. In the introduction, Moore gives a single paragraph summary of each article contained in the sections.

Many of these articles were originally published in law reviews or other scholarly journals, and two were written by Moore. The first section presents basic tools for understanding and analyzing these issues and includes the works by Kant and Mill. All are theoretical and philosophical in nature. Other sections focus on specific areas of information ethics. …

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