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Summary Over the past decades the ubiquitous use of information technologies and the growth of the Internet contributed to exposing the importance of the ethical dimensions of information. Information ethics addresses the question as to whether information has or should have a moral value. Specifically, the main problem that information ethics addresses is how one should behave when information is collected, shared, produced or destroyed. Information ethics poses questions of normative ethics and metaethics: the issues are about how one should behave (normative ethics) and how right and wrong should be defined when information and its dynamics are considered (metaethics). The scope of such questions is quite wide and as such information ethics ranges over multiple domains and is part of several branches of applied ethics - computer ethics, medical ethics, business ethics and librarian ethics, to name a few.
Key works Conceptual foundations of information ethics as an ethical framework have been provided in Floridi 2013. A collection of essays on issues concerning information and computer ethics can be found in Himma & Tavani 2008 and Floridi 2010. An analysis of information ethics developed following a continental approach has been provided in Capurro 2006. The following are ethical analyses focusing on the moral value of information to address issues such as privacy (Floridi 2006) (Tavani 2008), online trust (Turilli et al 2012), information transparency (Turilli & Floridi 2009), internet neutrality (Turilli et al 2010) and cyber warfare (Taddeo forthcoming).
Introductions Buchanan 1999, Floridi 1999, Floridi 2006
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  1. Mark Alfino, Breaking Managerial Information Monopolies: Ethical Considerations in Setting Workplace Information Policy.
    Readers of previous installments of this column will recall that I have been discussing both the general relationship between information practices and moral virtues and some specific questions about the effects of information technology, such as the "expert system," upon our ability to lead virtuous lives and have morally satisfying work. In this column, I want to take a practical turn by articulating some of the ethical considerations which might motivate workplace information policy.
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  2. Mark Alfino, The Ethical Library: Responsibility for Our Users and Staff in the Information Age.
    In this presentation, our goals are to identify some of the ways in which information technology poses a threat to librarians' professional identity and to develop a theory about the role that it should play. In the process of doing that we will identify organizational processes which may help librarians negotiate technological change, both within their profession and with their patrons. (For simplicity, we will use the phrase "information technology" to refer to contemporary trends in electronic or cybernetic information technology. (...)
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  3. Mark Alfino, The Information Ethics of Polite Culture.
    Ethicists don't discuss etiquette very much, in part because it has always seemed too close to the surface of social interaction and too ephemeral or conventional for theory. But I suspect that most people, even philosophers, would agree that social etiquette often reinforces and complements our ethical intuitions. For example, in social etiquette we draw a line between reasonable and normal questions to ask others and questions which pry, invade privacy, or otherwise embarrass them. A natural justification of this practice (...)
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  4. Mark Alfino (2012). Twenty Years of Information Ethics and the Journal of Information Ethics. Journal of Information Ethics 21 (2):13-16.
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  5. Mark Alfino & Linda Pierce (1997). Information Ethics for Librarians. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  6. Patrick Allo (2010). Putting Information First: Luciano Floridi and the Philosophy of Information. Metaphilosophy 41 (3):247-254.
    Abstract: The core aim of this special issue is to present the philosophy of information as a way of doing philosophy, to focus on the contributions of Luciano Floridi to that area, and most important, to stimulate the debate on the most distinctive and controversial views he has defended in that context. This introduction contains a description of the philosophy of information, a discussion of two common misconceptions about the scope and the ambition of the philosophy of information, and a (...)
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  7. Judy Anderson (2012). Intellectual Property, Fee or Free? Journal of Information Ethics 21 (2):114-121.
    Changes in attitude toward intellectual property are covered here.
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  8. Judy Anderson (2007). Introduction. Journal of Information Ethics 16 (1):13-15.
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  9. Clément Arsenault, Élaine Ménard & John E. Leide (2008). Tensions in Cataloging: Observations on Standards and Implementation. Journal of Information Ethics 17 (1):28-42.
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  10. Web Censoring Widens Across Southeast Asia (forthcoming). The Battle of Samoa Revisited. Journal of Information Ethics.
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  11. Atoma Batoma (2008). Information Professionals at the Crossroads of the Enlightenment: A Critical Review of the Pernkopf Controversy. Journal of Information Ethics 17 (2):23-34.
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  12. Clare Beghtol (2008). Professional Values and Ethics in Knowledge Organization and Cataloging. Journal of Information Ethics 17 (1):12-19.
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  13. Sara Behrman (2007). Truth as a Value in the Grants Process. Journal of Information Ethics 16 (1):16-27.
  14. Trevor Bench-Capon (2001). Luuk Matthijssen: Interfacing Between Lawyers and Computers: An Architecture for Knowledge-Based Interfaces to Legal Databases. [REVIEW] Artificial Intelligence and Law 8 (4):349-352.
  15. David Benfield (2007). Mattlage on Copyright Relinquishment. Journal of Information Ethics 16 (2):31-33.
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  16. Brian Bergen-Aurand (2010). The Skin of the Other. Journal of Information Ethics 19 (2):100-113.
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  17. Louise Bezuidenhout (2013). Data Sharing and Dual-Use Issues. Science and Engineering Ethics 19 (1):83-92.
    The concept of dual-use encapsulates the potential for well-intentioned, beneficial scientific research to also be misused by a third party for malicious ends. The concept of dual-use challenges scientists to look beyond the immediate outcomes of their research and to develop an awareness of possible future (mis)uses of scientific research. Since 2001 much attention has been paid to the possible need to regulate the dual-use potential of the life sciences. Regulation initiatives fall under two broad categories—those that develop the ethical (...)
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  18. Andy Bissett (1997). Computing Professionals and the 'Peace Dividend'. Business Ethics 6 (2):81–86.
    For the last four decades much of the world’s most advanced technical resources have been devoted to military systems; but with the end of the Cold War economic and technical resources are being freed to yield the so‐called ‘peace dividend’. This promotes the possibility of a more ethical orientation to many information technologists’ work, and also represents the chance to argue for, and develop, more socially useful and responsible applications of computer technology, in accordance with the development of professional ideals (...)
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  19. Piotr Boltuc (2008). An Ethics Grounded in Metaphysics. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 30:5-10.
    Why is there something rather than nothing? This question, formulated by Leibniz, constitutes the basis of modern European ontology. In many ways this can be termed the main question of philosophy; but if so, a similar but less attended to question comes to mind, which I shall call the second best question of philosophy. The second best question of philosophy: Why is it better that there is something rather than nothing? seems to constitute a natural basis for moral theory. The (...)
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  20. Joseph E. Brenner (2010). A Logic of Ethical Information. Knowledge, Technology & Policy 23 (1-2):109-133.
    The work of Luciano Floridi lies at the interface of philosophy, information science and technology, and ethics, an intersection whose existence and significance he was one of the first to establish. His closely related concepts of a philosophy of information, informational structural realism, information logic, and information ethics provide a new ontological perspective from which moral concerns can be addressed, especially but not limited to those arising in connection with the new information and communication technologies. In this paper, I relate (...)
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  21. Johannes Jacobus Britz (1997). Information Ethics with Specific Reference to the Information Professional: A Christian Perspective. Dissertation, University of Pretoria (South Africa)
    This work concentrates on the ethical questions which apply to the professional actions of the information professional. It is divided as follows. The first section addresses the foundations of the concepts of ethics and information. A model is proposed in the discussion of the concept information, distinguishing three essential properties of information: properties linked to the conduit, humans and reality. The resulting ethical implications are indicated. These essential properties of information serve as the basis for the rest of the study. (...)
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  22. Elizabeth Buchanan (2004). Ethics in Library and Information Science. What Are We Teaching? Journal of Information Ethics 13 (1):51-60.
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  23. Elizabeth Buchanan (2004). Introduction. Journal of Information Ethics 13 (2):5-7.
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  24. Elizabeth A. Buchanan (2011). Looking Back, Looking Forward, and Transformation in Information Ethics. Journal of Information Ethics 20 (2):157-160.
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  25. Elizabeth A. Buchanan (1999). An Overview of Information Ethics Issues in a World-Wide Context. Ethics and Information Technology 1 (3):193-201.
    This article presents an overview of significant issues facing contemporary information professionals. As the world of information continues to grow at unprecedented speed and in unprecedented volume, questions must be faced by information professionals. Will we participate in the worldwide mythology of equal access for all, or will we truly work towards this debatable goal? Will we accept the narrowing of choice for our corresponding increasing diverse clientele? Such questions must be considered in a holistic context and an understanding of (...)
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  26. John Budd (2008). Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship. Libraries Unlimited.
    Genealogy of the profession -- Place and identity -- Being informed about informing -- What's the right thing to do? -- In a democracy -- The information society -- Optimistic synthesis.
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  27. Dan L. Burk (2008). Information Ethics and the Law of Data Representations. Ethics and Information Technology 10 (2-3):135-147.
    The theories of information ethics articulated by Luciano Floridi and his collaborators have clear implications for law. Information law, including the law of privacy and of intellectual property, is especially likely to benefit from a coherent and comprehensive theory of information ethics. This article illustrates how information ethics might apply to legal doctrine, by examining legal questions related to the ownership and control of the personal data representations, including photographs, game avatars, and consumer profiles, that have (...)
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  28. Terrell Ward Bynum & Simon Rogerson (1996). Introduction and Overview: Global Information Ethics. Science and Engineering Ethics 2 (2):131-136.
    This is an introduction to a set of papers on Computer Ethics from the conference ETHICOMP95. Taken as a whole, the collection of papers provides arguments and concepts to launch a new development in computer ethics: ‘Global Information Ethics’. A rationale for globalization is provided, as well as some early efforts which move in that direction.
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  29. TerrellWard Bynum (2001). Computer Ethics: Its Birth and its Future. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 3 (2):109-112.
    This article discusses some``historical milestones'' in computer ethics, aswell as two alternative visions of the futureof computer ethics. Topics include theimpressive foundation for computer ethics laiddown by Norbert Wiener in the 1940s and early1950s; the pioneering efforts of Donn Parker,Joseph Weizenbaum and Walter Maner in the1970s; Krystyna Gorniak's hypothesis thatcomputer ethics will evolve into ``globalethics''; and Deborah Johnson's speculation thatcomputer ethics may someday ``disappear''.
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  30. Michael Byron (2010). Floridi’s Fourth Revolution and the Demise of Ethics. Knowledge, Technology & Policy 23 (1-2):135-147.
    Luciano Floridi has proposed that we are on the cusp of a fourth revolution in human self-understanding. The information revolution with its prospect of digitally enhancing human beings opens the door to engineering human nature. Floridi has emphasized the importance of making this transition as ethically smooth as possible. He is quite right to worry about ethics after the fourth revolution. The coming revolution, if it unfolds as he envisions, spells the demise of traditional ethical theorizing.
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  31. Braden Cannon (2013). The Canadian Disease. Journal of Information Ethics 22 (2):66-89.
    The convergence of libraries, archives, and museums into monolithic organizations has been framed as a retreat from "silos," or isolated, hierarchical institutions that are increasingly irrelevant in a networked age. The emerging prevalence of digital technology and mass digitization are also identified as primary motivators behind convergence. However, much of the literature on convergence is couched in business terminology that favors top-down management approaches and works to create non-democratic structures with more power in fewer hands, with many of the pro-convergence (...)
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  32. Rafael Capurro (2008). Intercultural Information Ethics. In Elizabeth A. Buchanan (ed.), Case Studies in Library and Information Science Ethics. Mcfarland & Co. 10.
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  33. Rafael Capurro (2006). Towards an Ontological Foundation of Information Ethics. Ethics and Information Technology 8 (4):175-186.
    The paper presents, firstly, a brief review of the long history\nof information ethics beginning with the Greek concept of parrhesia\nor freedom of speech as analyzed by Michel Foucault. The recent concept\nof information ethics is related particularly to problems which arose\nin the last century with the development of computer technology and\nthe internet. A broader concept of information ethics as dealing\nwith the digital reconstruction of all possible phenomena leads to\nquestions relating to digital ontology. Following Heidegger{\textquoteright}s\nconception of the relation between (...)
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  34. Rafael Capurro, Johannes Britz, Thomas Hausmanninger, M. Nakado, F. Weil & M. Nagenborg (2007). African Information Ethics in the Context of the Global Information Society. International Review of Information Ethics 7:1-353.
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  35. Bernd Carsten Stahl (2004). Information, Ethics, and Computers: The Problem of Autonomous Moral Agents. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 14 (1):67-83.
    In modern technical societies computers interact with human beings in ways that can affect moral rights and obligations. This has given rise to the question whether computers can act as autonomous moral agents. The answer to this question depends on many explicit and implicit definitions that touch on different philosophical areas such as anthropology and metaphysics. The approach chosen in this paper centres on the concept of information. Information is a multi-facetted notion which is hard to define comprehensively. However, the (...)
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  36. Christina Ling-Hsing Chang (2011). The Significance of a Suitable Information Ethical Code. Journal of Information Ethics 20 (1):54-85.
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  37. Elia Chepaitis (1997). Information Ethics Across Information Cultures. Business Ethics 6 (4):195–200.
    Information cultures consist of the values, beliefs and behaviour relating to information ownership and management, while information ethics applies to the moral application of data. The author’s experience of Russia and its information culture provides a striking case study of the disastrous social and business consequences of an absence of information ethics. This paper was delivered in its original form at the First World Congress of Business, Economics and Ethics of the International Society of Business, Economics and Ethics , held (...)
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  38. Elia V. Chepaitis (forthcoming). Ethics Across Information Cultures. International Business Ethics.
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  39. Wen-Jiuh Chiang, Chihchia Chen, ChiaChien Teng & Jiangjun Gu (2008). A Comparative Study on the Information Ethics of Junior High School Students Cognition and Behavior Between Taiwan and China: Kaohsiung and Nanjing Regions Used as Examples. Science and Engineering Ethics 14 (1):121-138.
    A great deal of progress has been made on information ethics. Which portion is not sufficient? That might be the comparison from countries to countries. The purpose of this study was closely examined using the cross-cultural method for comparison. To determine the ethics cognitions and behaviors of the students, a comprehensive survey was distributed. The questionnaire for the study used Mason’s four essential factors in information ethics that included Privacy, Accuracy, Property and Accessibility (PAPA). The samples were comprised of Kaohsiung (...)
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  40. H. R. Chopra, Umesh Chandra Sharma, M. K. Srivastava & Mohd Sabir Hussain (1998). Library Science and its Facets.
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  41. Eli Cohen & Larry Cornwell (1989). A Question of Ethics: Developing Information System Ethics. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 8 (6):431 - 437.
    This study develops a pedagogy for the teaching of ethical principles in information systems (IS) classes, and reports on an empirical study that supports the efficacy of the approach. The proposed pedagogy involves having management information systems professors lead questioning and discussion on a list of ethical issues as part of their existing IS courses. The rationale for this pedagogy involves (1) the maturational aspects of ethics, and (2) the importance of repetition, challenge, and practice in developing a personal set (...)
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  42. Flavio Soares Correa da Silva (2010). On the Ethics of Democratic Access to Web Information. Knowledge, Technology & Policy 23 (1-2):97-107.
    Floridi’s work, although diverse and multifaceted, portrays a solid coherence across his different lines of work. Among his wealth of interests and results, we highlight his recent work on information logics, on the ethics of information technology, and his rigorous (and vigorous) philosophical analysis of recent technological trends and developments in information technology. In the present article we illustrate, by means of some connecting arguments, the diversity and coherence of Floridi’s work. We also show how his work, although fundamentally philosophical (...)
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  43. Gordana Dodig Crnkovic & Susan Stuart (eds.) (2007). Computation, Information, Cognition: The Nexus and the Liminal. Cambridge Scholars Press.
    Written by world-leading experts, this book draws together a number of important strands in contemporary approaches to the philosophical and scientific questions that emerge when dealing with the issues of computing, information, cognition and the conceptual issues that arise at their intersections. It discovers and develops the connections at the borders and in the interstices of disciplines and debates. This volume presents a range of essays that deal with the currently vigorous concerns of the philosophy of information, ontology creation and (...)
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  44. Kenneth Einar Himma (2004). The Moral Significance of the Internet in Information: Reflections on a Fundamental Moral Right to Information. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 2 (4):191-201.
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  45. Charles Ess (2010). Brave New Worlds? The Once and Future Information Ethics. International Review of Information Ethics 12:35-43.
    I highlight several aspects of current and future developments of the internet, in order to draw from these in turn specific consequences of particular significance for the ongoing development and expansion of informa-tion ethics. These consequences include changing conceptions of self and privacy in both Western and Eastern countries, and correlative shifts from the communication technologies of literacy and print to a \secondary orality.. These consequences in turn imply that current and future information ethics should focus on developing a global (...)
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  46. Charles Ess (2008). Luciano Floridi's Philosophy of Information and Information Ethics: Critical Reflections and the State of the Art. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 10 (2-3):89-96.
    I describe the emergence of Floridi’s philosophy of information (PI) and information ethics (IE) against the larger backdrop of Information and Computer Ethics (ICE). Among their many strengths, PI and IE offer promising metaphysical and ethical frameworks for a global ICE that holds together globally shared norms with the irreducible differences that define local cultural and ethical traditions. I then review the major defenses and critiques of PI and IE offered by contributors to this special issue, and highlight Floridi’s responses (...)
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  47. Charles Ess (2006). Ethical Pluralism and Global Information Ethics. Ethics and Information Technology 8 (4):215-226.
    A global information ethics that seeks to avoid imperialistic homogenization must conjoin shared norms while simultaneously preserving the irreducible differences between cultures and peoples. I argue that a global information ethics may fulfill these requirements by taking up an ethical pluralism – specifically Aristotle’s pros hen [“towards one”] or “focal” equivocals. These ethical pluralisms figure centrally in both classical and contemporary Western ethics: they further offer important connections with the major Eastern ethical tradition of Confucian thought. Both traditions understand ethical (...)
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  48. Charles Ess (2005). “Lost in translation”?: Intercultural dialogues on privacy and information ethics (introduction to special issue on privacy and data privacy protection in asia). [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 7 (1):1-6.
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  49. Charles Ess & May Thorseth (2008). Kant and Information Ethics. Ethics and Information Technology 10 (4):205-211.
    We begin with our reasons for seeking to bring Kant to bear on contemporary information and computing ethics (ICE). We highlight what each contributor to this special issue draws from Kant and then applies to contemporary matters in ICE. We conclude with a summary of what these chapters individually and collectively tell us about Kant’s continuing relevance to these contemporary matters – specifically, with regard to the issues of building trust online and regulating the Internet; how far discourse contributing to (...)
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  50. Charles Ess & May Thorseth (2006). Neither Relativism nor Imperialism: Theories and Practices for a Global Information Ethics. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 8 (3):91-95.
    We highlight the important lessons our contributors present in our collective project of fostering dialogues both between applied ethics and computer science and between cultures. These include: critical reflexivity; procedural (partly Habermasian) approaches to establishing such central norms as “emancipation”; the importance of local actors in using ICTs both for global management and in development projects – especially as these contribute the trust essential for the social context of use of new technologies; and pluralistic approaches that preserve local cultural differences (...)
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