Saturday, February 05, 2005

Vote for Your Favorite IE Issue and Tell Us Why

Vote here and feel free to add more:

Here are some choices:

Privacy: How Much Is Enough?

How do we balance having access to our medical records and privacy protections?

Shoud Human Gnome Information Be Public--accessible to all researchers?

Homeland Security vs. Civil Rights: Can We Have Both?

Balancing Intellectual Property Rights and Intellectual Freedom: Owners vs. Users--Can Everybody Win?

What about hate speech, pornography, and other seriously objectionable materials on the Internet?

Freedom to Read: Should Children's Reading Ever Be Censored? By Parents? By Librarians?

Would you buy the "Walter, the Farting Dog" books for Your Children or Grandchildren?

Should libraries filter the Internet? For Children? For Everybody?

Basics: New Development on the IE Stage: Information Technology Ethics

New Developments: Information Technology Ethics--
What's in a Name?
Information Ethics or Information Technology Ethics
Remember computer ethics? Well it seems that now the computer ethics people are using the therm Information Technology Ethics. Does it matter? Why the change? Throughout these years one of my major interests has been in all of the term used to talk about ethics and all these new technologies as they impinge on our lives. So what do changes in terms mean? What does it mean when groups change their names, start new journal or newsletter, use new terminology for conferences? Here are some of the most popular terms:
How many terms can be used to describe information, technology; ethics or information and communication technology ethics; science, technology, and ethics-- (note that more specific documentation would show very unclear patterns of use with specific terms; this is not any kind of definitive pronouncement--here intended to encourage more thinking)
Pre-newtech terms (a small sample):
Engineering Ethics, Medical Ethics, Bioethics, Land ethic,
Business Ethics, Professional Ethics, Legal Ethics, Journalism ethics
Early newtech terms (a small sample):
Computer ethics, Information technology ethics, Communication ethics, Media ethics, Information ethics, Archival ethics, Enviromental ethics, Reproductive ethics Genetic ethics, and
Most recent terminology[(Some post-Internet?] (a small sample):
Internet ethics, Cyberethics, Healthcare and technology ethics.
So what does all this mean? Terminology can mean territory--claiming a piece of the discourse pie. Terminology can invite others to share in the discussion or can exclude those whose preferred terminology is different. I've always liked the term Information ethics because it seems to me to be a wide gate inviting in all who would enter. I've called IE an umbrella term. To me this is more important than claiming a small piece of what is a very important pie. I want to chew on the whole pie and not just a small piece. Seems like there are such serious and important issues--intellectual property, privacy, socially responsible Internet use, dealing with information poverty, with censorship, and with challenges to civil rights through information control-- that we don't need to spend too much time promoting our terms if it takes away from our making the important intellectual and social progress so needed today. I'd suggest that you pay attention to the terminology as a way to understand the many voices singing in the chorus. But mostly look at the issues underneath and what all this means to you.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Blogs as an information source--Thanks for the question.

A real question from a real reader:
What do you feel will be the long term effect of spamming comment sections on blogs and bogus blogs as linkfarms on the credibility of the Blog as an information source?

From the Information Ethicist: I'm fairly new to blogging so I'm not very familiar with blogs and spamming and bogus blogs. Tell me more. I do think that blogs are a great means for communication certain kinds of information. To me it fits into what is usually talked about as "the social life of information." We're just in the beginning stages for understanding how to use blogs, email, listservs, web pages, etc. in building communities with common interests, for fun, for political activity, and, I'm sure, lots more. My own personal reasons for starting this blog are my interests (1.) in finding other people interested in ethics and information and (2.) in having a place to express my thoughts on information ethics and related subjects. I've been working in this research area for almost fifteen years. Thanks again for writing. Tell me more about your interests in blogging and blogs as information sources.