Leading the Field Since 1999
“An important aspect of today's understanding of Ethics concerns issues of individual and social responsibility with regard to the impact of our choices in light of the influence of science and technology. While information and communication technologies open doors to new technological and scientific possibilities, they also act as a catalyst to an unprecedented encounter with otherness, ensuring through digital mediums the en masse collision of hitherto closed ethical systems and cultural worldviews."
~ Rafael Capurro
Digital Ethics concerns itself with human and digital interactions, including decisions made by humans while interacting with the digital, as well as those decisions made by the digital interacting with humans. Digital Ethics includes, in order of appearance into the field, Computer Ethics, Cyberethics, and AI Ethics. It places a focus on ethical issues pertaining to such things as software reliability and honesty, artificial intelligence, computer crime, digital transparency and e-commerce. The origins of Digital Ethics are found in the adoption of ethical concerns into Computer Science, as influenced by Norbert Wiener's 1948 Cybernetics.
Media Ethics concerns itself with ethical practice in journalism and information dissemination, and includes issues as diverse as conflicts of interest, source transparency, fairness, fake news, and information accuracy. It aims to represent the best interests of the public through impartiality and balance, recognizing and addressing bias, and strives to respect individual privacy while demanding corporate and government transperency. Media Ethics makes explicit that journalism and media play a large part in shaping worldviews in society and as such demands a responsibility and personal commitment on the part of the journalist.
Alongside ethical considerations for Computer Science, the field of Information Ethics was first encapsulated under the ethical practices of Libraries and Information Science in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Library Ethics focuses on issues of privacy, censorship, access to information, intellectual freedom and social responsibility. It addresses copyright, fair use, and best practices for collection development. While Library Ethics originates, in the professional sense, in 19th-century librarianship, it finds its origins in a tradition of information ethics that stretches back to ancient Greece.
INTERCULTURAL INFORMATION ETHICS
Intercultural Information Ethics considers perspectives on information dissemination, ICTs and digital culture from the point of view of both globalization and localization. It provides an account of information culture as originating from all cultures, envisaged through comparative philosophies such as Buddhist and western-influenced information ethics traditions to African Ubuntu and Japanese Shinto ethics traditions in ICTs. In its applied sense, Intercultural Information Ethics strives to move beyond the presumed biases of western and greek-influenced ethical foundations for the field of Information Ethics to include globally diverse information ethics traditions. Philosophically, it endeavors to bridge a notable chasm in the field of information ethics, namely the foundational divide between information ecology and hermeneutics.
Bioinformation Ethics explores issues of information pertaining to technologies in the field of biology and medicine. Traditional concerns in Bioethics such as abortion, organ donation, euthanasia, and cloning form the basis of Bioinfomation Ethics, but are supplemented by questions regarding the influence of digital and information & communication technologies. Bioinformation Ethics addresses rights to biological identity, the use of DNA and fingerprints, the dissemination of biomedical information and equal rights to insurance and bank loans based on genetics.
BUSINESS INFORMATION ETHICS
Business Information Ethics is the convergence of two separate fields of applied ethics: Information Ethics and Business Ethics. Business Information Ethics addresses informational considerations of the dissemination of goods and services, including information as a commodity, and provides ethical guidance in the analysis of the use of goods and services, including discourse on the impact they have on society. Business Information Ethics also addresses concerns for journal and information management, and includes the subfield of Organisational Information Ethics, as represented by the Centre for Business Information Ethics (CBIE).