The paper suggests overcoming the polarization of today's debate on peer‐to‐peer (P2P) systems by defining a fair balance between the principle of precaution and the…
The paper suggests overcoming the polarization of today's debate on peer‐to‐peer (P2P) systems by defining a fair balance between the principle of precaution and the principle of openness. Threats arising from these file sharing applications‐systems should not be a pretext to limit freedom of research, speech or the right “freely to participate in the cultural life of the community”, as granted by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948. The paper aims to take sides in today's debate.
The paper adopts an interdisciplinary approach, including network theory, law and ethics. The method draws on both theoretical and empirical material so as to stress the paradox of the principle of precaution applied to P2P systems and why the burden of proof should fall on the party proposing that one refrain from action.
Censors and opponents of P2P systems who propose to apply the principle of precaution to this case deny the premise upon which that principle rests. “Levels of evidence” required by the precautionary principle show that – in many cases in which the outcomes of technology are ignored – another principle is needed for orienting action, namely, the principle of openness.
Alarm about how P2P systems undermine crucial elements of the societies often led to the ban of this technology. The paper illustrates why it should not be the case: rather than shutting these networks down, they should be further developed.
The paper provides the comprehensive picture of a far too often fragmented debate.
The purpose of this paper is to present a novel mnemonic, ACTIVE, inspired by Mason's 1985 PAPA mnemonic, which will help researchers and IT professionals develop an…
The purpose of this paper is to present a novel mnemonic, ACTIVE, inspired by Mason's 1985 PAPA mnemonic, which will help researchers and IT professionals develop an understanding of the major issues in information ethics.
Theoretical foundations are developed for each element of the mnemonic by reference to philosophical definitions of the terms used and to virtue ethics, particularly MacIntyrean virtue ethics. The paper starts with a critique of the elements of the PAPA mnemonic and then proceeds to develop an understanding of each of the elements of ACTIVE ethics, via a discussion of the underpinning virtue ethics.
This paper identifies six issues, described by the mnemonic, ACTIVE. ACTIVE stands for: autonomy, the ability of the individual to manage their own information and make choice; community, the ethical effect of an information systems on the community which it supports; transparency, the extent to which the derivation of content and process in an information system is made clear; identity, the social and ethical effect of an information system on the definition and maintenance of the distinctive characteristics of a person; value, the value or moral worth placed on information associated with an individual and hence on the relationship with the individual; and empathy, the ability of the information systems professional to emotionally connect with the user and the extent to which the information system distances or connects.
The paper applies virtue ethics to developing a tool to help information professionals reflect on their ethical practice in developing and supporting information systems.