Cyber and Information Ethics: Freedom & Security, Privacy, Malice & Harm, Property

Speakers of the C10 Ethics session.

Action Line C10 Ethics Meeting
18 May 2011, WSIS Forum


Summary of the session

The session on “Cyber and Information Ethics: Freedom & Security, Privacy, Malice & Harm, Property”, provided an opportunity to examine some aspects, that underlie phenomena such as social media, crowdsourcing and the design of information system which may impede the creation of just, peaceful, inclusive societies and the full expression of human rights.

Emerging from the discussion was a recognition that previously held dichotomies and distinctions around concepts, previously seen as polar for example the notions of public and private; no longer exist independently, now they co-exist. It was also recognized that trade-offs between issues such as freedom and security can occur and may be accompanied by benefits. The design of information systems and networks was identified as an area which could limit choice by distorting reality and through poorly mediated human interactions cause harm to users. Issues around trust and the control of and use of personal data particularly bio-data were also examined.

The blurring and morphing of issues and the presence of new threats to human freedoms, which are often not readily noticeable, points to a need for greater public policy discourse around these challenges and a better understanding of the implications. This will serve to ensure that the maximum benefits are derived and the attendant trade-offs are fully understood. Some potential areas for research within this action line were identified by participants during the discussions.

Presentations by Panelists

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