* denotes availability of the papers in HTML and RTF formats
* Virtual Forum on INFOethics
* Virtual Forum on INFOethics
Virtual Forum on INFOethics
A summary of the VF-INFOethics, an open worldwide1 electronic discussion forum carried out from October 1997 to April 1998, is presented in this paper. This forum was organized as a follow-up to a recommendation made by the participants at the first INFOethics Congress held in Monaco from 10 to 12 March 1997. The forum was designed and managed by the Information Science Department of the University of Konstanz. The paper gives the objectives of the forum and describes the discussions under each of the five topics of the forum: general concept of information ethics; information rich and information poor; information as a public and/or private good; trust, ownership and validity of information in cyberspace; privacy, confidentiality, security, hate, violence on the Internet. It gives each time what role UNESCO could possibly have and provides some preliminary conclusions.Full paper in HTML format only
PRESENTATION OF AUDIOVISUAL CLIPS
Mr Louis Chammings
Each of the six topics discussed by the Congress will be illustrated by a short audiovisual introduction researched and prepared by the French Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA). The President of INA gives some explanatory remarks about these presentations.
FREE SOFTWARE AND BEYOND
Mr Richard Stallman
The author speaks about the free software movement and its implications for computing literature and scholarship in the age of computer networks. The copyright system, though beneficial and painless when carefully applied to printing press technology, becomes obstructive and harsh when applied to computers and computer networks such as we have today. It is also inefficient, since it acts mainly to enrich media business, and only incidentally to promote art or science. The success of the free software movement points towards alternative social systems for the use of published works, ways of promoting publication that accord with the nature of digital information technology and allow the public full use of its benefits.Full paper in HTML or RTF format
DEFINING A NEW COMPACT BETWEEN THE PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
Mr T. de la Quadra-Salcedo
States must set new policy to deal with information in cyberspace. To date, most states have adopted repressive attitudes aimed at crime prevention in the information society as a means of guaranteeing respect for fundamental rights. The authorities must nevertheless also adopt active policies, both nationally and through international and supranational organizations, to disseminate knowledge and ensure equal access to it, firstly by encouraging rather than restricting civil society and, secondly, by making a habit of putting out information in cyberspace and facilitating worldwide access to it, thus encouraging equal opportunities for the men and women of today.(SPANISH) Full paper in HTML or RTF format
(FRENCH) Full paper in HTML or RTF format
GABON, THE INTERNET AND UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO
National Archives, National Library and Documentation
The public services have accumulated a great deal of information that could be of interest to researchers, students, citizens, local communities and business at both the national and the international level. The primary objective of easy access to this information is to support the sustainable development of our young nations and their gradual transition towards the rule of law and good governance. Hence the advent of the Internet offers developing countries that are concerned about their development and the well-being of their peoples an opportunity to gain a prominent place in the concert of nations and to improve the flow of information to their fellow citizens by organizing public information systems that are generally accessible and free of charge to the extent possible. These new information and communication technologies provide our countries with a historic opportunity to spread knowledge of themselves, make their voice heard and participate in world dialogue through the contribution of their cultural specificities. Gabon, which has been on line on the Internet since April 1997, is currently implementing a governmental project entitled ‘Sustainable Internet Development Network’ (RDD-INTERNET). This project, which has been operational since October 1996, is designed to make public information more readily accessible. What lessons can be learnt so far from this experience? What are the main difficulties? What impact has it had on Gabonese society?Full paper in HTML or RTF format - In French only
THE USE OF THE INTERNET TO SERVE PEACE
Mr Anwar Abu Eisheh
‘Palestine’ is at present going through a period of autonomy with enormous legal vacuums in all areas; the Ottoman civil code of 1868 is still in force, together with a few Jordanian and Egyptian laws and Israeli military regulations. What proposals should be made to the Palestinian legislative council? Negotiations are more or less under way between Israeli and Palestinian representatives with a view to definitive agreements, but so too are dialogues on the Internet between individuals belonging to the two peoples and even between persons interested in the question of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict all over the world. The effect on the progress of the negotiations is uncertain. What conception of freedom of communication prevails in the so-called ‘Muslim’ countries particularly in the Middle East? Religious dignitaries and political leaders seemed indifferent to the Internet until recently. But several factors are at work among religious leaders, who are preparing to arrive in force in the Internet world. The most politicized among them are already there, driven by a sense of the threat to Islam and by irresponsible acts of provocation against Muslims. But all their statements show that they are inspired by a desire to inform and a spirit of dialogue.Full paper in HTML or RTF format - In French only
Mr Toru Nishigaki
One of the critical issues in relation to the current trend of globalization by new information technology is that of the language environment on the Internet. It is almost impossible to communicate with people across state borders without using English. This causes a lot of problems in the non-English speaking world, and nowhere more than in Asian countries where non-Latin scripts are widely used. As long as English continues to be the sole language for international communication on the Internet, the goal of true cultural/social exchange among different countries will remain unrealized. This paper examines the necessary conditions for achieving a multilingual environment on the Internet. It also introduces the Language/Power on-line forum hosted by the Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo. This forum discusses the social, cultural and technological problems facing the development of multilingual on-line communities.Full paper in HTML or RTF format
Mr Adeeb Ghonaimy
How to generate credible information on the Web in different languages that reflect cultural, economical and political views. What is the role of machine translation and related aspects of language engineering in facilitating the construction of multilingual information retrieval systems and surfing of the Web. How intelligent multilingual browsers will help crossing the language boundaries and enable users to express their requirements in their native languages. How electronic commerce will help in creating platforms for multilingual transactions. How information-poor nations will improve their information balance in general and in cyberspace in particular.Full paper in HTML or RTF format
Mr Sveinn Einarsson
The speaker stresses different aspects of using languages in connection with the new information technology from the viewpoint of a small country and a small nation with a rich culture that for ages has been closely linked to the very notion of the language, a classical language in Europe, that, in its core, did not change very much for 800 years. This leads to the conclusion that in terms of modern communication the language is not only a practical tool for communication and understanding, but has an intrinsic value in itself and thus an asset to the creative diversity of all of us. The author discusses also the means of accessing the knowledge and attempts to define the ways for UNESCO to work against elitism and to ensure that the new communication technology is not a tool for an educated elite only but really a vehicle for the learning of all.Full paper in HTML or RTF format
PROMOTING MULTILINGUALISM ON THE INTERNET:
Mr Taik-Sup Auh
With a geometric proliferation of the Internet, an estimated 2.5 million Koreans are linked to the global medium. For a majority of them, according to a recent survey, the Internet remains largely an unexplored reservoir of knowledge and information due to language barrier. Their grasp of English is quite rudimentary, sufficient only for processing basic information such as the weather, sports, and erotic visuals. As a result they are denied of the tremendous opportunities that the Internet has to offer, namely, in-depth information and more serious discussions with the netizens all around the world. Some positive progress is being made to rectify the situation: Korean-language sites are increasing in numbers with richer variety of information and more sophisticated and inexpensive translation softwares become readily available to domestic users. More should and can be done by the public and private sectors to enrich the information environment by promoting multilingualism on the Internet.Full paper in HTML or RTF format
MULTILINGUAL ENVIRONMENT IN THE CYBERSPACE
V.I. Gritsenko, A.V.Anisimov
TRUST - A PRINCIPLE FOR ETHICS AND ECONOMICS
Mr Rainer Kuhlen
Trust to be defined as confidence in the reliability of a person or a system is considered of growing ethical and economic importance for all processes in electronic markets and value-added information services on the Internet. Trust in electronic systems or value-added services such as search roboters, electronic commerce, electronic payment, expert systems, and intelligent agents is necessary because the average user cannot achieve sufficient information about the systems’ basic principles or performance, but, on the other hand, cannot escape these systems anymore. Trust is thus a necessary substitute for knowledge or certainty. Acceptance and, consequently, the usage of electronic information devices, both in private and professional (commercial and public) environments, depend on the existence of trust-building mechanisms and institutions (trust centres).Full paper in HTML or RTF format
PRESERVING PRIVACY IN THE INFORMATION SOCIETY
Mr Marc Rotenberg
The protection of privacy remains a central concern for democratic nations. The right of privacy is well established in national law and international norms. Courts and commentators have made clear the value of this right for human dignity, personal autonomy and democratic self-governance. Yet governments today are struggling with new challenges to privacy. Technologies have created new threats, as well as new opportunities. Businesses have sought to exploit the commercial value of personal identity. And systems of routinized surveillance have become more widespread. What are the prospects for privacy in the twenty-first century? What is the role of government and of the citizen in the protection of privacy? What is the role of UNESCO?Full paper in HTML or RTF format
TRUST AND PRIVACY IN CYBERSPACE: A VIEW FROM
Mr Rohan Samarajiva
In many developed countries, the discussion of electronic commerce is taking place in the context of almost universal connectivity to the basic telecom network. The problem of these societies accustomed for decades to interactions in the ‘virtual space’ of the telephone network is getting to transactions and deeper relationships. In most countries of the South, basic telecommunications connectivity is still a distant goal. As a result the trust, privacy and security issues take a very different complexion in these countries. In the United States, studies showed that the telephone company was one of the most trusted institutions in society. But the unregulated, inefficient, monopoly, government-owned telecom providers in most of Asia do not have that legacy. Because of poor service, corruption and related factors, they may be among the least trusted institutions in these societies. Therefore, designers of electronic commerce systems will have to approach the problem in novel ways. Privacy, defined as the ability to control the boundary conditions of social relationships, is a basic human trait that takes different forms depending on cultural context. Access information (e.g. telephone numbers) that is jealously guarded in developed Western economies, is looked at differently in settings such as Sri Lanka. The overall problem is one of building trust in different social, economic and cultural contexts. The Sri Lankan case can shed light on this problem.Full paper in HTML or RTF format
Mr Kazem Motamed Nejad
The author, after emphasizing the importance of the protection of proprietary and security rights of information in today’s world, presents the theoretical foundations for the freedom of information and the principles of legal limitations at the global level. He makes a comparative review of some new laws of industrial states for the protection of proprietary and security rights in the new domains of communication and information in cyberspace. He then discusses new efforts in some developing countries, including Iran, to establish new laws in protecting proprietary and security of digital communication and information software. Concluding, he stresses the necessity for global protection of proprietary and security rights in electronic communication as well as the transmission of information and expansion of international and regional co-operation.Full paper in HTML or RTF format (French Only)
THE NEW FRONTIERS OF PRIVACY
Mr Simon Davies
Privacy is emerging throughout the world as a key issue in law and culture. The new European Data Protection Directive coming into force in October 1998, provides the foundation for a global privacy regime. Privacy is also increasingly being enforced at an individual level by the Internet users adopting a range of powerful new privacy-friendly technologies. Meanwhile, privacy has found its way on to the agenda of mainstream consumer and campaign groups. In short, the issue has come of age. This presentation outlines the new dimensions of privacy that are likely to influence business and politics in the coming decade.Full paper in HTML or RTF format
LIBRARIES AND THE GLOBAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE
Mrs Nancy John
PROTECTION VERSUS ACCESSIBILITY
Mr Yousef Nusseir
In the world of open access to enormous amounts of data via the ever-expanding connectivity through the Internet, it is becoming more and more difficult to decide where to draw the line between what could be considered protection and what is considered accessibility issues; what are proprietary rights and what is public domain; what are security rights and what are access rights. These issues are ethical, cultural and legal, hence discussed as such in this paper along with the Jordanian experience in establishing the National Information System, a national intranet, and the manner in which these issues are addressed.Full paper in HTML or RTF format
Mr A.K. Chakravarti
Building upon the developed software capability, India is currently formulating an action plan to become a global information technology power and one of the largest generators and exporters of software within the next ten years. As part of this, specific studies have also been carried out and recommendations made through an interministerial Standing Committee to formulate the necessary cyber laws protecting proprietary and security rights in cyberspace. This work has been backed up through a series of international state-of-the-art technical studies of cyber laws related to certain key areas (Digital Signature Law, IPR, cryptography technology and policy directions and cyber laws for computer-related crimes) to draw a parallel for the Indian scenario (Web site: www.doe.gov.in). The approach adopted to formulate the cyber laws is presented with its specific details.Full paper in HTML or RTF format
Mr Peter Randle
Nineteen ninety-six saw the start of a proposed international legal framework for transactions on the Internet with the protocol to the Berne Convention, viz. the WIPO Diplomatic Conference (Geneva - December 1996). Since that time the United States and the European Union have introduced various legislation but two years later there is major discussion as to how we even implement WIPO proposals; e.g. the delay of the United States WIPO Implementation Act this June. This paper will examine the various rights and both business and consumer rights and discuss if the hybrid legal technical framework strikes the right balance as well as being acceptable to our new cyber-literate world.
GLOBAL EDUCATION AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES
Cyberspace is a new kind of reality combining aspects of pre-literal, face-to-face communication on the one hand, and literal/typographic communication on the other. Communication in a typographic culture is the communication of abstract (‘platonic’) meanings among members of an abstract society, such as a modern nation (Benedict Anderson’s ‘imagined community’). Knowledge is less abstract in an interactive audiovisual environment than in a purely typographical one; and the acquisition of this knowledge is less dependent on an extended process of education in some national - i.e. literary - language than was the acquisition of abstract, typographical knowledge in earlier ages. Successful navigation in cyberspace does, however, presuppose some specific training leading to appropriate combinations of technical skills and literary skills, the latter necessarily encompassing both a rudimentary English and one’s mother tongue (which may be a local dialect). To lay the theoretical and practical groundwork for determining what in fact the combination of those skills should amount to requires both research in the domain of the logic of images and sounds as merged with the logic of texts, and community efforts at linking local culture to global communication.
LEARNING TO BE A CITIZEN OF CYBERSPACE
Mr Vincent Mosco
This paper addresses the need to focus on the content of education in cyberspace and, specifically, about teaching people to be citizens, not just consumers, in this new arena. The paper begins by reviewing three general conclusions from research on education in cyberspace. First, most of it takes place in the developed world; cyberspace is empty space for most of the world’s people. Second, in the West, the emphasis is first on technical education, on teaching people how to use technology. Third, where attention is paid to content, most is directed to teaching people how to be consumers of products and services. Notwithstanding the value of technical and consumer skills, the paper calls for a stronger commitment to teaching people to be citizens of cyberspace. This includes the ethical value of treating cyberspace as a public space or ‘new commons’ to which all people have rights of access and participation, reasonable expectations of privacy and security, and, along with these rights, civic responsibilities of participation and mutual respect for fellow cyber-citizens. The paper concludes by identifying examples of programmes that promote this new form of citizenship.Full paper in HTML or RTF format
Mr Vladimir G. Kinelev
The world never stands still. Its increasing changeability is turning into a constituent feature of global historical development. For the first time in the history of our civilization generations of products and ideas come and go faster than generations of people succeeding one another. In this changing world mankind is striving to forge a new basis for unity, to create a new image of science, to redefine the relation between the artificial and the natural, and to fundamentally restructure the sphere of education. Global networks and computer systems open up infinite possibilities for education. Those networks and systems will serve the basis for a new global infrastructure - Info-sphere, with its new way of thinking, new ethics, and transformed culture of communication, which reveals other dimensions of consciousness. Today, one of the most consequential and difficult tasks is to fully utilize the unique potential of cyberspace, which will help consistently employ a new educational paradigm: ‘From a holistic world-view to a holistic personality via holistic knowledge’.
Mr Derrick L. Cogburn, Ph.D.
The information revolution, and the information age that it engenders, can be characterized by the phenomenon of globalization. While the term globalization has become quite widespread, even in the popular media, there are confused and often conflicting definitions of the phenomenon. Thus, the concept has to be unpacked and explored to provide any analytical use in the context of understanding its impact on society and the economy. This paper explores the contours of the globalization concept, including its alternative perspectives, and comments on its impact on society, the state, the economy, and focuses on actual examples of the promise and challenge of the Global Information Infrastructure and Global Information Society to meet the increasing knowledge, education and learning demands of the world’s citizens.
Mr Alexander N. Yakovlev
The author considers that mankind is not ready for the advent of a new information era with its moral, economic and political transformations. All societies on earth are still living in an archaic world: states, borders, passports, visas, customs, etc. Their globalization will not only radically change the informational infrastructure of the ‘new society’, but also the human perception of the world, its past, present and future, in what becomes a commonwealth of nations. Despite all the obvious positive aspects of the homogenization and universalization of the cultural development there is a real threat for human degradation in all national cultures. New ethical principles, a code of responsible ethics must be elaborated. General problems arise with regard to human responsibility and a reasonable balance between individualism and collectivism in the overall global space and in conditions of freedom needs to be established.
ETHICS AND MEANS OF REGULATING THE INTERNET
Mr Jacques Berleur
Certain means of regulating the Internet have already been introduced, sometimes after hard and bitter struggles. To begin with, there are technical methods, in the form of labelling or filtering techniques, not forgetting, of course, regulation by means of technical standards themselves. It is useful to indicate the content to which these technical systems apply and to see what qualities certain software and associated rating techniques possess. The most popular systems filter ‘adult’ material, violence, offensive language, gambling games, etc. Next come self-regulatory means, involving systems as diverse as codes of conduct, charters, general principles or guidelines, including rules of Netiquette. Here again, it is interesting to see the content that is subject to self-regulation. It can be found through analysis of the Internet service provider codes or guidelines which now seem to be the rule in the context of electronic trading. Does the brevity of these codes permit a realistic approach to the problems that they are designed to solve? Are they devised with all the parties concerned or do they merely serve to defend the profession? The third means of regulation is the law. It is here, without a doubt, that territorial limitations are most in evidence. Few regions of the world regulate these matters by mechanisms such as those proposed, for example, under the European Directives. The recommendations of organizations such as OECD do not have such binding force. Lastly, the question of specifically ethical means of regulation must be raised, even if ethics is already present in other methods of regulation. Are there not also some ethical questions that should remain outside self-regulation? Study of the areas covered by the various means of regulation may also reveal areas that are not covered, the importance of which can and must be weighed from the ethical point of view. Obviously we are here referring to such important questions as equal access, for example.
DEVELOPING PARTICIPATION IN THE GLOBAL INFORMATION SOCIETY
Mr Kweku Appiah
Access to modem information and communication technologies (ICT) is crucial to the development process. It is now both technically and economically feasible to bring ICT services to the entire world and increasingly, people around the world, including those in developing countries, are demanding access to the emerging global information network. The paper looks at issues related to the design of strategies to develop greater access as well as services for all, including the marginalized, to the Global Information Infrastructure. A case is made for a strategy which, while recognizing the diversity that exists between and within countries, will promote the development of active, dynamic and competitive membership of the Global Information Society by all participants.
CYBERSPACE AS PUBLIC DOMAIN: THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY
Mr Cees Hamelink
The paper addresses the need to mobilize the forces of civil society for the protection of the endangered public domain. It proposes future forms of cyberspace governance that are guided by public interests, and discusses the global movement for a People’s Communication Charter.
Mr Daniel Pimienta
These are the results of an ongoing research project about the place of French, Spanish and other Latin languages on the Internet, supported by the Latin Union and the Agence de la Francophonie. The methodology is to use the Internet search engines, counting occurrences of a carefully selected sampling of words. The results show a progressive increase in the presence of non-English languages. As for culture, the ‘Internet citations index’ of famous people representative of the presence of different areas of culture is measured. The result shows the existence of a ‘global fame factor’ which is not necessarily biased towards the United States, especially when culture and business are not too blurred. The author encourages every culture and language to create its own information resources within the Internet and warns that what is threatened nowadays could be more easily the cultural foundation of the Internet, based on universal values of sharing and solidarity, than any specific language or culture.