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NEW! The 2012 Information Ethics Roundtable will be held in New York City on the topic of Privacy.


April 15 and 16, 2011
University of Arizona, Tucson

This Year's Topic: 

Information Rights as Human Rights
1:30 -5:30, Friday April 15
and 9:30-5:30 on Saturday April 16.
Location: Eddie Lynch Pavilion

featuring a workshop on 

                                     Libraries and Human Rights
                                                8:30-1 p.m. Friday, April 15
                                                        Location: McClelland Hall, Room 125

We live in an "information society." Information and information technologies are increasingly essential to our social, economic, and political interactions. Given this, serious reflection on information ethics imperative. "Information ethics" studies the value questions that arise in the creation, control, and access to information. The Information Ethics Roundtable is a yearly conference, which brings together researchers from disciplines such as philosophy, information science, communications, public administration, anthropology and law to discuss the ethical issues such as information privacy, intellectual property, intellectual freedom, and censorship.

The focus of this year's roundtable is the relation between human rights and information ethics. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights lists a number of rights related to information (e.g., Articles 18, 19, 25, and 26). Such "information rights" include the rights to create and communicate information (e.g., freedom of expression, freedom of association), to control other's access to information (e.g., privacy and intellectual property), and rights to access information (e.g., freedom of thought, the right to read). This conference will address several conceptual, empirical, and ethical issues:

  • What theoretical approaches to human rights could be most fruitfully applied to questions in information ethics?
  • What are the human rights related to information?
  • Are information rights best conceived merely as liberties, which obligate states to refrain from restricting freedoms, or as welfare rights, which obligate states to provide resources?
  • Are information rights instrumental rights, that is, do they promote the fulfillment of other human rights?
  • What challenges does cultural diversity pose to a human rights approach to information ethics?
  • Is there empirical research (e.g., case studies, statistical analyses) relevant to understanding the relation between information ethics and human rights?
  • What are the relationships and possible conflicts between information human rights (e.g., the right to intellectual property and the right to access information)?
  • Do we have human rights to access particular information technologies, such as computers, cellphones, or the Internet?
  • What are the drawbacks of taking a human rights approach to information ethics?
The roundtable is free and open to the public, but we request that those who plan to attend register for the conference.  For further information, send an email to

Speakers include:

Program Chair:
Kay Mathiesen
School of Information Resources and Library Science
University of Arizona
Primary Sponsor:

Other Sponsors:

Previous Roundtables: