Information Ethics and the Future

The recent case of Cambridge Analytica demonstrates just how complex issues of information ethics can be. The data used to potentially alter the course of an election was gathered by an academic, under a license from a commercial organization intended to facilitate academic work, then provided to a second commercial organization. That organization then repurposed the data to influence voter opinion for commercial gain.

While this is an egregious example of ethical challenges in information use, similar, smaller challenges are played out daily during research involving data on and about humans. Moreover, governments and commercial organizations hold more data about individuals than ever before.

Library and information science has long addressed issues of data openness and privacy of information users, and as such is uniquely positioned as a discipline to address these modern challenges. This workshop is aimed at exploring issues of ethics in information use, by researchers, public institutions and commercial organizations, with a view to developing a new understanding of information ethics. This workshop will revisit this long-standing need to focus on ethics in the light of new risks that are emerging from the large-scale availability of personal data, and the ready availability of contended and contentious information.