Information Ethics and the Future

Examples of Information Ethics Issues in the Media

Camrbidge Analytica: Probably the biggest and most public case of information being used unethically. The data was gathered from a commercial organization without the explicit consent of its users by a researcher, then re-used for commercial and ultimately political purposes. Slate has a good round up of how it all went wrong, The Guardian has a collection of material.

Google's defamatory algorithm: In Australia, a man has won the right to sue Google over the output of its image search algorithm, claiming his appearance in searches for Melbourne's criminal underworld is defamatory.

Algortihms can be discriminatory, Facebook has just been caught doing this.

What about DNA or health data? There are a few examples of this, from discovering a parental affair through DTC genetic testing, to using the DNA of the dead to find their families. Add in technology, and your health insurer could ask you to hand over your FitBit data and change your premium accordingly.

An information deluge can be used for censorship; this is one of the strategies of the Chinese Government.

Privacy click-throughs are almost universally unread. What might good practice look like?

When an employer changes their ethics, do employees have the right to know? Google employees think so, and staged a major protest. The former WhatsApp boss quit after a takeover.

Private thoughts made public posthumously: Einstein's racism is being discussed in the media based on his private diaries. How should such revelations be handled ethically?

Free speech vs. trolls: A thoughtful piece on moderation at Reddit, how social media platforms are not neutral, and free speech absolutism may be in opposition to free exchange of ideas. Content notes: racism, animal cruelty, sexism.