Human Rights in an Information Age

Human Rights in an Information Age: A Philosophical Analysis

GREGORY J. WALTERS
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442675926
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  • Book Info
    Human Rights in an Information Age
    Book Description:

    Walters analyses Canadian and global information highway policy and practices from a philosophical, human rights framework that views freedom and well-being as the necessary conditions of human action.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7592-6
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Alan Gewirth

    It has become a commonplace that ours is an age of technological revolution. The unprecedented development of means of communication and knowledge has forced a drastic reorientation of the ways in which contemporary humans relate to the world and to one another. Francis Bacon′s thesis that knowledge is power has received superlative exemplification in the enormous power that information technology has given human beings. This power is at once physical, intellectual, and political, and the individuals and groups who use it for their own purposes represent drastic challenges to our moral and political heritage.

    It is a great merit of...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-25)

    Information technology has rapidly changed our world, created a global informational economy, and radically affected our images of self, community, and culture. It is commonly acknowledged that digital information technologies, especially the information highway or Internet, has brought about a ′Third Industrial Revolution.′ The First Industrial Revolution was heralded in 1776 by the steam engine, which replaced horse-driven wagons and exceeded the power of animals and humans by an order of magnitude. During the Second Industrial Revolution, between 1860 and the First World War, oil and electricity, especially the invention of the dynamo in 1867, created new energy sources that...

  7. CHAPTER ONE The Philosophical Framework
    (pp. 26-52)

    In this chapter we set forth the philosophical framework with which we will approach our ethical evaluation of Canadian information highway policy, e-commerce strategy, and privacy and security challenges. Because philosophical analysis must begin with reflection on the present historical ′situation,′ and because the information age has evolved within the context of modernity, we first identify some key social and technological characteristics of modernity and the world-historical impact of technology. Then we delineate an action-based human rights framework that is neither exhaustive nor exclusive, but provides readers with the ethical horizon within which the information highway policy concerns of the...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Information Highway Policy and E–Commerce Strategy
    (pp. 53-79)

    In this chapter we present an exposition and analysis of Information Highway Advisory Council (IHAC) policy and e-commerce strategy. Information highway policy did not appear out of the blue, but it must be situated within the broader historical emergence and sociological development of Canadian communication sectors, technology, and policy. The history of Canadian telegraph, telephone, and broadcasting industries and restructuring has been explored by others.¹ The scientific foundations, key players, and legal dimensions of early information highway policy are examined by Johnston et al. (1995),² but they fail to treat the second- and third-phase policies and provide no ethical analysis....

  9. CHAPTER THREE The Informational Economy, Work, and Productive Agency
    (pp. 80-116)

    Is this the world of virtual work that information highway planners would have us enter? Has the global informational economy and new division of labour left us unconcerned with individual victims of mass unemployment resulting from technological displacement, negative trade impacts, fiscal, monetary, and other economic policies? Or is the issue of technology displacement and unemployment moot in the absence of fully acceptable global and national economic data or massive civil unrest? How ought we ethically to assess the policy debate that characterizes all three phases of information policy concerning the impacts of the informational economy on work and human...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Privacy and Security Policy: The Historical Situation
    (pp. 117-149)

    Privacy and security issues posed the second major concern for Canadian information highway policy and e-commerce strategy, and they continue to pose vexing ethical challenges in our present situation. Privacy and security policy concerns turn back on basic ethical and empirical questions, even as our new situation for privacy protection is shaped by technological, economic, and political domains (Bennett and Grant, 1999). Most individuals care something about their personal privacy, but where they differ greatly is in the extent to which they are prepared ′to grant privacy priority over other human rights, values, and interests when a competitive environment exists′...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Privacy and Security: An Ethical Analysis
    (pp. 150-186)

    It is clear from our survey of Canadian information highway policy and e-commerce strategy that there is no substantive philosophical justification of privacy as a human right beyond its prima facie link with human dignity and autonomy. On what philosophical ground, however, ought legislation seek to instantiate physical privacy, privacy of personal information, freedom from surveillance, privacy of personal communications, and privacy of personal space into public policy? The philosophical meaning of privacy as a social value also has been undeveloped in information policy documents. The government has called upon academics for ′open communication and dialogue′ on how best to...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Information Warfare
    (pp. 187-217)

    Canadian information highway policy and e-commerce strategy support cryptography policy that encourages the growth of e-commerce, allows software producers to export their products globally within the terms of the Wassenaar Arrangement (see chapter 2, n.7), and contains measures that maintain the capability of law and security agencies to ensure public safety. A problem arises because encryption technologies may be used to hide criminal activity and threaten public safety and national security. Policy makers are concerned that the enforcement of laws and regulations could be hampered without lawful access to evidence pertaining to illegal activity.¹ What is our empirical situation? How...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN Information Warfare and Deterrence
    (pp. 218-237)

    While security, military, and intelligence strategists have been preparing for an information age war by rethinking organization, doctrine, strategy and tactics (Arquilla and Ronfeldt, 1997b), they are just beginning to think about the relation between information warfare (IW) and deterrence. The idea of information warfare deterrence (IWD) poses, from the outset, definitional and conceptual challenges related to the constituent terms, information warfare and deterrence. Our use of the term ′information warfare′ throughout this chapter assumes the definition of IW articulated in the last chapter. If we are to make use of practical reason to answer the question as to what...

  14. Conclusion: Towards a Global Community of Rights in the Information Age
    (pp. 238-254)

    This book has been guided from the outset by the assumption that all philosophical reflection must begin with our historical and technologicalsituation. Canadian information highway policy (1993–98) and e-commerce strategy provided our historical point of departure and defined the three key policy domains for subsequent ethical analysis: The impact of information technology on work and employment (chapter 3); privacy and security challenges (chapters 4 and 5); and emerging information warfare practices and deterrence (chapters 6 and 7). We have sought to achieve an ethical ′balance′ between individual rights and societal interests by means of the application of the...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 255-276)
  16. References
    (pp. 277-312)
  17. Index
    (pp. 313-335)