Purpose – Beginning with the initial premise that the internet has a global character, the purpose of this paper is to argue that the normative evaluation of digital information on the internet necessitates an evaluative model that is itself universal and global in character. To this end, the paper aims to demonstrate and support a universal model for the normative evaluation of information on the internet. Design/methodology/approach – The design and application of a dual normative model of information show how such a model commits all disseminators of information to universal epistemological and ethical norms. Findings – Based on the dual normative characterization of information, the paper demonstrates that information and internet information specifically, have an inherent normative structure that commits its disseminators to certain mandatory epistemological and ethical commitments; and that the negligent or purposeful abuse of information in violation of those commitments is also a violation of universal rights to freedom and wellbeing to which all agents are entitled by virtue of being agents, and in particular informational agents. Research limitations/implications – Owing to space constraints it is impractical to provide in this paper a detailed account of how the argument for informational universal rights can deal with other competing moral obligations. Originality/value – The findings based on an innovative dual normative model of information demonstrate and support the initial thesis of the paper, namely, that the dissemination of internet information due to its global nature commits all informational agents to universal epistemological and ethical principles.
Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 4, 2010
Keywords: Internet; Information media; Communication; Communication technologies