Beginning with the initial premise that as the Internet has a global character, the paper will argue that the normative evaluation of digital information on the Internet necessitates an evaluative model that is itself universal and global in character (I agree, therefore, with Gorniak- Kocikowska’s claim that because of its global nature “computer ethics has to be regarded as global ethics”. (Gorniak-Kocikowska, Science and Engineering Ethics, 1996). The paper will show that information has a dual normative structure that commits all disseminators of information to both epistemological and ethical norms that are in principle universal and thus global in application. Based on this dual normative characterization of information the paper will seek to demonstrate: (1) that information and internet information (interformation) specifically, as a process and product of communication, has an inherent normative structure that commits its producers, disseminators, communicators and users, everyone in fact that deals with information, to certain mandatory epistemological and ethical commitments; and (2) that the negligent or purposeful abuse of information in violation of the epistemological and ethical commitments to which its inherent normative structure gives rise 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.
- Alan Gewirth - Communication - Epistemology - Ethics - Information - Internet - Universal rights - Umberto Eco - Attitudinal modes of information - Cultural relativism - Moral relativism - Global ethics