Konzepte der Informationsethik

Conceptions of Information Ethics
28. 3.-2.4.2001
Tagungshaus St. Ulrich (Augsburg, Germany)
The following abstracts/full texts include also contributions from ICIE members that will not be face-to-face present during the workshop.These virtual contributions are marked with an * 

Thomas Hausmanninger: Attack of the Cyber-Controllers: Which Sort of Ethics Do We Need on the Net? 
Rafael Capurro: Operari sequitur esse. Ontological Foundations of Informations Ethics 
Huub Evers: Online journalism raises new ethical questions 
Mike Sandbothe: Medienethische Aspekte der neuen Ökonomie 
Matthias Kettner: Globale Informationsethik und Frankfurter Diskurstheorie 

*T.V. Gopal: Impressing Software Engineers on the Vitality of Ethics 
*Jesica Heesen: Kommunikationsfreiheit - aber welche? 
*Karsten Weber: IT Security, Civil Rights, and Open Source   


Attack of the Cyber-Controllers: Which Sort of Ethics Do We Need on the Net? 

The paper concerns itself not with the total realm of information ethics but concentrates on the communicative aspects of the internet. Using an older term, we could say, it focuses on computer mediated communications (CMC), now possible over the net and accompanied by the net´s commercialisation. 

Of Bodies and Bytes: Taking a look at the euphorical SciFi-approach of some cyberspace-philosophers, who acclaim internet-communication as something immaterial done by New Immaterial Beings, the paper first tries to ground these new communicative processes. Already the early experiences of the interactions via Bulletin Board Systems showed, that virtual acts and modes of behaviour have consequences for the Real-Live of those interacting. Furthermore the Real-Live conditions of people constitute a specific materialistic base for their chances to use internet-communication and for their actions in the seemingly virtual realm. 

Rating the Net: The 'embeddedness' of the net in the Real World and the impact of virtual communications on Real-Live - on the other hand - are quite exeedingly thematised by the traditional media and often feared by those who don´t have much experience as users. In this climate and furthered by certain pressure-groups regulations start to loom over the net. To avoid being hit by the blunt instruments of iuridical and institutional regulation on the nation-state-level, self-regulation by means of rating and filtering is largely promoted lately by the industry and politicians alike. That approach and it´s software-instruments more or less tend to suspend ethics and ethical discourses in favour of pragmatical solutions - missing out, that rating and filtering includes normative decisions - or at least normative selectivity - and therefore moral implications. The need to secure the effectiveness of self-rating and to control unrated content furthermore leads to the creation of a system of international institutionalized cooperation, that threatens to primarily strengthen the most restrictive and reactionary groups among users and lay content-governance into their hands. 

Approaching Ethics: The need for ethical reflections and ethical discourses therefore cannot be suspended by the pragmatical politics of rating and filtering. Understandable demands for means of filtering on behalf of the protection of children and young people therefore have to be embedded in these discourses. The same applies to demands of political regulation on behalf of guarding democratic states against anti-democratic agitations (a topic strangely remote to most current rating and filtering solutions). To be able to move towards ethical concepts for the net, the actual uses and user-realms of the net have to be considered. In contrast to the eulogies of the net having created something like Global Communications Unhindered, cyberspace knows it´s own borders and specific routes of communication-streams - which form a sort of new virtual territories, transnational but not global. Regarding that reality of net-communications, it may be possible to view internet-ethics as a bundle of various reflective - and scientifically substantiated - morals, that are primarily valid for those subscribing to them on behalf of their Real-World cultural settings - but that may perhaps begin to approach each other thanks to their simultaneous presence in the potential realm of transnational accessability. 


Operari sequitur esse. Ontological Foundations of Informations Ethics 

Information ethics is confronted with the challenge of thinking about the conditions of possibility of living projected by the digital casting of being. As the scholastic said: modus operandi sequitur modum essendi. Action follows being. We live in the information age. But what is information? It is one of the most controversial concepts of the 20th century. This paper summarizes this controversy between culturalists and naturalists.  One solution to this dilemma are the paths of thinking opened up by the physicist Carl-Friedrich von Weizsäcker who connects the concept of information with such traditional concepts as idea, eidos and morphé as coined by Plato and Aristotle. Another path is the one suggested by the Oxford philosopher Luciano Floridi in his paper: "Information Ethics: On the philosophical Foundations of Computer Ethics". I will argue that Floridi's ontology remains ontic, i.e. that it does not open the question of being underlying today's digital casting. In other words, it does not state the question of this casting as a casting of being. What follows from this? I will argue that in order to demythologize today's digital casting it is necessary to find a path for thinking and action that may make us aware of the relativity of today's digital ontology. Heidegger's question of being needs to be retrieved. Today's digital ethos seems to be at the opposite of existential phenomenology. 

More in  
Paragraph III of  http://www.capurro.de/EEI21.htm (in English) 
as well as in: http://www.capurro.de/digont.htm (in German) 


Online journalism raises new ethical questions  

Online journalism, does it raise new moral problems? Or is it just a matter of old wine in new bottles? And how does journalism react on the new issues, if any, of online journalism? Is it meaningful and desirable to develop self regulation instruments, e.g. ethical guidelines, for this new kind of journalism on the Internet? 

In the online version of the newspapers, only to a certain degree new dilemmas come up for discussion, since the reputation of credibility and carefulness of the papers, in spite of all criticism, does apply to the online version as well. Besides, there is the so called dotcom journalism, the e-zines, the online news sites without any relationship with printed newspapers. That might be the reason why these sites don't have any commitment to the moral standards, mainly created in the journalistic culture of the newspapers. 

On the Internet, the flow of information is unstoppable, without regard to the quality of truthfulness. Speed is allied to a lack of carefulness. The news is being published immediately, added and corrected afterwards. The one who has important news first on his site, is sure of the attention of all. Speed and scoops are getting more and more important in the Internet context, especially because of commercial interests. News sites don't have any paid subscription, but are dependent on earnings from ads. This could easily be at the expense of carefulness and credibility.  
The outstanding moral issue in online journalism is the conflict of interests, the removal of the separation between editorial and commercial aspects.  
How far is a journalist allowed to go in cyberspace? Is he permitted to hang around unobserved in chat rooms? That means the online variant of undercover journalism. 
What about the risk of professional standards getting into hot water, when people outside professional journalism are reporting important events in news groups? 

The interactivity of online journalism offers opportunities to a more open and direct communication between journalists and their public. Through e-mail, the public can easier gain access to the editorial staff members, so that errors and omissions can be earlier and easier corrected and added and that reports can be commented by readers. The public can play the role of watchdog and make an appeal to the social responsibility of the medium. On the other hand, interactivity offers journalists an excellent opportunity to give explanation and to be accountable. 


Medienethische Aspekte der neuen Ökonomie 

Das System der Medien organisiert sich gegenwärtig auf internationaler Ebene neu. Im Zentrum dieses medialen Selbstorganisationsprozesses steht die Ökonomisierung der digitalen Medienwelt. Dabei handelt es sich um ein risikoreiches, weil in gewisser Weise paradoxes Geschehen. Denn das Leitmedium der digitalen Medienwelt – das Internet - hat sich in den siebziger und achtziger Jahren aufgrund seiner offenen und antihierachischen Netzwerkstruktur als ein dezidiert nichtkommerziell organisierter Kulturraum entwickelt. Die neue Ökonomie des E-Commerce zielt, indem sie die Kommerzialisierung dieses Kulturraums betreibt, auf eine Vermarktung des Sich-der-Vermarktung-bisher-Entziehenden. Daraus ergibt sich sowohl die milliardenschwere Faszination als auch das mit dieser verbundene hohe Risikopotential des E-Commerce.  

Die strukturelle Unberechenbarkeit, welche die neue Ökonomie auf der Objektebene durch die Berechenbarmachung des Unberechenbaren auszutreiben versucht, kehrt auf der Metaebene wieder. Und zwar in Gestalt der internen Unberechenbarkeit, die den Prozeß der Ökonomisierung des Cyberspace selbst charakterisiert. Die zentrale Herausforderung für den sich gegenwärtig vollziehenden Kommerzialisierungsprozeß besteht in der Ausbildung eines Medienmanagements, das die beschriebene Paradoxie in sich aufheben und damit auf systemerhaltende Weise meistern kann.  

Der Vortrag gliedert sich in drei Teile. Der erste Teil befaßt sich mit der Frage, wie ein solches Medienmanagement aussehen könnte. Dabei wird sich zeigen, daß die sozialen und politischen Kosten, die sich mit der Etablierung dieses Managements verbinden, in eine langfristig kalkulierende Bilanz einzubeziehen sind. Vor diesem Hintergrund problematisieren der zweite und dritte Teil des Vortrags den aktuellen Kommerzialisierungsprozeß auf jeweils unterschiedliche Art und Weise. Der zweite Teil geht der Möglichkeit nach, daß durch die digitalen Medienwelten ein Horizont jenseits des Ökonomischen eröffnet wird, der den Kapitalismus ein Stück weit transzendiert, indem er das moderne Meta-Medium des Geldes nicht länger als letzte Referenz anerkennt. Dieser Transzendierungsperspektive stellt der dritte Teil eine vermittelnde Option gegenüber. In ihrem Zentrum steht die Entwicklung eines dezidiert demokratischen Kapitalismuskonzepts, das die bisherigen Formen des E-Commerce durch intelligentere, den digitalen Medienwelten angemessenere Kommerzialisierungkonzepte zu ersetzen vorschlägt. 


Globale Informationsethik und Frankfurter Diskurstheorie 

Ich werde eine diskurstheoretische Bestimmung der Praxis geltungbeanspruchenden Argumentierens zugrundelegen - Argumentieren ist das Bewerten von Gründen mit Gründen -, und versuchen einzuschätzen, welche Charakteristika von Web-Kommunikation sich welche Art von Geltungsanspruch bzw. Diskurstypus förderlich oder hinderlich ist. Es geht also um Zusammenhänge zwischen webbasierter Kommunikationspraxis und Standards diskursiver Rationalität.  

Zum Begriff diskursiver Rationalität sind von meinen eigenen Texten zwei empfehlenswert: 

- "Gute Gründe", in: K.-O. Apel & M. Kettner (Hg.): Die eine Vernunft und die vielen Rationalitäten. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp 1996.  

- "Second Thoughts abouth Argumentative Discourse, Good Reasons, and Communicative Rationality" In: Solveig Boe, Bengt Molander, Brit Strandhagen (Hg.): i foerste, andre og tredje person. Festskrift til Audun Oefsti. Trondheim (NTNU Filosofisk institutt) 1999 (S.223-234). 

Assistant Professor, School of Computer Science and Engineering 
Anna University, Chennai - 600 025, India 
Impressing Software Engineers on the Vitality of Ethics 

Extended Abstract 

Computer  Science  and  Information  Technology  are  rapidly changing  fields with a wide range of subjects that needs  to be  studied. A typical curriculum at any level  struggles  to   fit  in  the  entire spectrum of topics  either  as  core  or elective subjects. A full course on "Ethics  (Values/Morals)" is  difficult to fit into a curriculum. Efforts are  underway in   the  country  to  introduce  one  such  course  in   the  Engineering  curriculum by order. Such a course if  and  when  introduced is most likely to be very early (I semester) where the notions discussed would be very generic. 

Earlier,  the presumption has been that the  "Ethics  relatedtopics" are fully taught at the pre-university level. Now,  a compulsory  course at the University level provides some  reinforcement  but  does  not ensure  the  application  to  the profession. 

Thus, the software engineers need to be constantly made awareof  the vital aspects such as ethics in a informal way  right through  the engineering education at any level.  The  author reaches this conclusion due to two important observations : 
a) Ethics cannot be practised simply by reading the textbooks 
b) Good  behaviour/manners  does  not  imply  good   ethical standards 

The  basis  for  the  work of  the  author  is  the  Software Engineer's Code of ethics jointly framed by the IEEE Computer Society and the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). 

The aspects enshrined in this document demand that a  variety of oppurtunities that need to be provided to the students  to strengthen 
* moral responsibility 
* capacity of discipline 
* a keen sense of goals, values and processes of a free society 
* personal quality  
* participation in teams 
* communicating skills 

Approaches  such as the Personal and Team Software  Processes are  quite rigorous. Thus, Software Engineering ethics  is a continuous  process  (not a one off course)  that  forms  the undercurrent  in  a Computer  Science/Information  Technology curriculum. 

This paper discusses one such process. 
1. Introduction 

Computers  are  influencing every facet of  human  endeavour.They  have  become an indispensible tool and  are  playing  a pivotal  role  in  improving  the  quality  of  life  of   an individual.  Software engineers are responsible for  creating computer based applications that effect the society at large. The  applications range from office productivity packages to interconnected  appliances at home. It is the  software  that is  vital  in  mission critical endeavours  such  as  nuclear reactors, satellite launch and monitoring. 

Software  engineers  contribute  to the  enormous  corpus  of computer  programs  developed across the globe  by  involving themselves  in   teaching, analysis,  specification,  design, development,   certification,  maintenance  and  testing   of software  systems. Hence software engineers have  significant opportunities  to do good or cause harm, to enable others  to do  good or cause harm, or to influence others to do good  or cause harm.  

To  ensure, as much as possible, that their efforts  will  be used for good, software engineers are expected to adhere to a Code  of  Ethics and Professional practice. 

The Code of Ethics developed jointly by the IEEE and ACM  has eight  principles  related to the behavior of  and  decisions  made   by   professional   software   engineers,    including practitioners,  educators, managers, supervisors  and  policy makers,  as well as trainees and students of the  profession.  

The  individual  parts of the Code are never to  be  used  in isolation  to justify errors of omission or commission.  Each principle  has  a  set  of  clauses  that  are  by  no  means exhaustive. The code is not an algorithm and it requires  the application of human acumen and keen sense of judgement.  The code  of ethics is not merely a basis for judgement. It is  a way  of life for every software engineering professional  and teams of such professionals. 

1.1. Principles of the Code of Ethics 

Principle 1 PUBLIC  
Software  engineers  shall act consistently with  the  public interest.  

Software engineers shall act in a manner that is in the  best interests of their client and employer and that is consistent  with  the public interest.  

Principle  3  PRODUCT  
Software  engineers  shall  ensure that  their  products  and related modifications meet the highest professional standards possible.  

Principle  4  JUDGMENT  
Software engineers shall maintain integrity and  independence in  their  professional  judgment.  

Principle  5  MANAGEMENT  
Software engineering managers and leaders shall subscribe  to and promote an ethical approach to the management of software development  and maintenance .  

Principle  6 PROFESSION  
Software engineers shall advance the integrity and reputation of  the  profession consistent with the public  interest. 

Principle  7 COLLEAGUES  
Software  engineers shall be fair to and supportive of  their colleagues.  

Principle  8  SELF  
Software  engineers  shall participate in  lifelong  learning regarding  the  practice of their profession and  promote  an ethical  approach  to  the practice  of  the  profession.  

Firmly  entrenched  in  the  clauses  corresponding  to  each principle  are the notions of  responsibility,  co-operation,  pronounced  ability  to make correct  judgements,  clear  and precise  communication capability, great degree  of  personal quality, uprightness and self-restraint. All these facets  of the  software  engineer have to come into  focus  under  high pressure  situations  that  are the norm in  teh  modern  day software development environments. 

The  dynamic  and demanding context of  software  engineering does lead to piquant situations and ethical tensions  inspite of this code of ethics. In all such situations the  judgement must  be  in  favour of enhancing the  'public  interest'  or minimal  damage to the society effected. Moreover,  the  code has to be adaptable to cater to new situations and challenges faced by the profession of software engineering. 

Hence,  the author opines that Ethics and Morals cannot be  a single  course  at  the beginning  of  the  Undergraduate  or Postgraduate  programme. The imparting of the Code of  Ethics must  be a continuing process that forms the undercurrent  of  every  software engineering programme. it is vital but is  an undercurrent  in  the  programme. The  students  tend  to  be enamoured by exciting course titles and contents that can  be  readily  related to the current trends. The onus is  thus  on the  teachers of Software Engineering programmes  to  impress the students on the vitality of the code of ethics and  moral practices.  This  paper sketches a process  to  achieve  this desirable goal. 

2. The perceived industry environment 

A  strong  opinion  amongst  students  and  society  is  that business is powered by inherently non-moral motivation.  This is  proving  to  be a major  hurdle  in  inculcating  ethical approaches in the students of software engineering.  

It is true that most business decisions are driven by a clear profit   motive.  The  relationship  between   self-interest, ethical  considerations  and  the profit  motive  is  grossly misunderstood by the students.  

2.1 Self-Interest 

Self-interest  is the 'concern for one's own  personal  good' and  is often used as a synonym for 'welfare',  'well-being', 'flourishing', 'utility' and 'advantage'. This notion  should not  be contrived to make people necessarily do only what  is most advantageous to them. Students must learn to foster  the  development  of  some  dispositions to  make  sacrifices  for certain  others. Clear economic rewards appeal to  the  self-interest  and can elicit hard work, innovation  amd  personal risk. This is not 'selfishness' wherein one is concerned only about  self  even  at the cost  of  serious  consequences  to others. 

Self-interest  is  perforce not immoral. An  appreciation  of this  helps students create a passion for the work  assigned. If  it is complemented by right measure of compassion by  the superiors one gets committed to the organisation. Self-interest  is bound by the rules and regulations  of  the business context. Prohibitions on lying, stealing,  injuring, promise-breaking are important in any business context.  

The  author deems it important to impress the  students  that businesses admit that there are limits to the amount of self-sacrifice that can be demanded.  

2.2 Business Ethics 

A   businessmanis   often  projected  as  one  who   has   no alternative,  largely due to the intense competition,  to  do anything  other  than  buy at the cheapest and  sell  at  the dearest  price he can. This is not an  irrational  projection and  appeals  to  the common  sense.  Well,  the  businessman operates  within  the framework of the law. As long  as  this framework  is kept intact the businessman can focus  only  on maximising the profits without being constrained by moral  or social  considerations or any other sense of  responsibility. This  is a false notion of 'economic determinism'.  The  iron laws  governing  the businessess are themselves not  made  of iron and leave a wide range of alternative courses of  action at every step of the business. 

Thus,   the  standards  enforced  by  the  law  need  to   be supplemented by the moral standards of the businessmen. Yes,  it cannot be denied that businessmen are shy  of  moral  arguments.   This  is  partly  because  morals   are   unduly simplistic  and  appear to be remote from the  pragmatics  of business  decision  making  process. Moreover,  once  gien  a  foothold  the  moral and ethical considerations  can  end  up being very demanding and perceptibly counterproductive to the business.  

Thus  businessmen  often  take  recourse  to   'discretionary powers'  to  cater  to  the  moral  and  ethical  aspects  of 'decision-making'.  Typically,  the  higher the  rank  in  an organisation  the  wider is the range of  the  'discretionary powers'.  The process of exercising these powers is  often  a keen tussle between unenlightened self-interest stemming from scepticism to do anything otherwise and a sense of furthering the  interst of atleast a majority of the business  partners.  

The  usage  of  'discretinary  powers'  happens  amidst  the conflicting  obligations  to six sorts of  'stakeholders'  or business partners.  The six sorts of 'stakeholders' are 
- financiers 
- employees 
- suppliers 
- customers 
- the environment 
- the society as a whole including the industry or trade and fairplay to the competitors 

It is interesting to observe that this approach can easily be mapped onto to an individual and the team. The complexity  of decision making is understandably not to a high degree. 

How much of the 'business ethics' can be taught formally to a student  is  a  moot  point.  Can  an  academic  insititution consider imparting 'business ethics' as a dignified  activity is another pertinent issue. Even if the academic isntitutions attempt  to teach 'business ethics' teh methodology is often far  flung from the reality in a business house. No  academic institution  can  compile  a  collection,  say  1000,  solved problems of life.  

An  exposure to 'business ethics' is thus not merely a  drill in  developing  cognitive  skills for  analysing  design  and decision alternatives. However, these are the skills that are taught, tested and graded in a typical academic  environment.It can neither be a set of discouses or moral sermons forming a  course  of certain duration. The author  thus  suggests a process  that has several aspects that cannot be  tested  and graded  to impress the software engineers on the vitality  of ethics.  The  first  step is to dispel the  myths  about  the industry environment. 

The  process brings into focus the humanity  perspectives  of the  businesses,  leadership and  character  perspectives  of individuals  running these businesses. The process is put  on rails by close mentoring that inculcates passion, compassion, and commitment for ethics and moral aspects. 

3. The Process 

As  mentioned  in  the  previous  section,  the  process of impressing  the  students about the vitality  of  ethics  has several aspects that are not tested and graded. This  process centers around three major issues : 
1. the  development of a vision for one's life  
2. the development of one's character, dealing with  concerns of direction and quality of life.  
3. the development of competence that deals with concerns  of how  well one is able to do something.  

Character,  good  or  bad,  is  observable. Any  effort at impacting  the  character of the student has to address the following major questions. 
1. what is good character;  
2. what causes or prevents it;  
3. how can it be measured so that efforts at improvement  can have corrective feedback;and  
4. how can it best be developed?  

Traditionally  has good character was to inculcate traits  or values  appropriate for the industrial age such as  obedience to authority, work ethic, working in group under supervision, etc.  However,  the information age demands  traits  such  as truthfulness, honesty, integrity, individual  responsibility, humility, wisdom, justice, steadfastness, dependability, etc.  

Character development is influenced by 
1. heredity  
2. early childhood experience  
3. modeling by important adults and older youth  
4. peer influence  
5. the general physical and social environment  
6. the communications media  
7. what is taught in the schools and other institutions  
8. specific  situations and roles that  elicit  corresponding  

The  list is from the 'least tractable aspects' to the  'most tractable  aspects'. The author deems it wise to involve  the parents in certain cases. 

The  appropriate  metrics for 'character' are proving  to  be elusive.   The  author  believes  that  wihtout   appropriate metrics,  the quality of the process being suggested  has  no real  significance. At the moment, some of the metrics  being used are : 
1. Commitment Metrics 
+ Preparedness for listening to the lecture by finding out 
         answers to the questions given in the previous lecture 
+ Ability to find new and relevant information 

2. Character Metrics 
+ Sharing the information found with the fellow students(who are also competitors for grades) 
+ Independent work during tests and assignments 
The  process  is  still  evolving.  These  aspects  are   not included in the final grading. 

We need to define character development in terms of the three components  of  mind: (cognition, affect, conation)  and  the component  of  behavior.  This  behavior  has  two   aspects: personal issues such as being courageous and self-disciplined and social issues such as being compassionate, courteous, and trustworthy.  

We  cannot  teach our students all  the  specific  knowledge, values, or behaviors that will lead to success in all aspects of  their  lives.  We must therefore  acknowledge  that  some values  are relative and teach students to develop their  own views accordingly. At the same time, we must acknowledge that there  are  some  absolutes  with  respect  to  morality  and character.  Any framework for impacting moral  and  character development   is  arbitrary  unless  it  is  based  on   some philosophical foundation. In a secular country like India, it is not easy to enforce a set of ethics based on religion. Thus, the ethics under scrutiny are largely 'work ethics' and not 'personal ehtics'. 

The framework impacting the ethics warrants  
1. the  exercising  of authority in a  firm,  sensitive,  and imaginative manner 
2. dedicated faculty  
3. structuring so that pupils are surrounded by a variety  of opportunities  for  them to practice  helping  (prosocial) conduct;  
4. a  management that provides pupils--both individually  and collectively--with  many  forms of  recognition  for  good conduct;  
5. orientation   towards  maintaining  systems  of   symbols, slogans,  ceremonies,  and  songs  that  heighten  pupils' collective identities;  
6. clear,  widely  disseminated  discipline  codes  that  ar  vigorously enforced and backed up with vital consequences;  
7. committment   to  academic  instruction  and   appropriate academic rigor;  
8. sensitivity  to  the  need  to  develop  collective  pupil loyalties  to particular classes, clubs, athletic  groups, and other subentities   
9. sympathetic  view  to  the values of  the  external  adult society,  and  perceive  it  as  largely  supportive   and  concerned with the problems of the students  
10.openness  to enlisting the help, counsel, and  support  of  parents and other external adults, but willing to  propose important constructive changes in the face of  (sometimes) ill-informed parent resistance  
In  addition,  the  author exposes the  students  to  various facets  of  'Emotional Intelligence' very subtly  during  the regular lecture sessions. 

4. Conclusion 

The  results are encouraging and effort is on to  extend  the observations  to  beyond  the  precincts  of  the  classroom. Spotting the students of the course or under my advice in the  library,  canteen, computer center and at random  places  and making  observations  is  proving  to  be  effective.  Formal sessions  on 'Emotional Intelligence' are being  contemplated to  train  the  students to tide over  the  ethical  dilemmas mentioned in Section 2. 

It is taking about 14 months to see any significant results even when the group has only 15 students at the Masters degree level. The author has begun work on a group of 30 students at the Under-Graduate level. The author expects that it would take about 24 months in the normal course to see any significant results. 

To catalyse this process courses in Personal Quality and Ability enhancement such as the Personal Software Process are on the anvil. 

5. References 

1. Alfie Kohn,    'How    not    to    Teach     Values' 
2. Christopher  Cowton  and  Roger  Crisp  (Eds),   'BusinessEthics', Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998. 
3. Huitt  W,    'Moral    and    Character    Development',  
4. John  I Godlad, Roger Soder and Kenneth A Sirotnik  (Eds), 'The   Moral   Dimensions   of   Teaching',    Jossey-Bass  Publishers, Oxford, 1990. 
5. Watts S  Humphrey,  'Managing  the  Software   Process',  Addison-Wesley, 1999. 
6. Watts S  Humphrey, 'Team Software  Process  and  Personal  Software Process', Addison-Wesley, 2000. 

Interfaktultäres Zentrum für Ethik in den Wissenschaften 
Keplerstr. 17,  72074 Tübingen 

Kommunikationsfreiheit - aber welche?  

Die Informationsethik ist ein Forschungszweig mit emanzipatorischem Anspruch. Normative Grundlage ihrer Praxis ist das Grundrecht auf freie Meinungsäußerung und freie Informationsbeschaffung. Die Interpretation und Umsetzung dieser Grundrechte ist geleitet durch eine allgemeine Idee von Freiheit, die gemäß der unterschiedlichen Weltanschauungen variiert und auch in verschiedenen Medientechniken und ihren Nutzungsweisen zum Ausdruck kommt. Der Rundfunk einerseits und das Internet andererseits spiegeln ideologische Brüche im Kontext des Freiheitsverständnisses besonders deutlich wider. Der folgende Beitrag soll zeigen, welche Differenzen Rundfunk und Internet in Bezug auf den zugrundeliegenden Freiheitsbegriff und den daraus hervorgehenden Kommunikationszielen aufweisen. Es wird der These nachgegangen, dass die Informations- und Kommunikationstechnik einem Verständnis entspricht, das Freiheit als Unabhängigkeit von allen Beschränkungen, in normativer und materialer Perspektive, interpretiert, wogegen die Rundfunktechnik auf einen normgeprägten und kontextuell relativierten Autonomiebegriff zurückgeht. Desweiteren soll gezeigt werden, dass die ideelle Unabhängigkeit des Cyberspace auf der Opposition zu real existierenden Missständen beruht. Grundlage dieser Positionierung ist eine sozialromantische Vision der Erschaffung einer neuen Welt. „Virtuelle Gemeinschaften“ sind somit als Krisenindikatoren moderner, ausdifferenzierter Gesellschaften zu deuten. Diese Form von Gemeinschaftsideal basiert im Unterschied zu vergangenheitsorientierten Utopien gerade auf den Hervorbringungen der modernen westlichen Gesellschaften: den elektronischen Kommunikationsnetzwerken und einer dichotomischen Subjektkonzeption. 

European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Germany 

IT Security, Civil Rights, and Open Source  

During the debates about the US presidential election 2000 I saw a discussion on CNN, in which the spectators of this program had the opportunity to ask questions to some experts. One of those questions was about the possibility of voting via the Internet. Unfortunately, I was too late so I didn't hear the answer to this interesting question. Because of this I asked myself, which pro- and counterarguments for i-voting exist. At first glance, there are much more arguments pro i-voting than against, but looking farther, the problem runs deeper, since i-voting could affect some of our civil rights. 

Therefore, I would like to show that there's a strong relationship between IT security, civil rights, and Open Source. My hypothesis is that without using Open Source software in state institutions it wouldn't be possible to produce the highest level of IT security and therefore it wouldn't be possible to fulfill the idea of civil rights in the area of state institutions. I would like to show this with the example of software for i-voting: software that should make it possible to vote via the Internet. I will use this example, since the right to vote is a kind of paradigm of civil rights and this is true for all democratic nations states and institutions. 

One of the most important principles of western style democracy is the principle of "one man, one vote". Citizens of democratic states have the civil right to vote as a key part of their participation in policy making. It is an important task for state institutions to secure this right. Before I will discuss the relationship between IT security, civil rights, and Open Source, I would like to take a short look at the process and conditions of voting in the "traditional" way. It is a brief description of the voting procedure in Germany. To me, it seems to be a remarkable argument that some of the troubles of the presidential elections in the USA arise from the fact that no common procedure of voting exists across the whole United States. From the point of view of a German citizen or even from the position of a citizen of the EU this is hard to understand, since in Germany and in the EU nobody sees ones civil rights endangered by using a uniform voting procedure: 

One who wants to vote has to identify oneself. This is necessary to secure that everybody is able to vote only once a time during an election. 

The act of voting is done secretly; apart from the prior identification the procedure of voting have to be anonymous to secure that there's no opportunity to do reprisals against voters as reaction to their choices. 

And at least there're several controls to secure that there won't be any other opportunities to falsify the votes: one has to vote in a polling booth, the ballot-paper has to be done into an envelope, after this the envelope has to be done into a closed ballot-box. After the election is closed, the votes are counted; this counting is controlled several times. 

In addition, every citizen has the right to take a look at all documents necessary for the election; in principle, every step of the election procedure is open to public control. So we can see that an elaborated system of crosschecks exists to prevent the opportunity of falsifying an election. Now, in several countries, for example in Germany (see www.internetwahlen.de), projects are started to design and build the technology for i-voting via the Internet. In principle, it shouldn't be a problem to design the technology for the procedure of voting via the net; however we have to face the fact that such a technology may be too expensive for a nation wide application. But it is a conditio sine qua non that any i-voting technology has to maintain that the right to vote is general, equal, and secret for all voters. This means that all described controls have to take place in the process of i-voting, too. Therefore I claim with two major arguments that the only possibility to secure this demand this is to use Open Source software for i-voting. 

Support of civil rights: All described procedures are done or maintained by software if we will use i-voting. To control, whether everything is done right is only possible if the source code of the used software is open to everyone, which means open to public control. Without knowing the source code it is impossible to realize one's right to control actions of state institutions. It is obvious that without knowing the source code, for instance, it is impossible to control, whether there're no multiple votes of one person. Protocols of the voting are not enough, since nobody could control, whether there're produced right or wrong. As well, it is impossible to secure the demand that the voting procedure has to be secret and anonymous. We know from the history of the last months and years that several companies in the IT business tried to collect personal data of users of their products without any agreement or knowledge of those users. In May, June, and October 2000 the US Senate performed some hearings about the issues of "Internet Privacy", "Online Profiling and Privacy", and "Consumer Internet Privacy" (the testimonies of the witnesses can be seen at the www.senate.gov/~commerce/issues/consumer.htm#Hearings; besides, in Germany, it is forbidden by law to collect data in such a way as, for instance, Simson Garfinkel described it in his testimony before the US Senate and in his book "Database Nation" (2000)). Obviously, the actions of state institutions and IT business companies are not the same. But without the option to control even state institutions the possibility and opportunity to falsify an election is given. 

Support of IT security: The example of the hack of Microsoft's company network shows us that 100% security is not in reach. Each system of rules and each system of technological artifacts can be misused or it can work in a wrong and faulty way. Therefore, rules can be revised and technology can be improved. One way to enhance technology is to use it and to wait until an error occurs. But this is too dangerous in mission-critical applications; surely, i-voting is such an application. So, it would be much better to test software in simulations and to check it by a large number of users and experts. The Open Source community just does this. The large number of users seems to be able to guarantee that errors are found very quickly; security problems are detected rapidly as well. So from the point of view of IT security the best way to secure i-voting from errors or falsifying is to use Open Source software. Since it is free, every group, party, or NGO could use such software for own voting procedures: this wouldn't be as mission-critical as, say, an election of the United States president or something like that and would be a good field for testing such software. 

Lawrence Lessig (1999) stated that "Code is law". In democratic nation states, law is for the people and code that is law should be for the people, too. Only Open Source software could fulfill the promise of democracy through technology, but using even the best designed and evaluated software we shouldn't forget that technology cannot solve all or even a remarkable number of our social problems. For instance, outside the ballot-booth there's no certainty who really votes and there are too many opportunities to falsify the election. Because of this, in Germany constitutional doubts are expressed against i-voting and even against postal voting. So we have to think twice, whether it is reasonable to change the approved procedure of voting. With good arguments it could be denied that i-voting is a way to increase the polls. The small number of voters, for instance, in the presidential elections in the USA is surely not only a problem of voting procedures but among other things a problem of a diminishing identification of citizens with democracy. This is a problem in most of the democratic states all over the world. It's a social and political problem, not a technological one. I-voting seems to be the wrong tool and the wrong answer to this problem. 


Garfinkel, Simson (2000): Database Nation. Sebatopol et al.: O'Reilly. 
Lessig, Lawrence (1999): Code and other Laws of Cyberspace. New York: Basic Books. 

 Copyright © 2001 by Rafael Capurro