Revisiting Mason: The Last 18 Years and Onward

Revisiting Mason: The Last 18 Years and Onward

Lee A. Freeman (University of Michigan - Dearborn, USA) and A. Graham Peace (West Virginia University, USA)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-491-0.ch001
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Richard Mason’s seminal paper describing the four ethical issues of the information age has guided the field of Information Ethics for almost 20 years. However, much has changed with regard to information technology since 1986, and perhaps Mason’s four ethical issues — Privacy, Accuracy, Property, and Accessibility — have become dated. To set the stage for the following chapters, and to provide the reader with some context, this chapter takes a retrospective look at Mason’s issues and discusses how they remain salient in today’s information-rich and technology-driven society. Additional issues that have emerged since Mason’s publication are also discussed, with a discussion of “justified” hacking as a focused and critical analysis of Mason’s four issues. While no firm conclusions are reached regarding the ethics of specific actions, the chapter reinforces the continued use of the four ethical issues in future research, and it prepares the reader for the more detailed discussions that follow in the remaining chapters.

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