Ethical ways of designing, handling, and deploying ICT is a key issue in today’s global society. The complexities of infoethics are increasingly intertwined with people’s daily lives. Having guidelines that help with this is vital.
On 16/17 October, 2013, a global meeting was held in the Latvian capital, Riga, to address these challenging issues. Organised by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP), in cooperation with the Government of Latvia through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, and the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO, this international event brought together over 60 experts in ethics. The meeting was attended by the chair of IFIP WG9.2, at the request of IFIP’s President, Mr Leon Strous.
The ethical guidelines adopted at the meeting reflect a growing consensus. It is emerging from a number of regional and international forums on the ethical dimensions of the information society. The insights and lessons learned from a wide variety of national and transnational experiences and research activities was also fruitful.
Among the main messages of the guidelines are: enhancing equitable access, including multi-stakeholder processes, respecting freedom of expression and all human rights both online and off-line. They are very much linked to the international development goals.
According to Dr Andrejs Vasiljev, Chair of the IFAP Working Group on Information Ethics, “We must now use the momentum created in Riga to share guidelines [on infoethics] and launch related national and regional projects.”