It is Friday the thirteenth of 2006, what better day to consider the topic of Information, its trade-offs and therefore ethics. I have previously discussed the Seven Dimensions of Information that drive all IT development. But of course stopping at seven was simply cropping – the nature of information is that it has truly many/multiple dimensions well past the 7 ranked ones I chose to emphasize in the article. And of course that is one of the ethical as well as pragmatic trade-offs in processing information – which gets us finally back to our original theme.
Because in prcessing and presenting information we do a lot of implicit as well as explicit editing, cropping, ranking, and other shaping of information (think Wormtongue in Tolkiens Lord of the Rings for a popular enactment). This means there is a critical dimension of information which is implied in the Accuracy and Ranked dimensions but not explicitly mentioned or addressed. Call this property the Veracity or Moral Completeness (see by way of Google:WMD intelligence, for all sorts of variations on this theme). Inevitably in gathering and presenting information there are trade-offs being made. What the following article does is start to address the question of ethics surrounding those ho-hum, everyday trade-offs in the operations of our IT systems. For starters into a labyrinthine world – it is a good read.