Information is Power
Filters on the Internet are becoming a large part of society as more and more websites are created with content inappropriate for certain users. It will be a heated debate what should and should not be filtered out, but a few ethical perspectives could help us arrive at a possible solution.
Kant’s Categorical Imperative tells us that there should be a standard set that everyone follows (Christians, Fackler, Richardson, Kreshel, Woods, 2012). It is important for people to be able to get the information they deserve to know, but should be allowed to find all the information needed when doing research projects as in the case in Washington (Schwartz, para. 2).
However, using the Categorical Imperative, it is also important to be socially responsible, so if a site is inappropriate for certain viewers, it might be best to not let anyone view it, especially in a public place like a library, so as not to risk having someone accidentally see the site, even if they aren’t the one using the computer.
The same logic follows with Rawls’ Veil of Ignorance. Behind the veil, it is important that we protect everyone so it might be best to block the sites for everyone to protect the younger generation.
As stated on the blog “The Ethics Of…”, information is power (The Ethics Of… Privacy, para. 32). And that power can be used for good or bad, so behind the veil, it would be best to restrict people from getting the information, so that it isn’t used for evil purposes.
Christians, C. G., Fackler, M., Richardson, K. B., Kreshel, P. J., & Woods, R. H., Jr. (2012). Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning. New York: Allyn & Bacon.
Schwartz, M. (2012, April 12). Washington Library Allowed to Filter, Court Holds. Retrieved April 21, 2016, from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/04/industry-news/washington-library-allowed-to-filter-court-holds/#_ .
The Ethics Of… Privacy. (2014, August 07). Retrieved April 21, 2016, from https://theethicsof.com/2014/08/07/the-ethics-of-privacy/