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ERIC Number: ED084535
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1973-Nov-2
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Public Information in Modern Society: Secrecy and Privacy.
Day, T. B.
There is a need for ethical guidance in the communications professions sharpened by the advancement of knowledge and technological capability. For communication to be all-encompassing in space as well as instantaneous in time is a mixed blessing reaffirming the need for balance between "secrecy" in arriving at decisions and the public's need and right to know about judgments which affect them. We need to be reminded that judgment is a reversible act, taking human time, while transmitting that judgement with modern technology is an irreversible act, taking essentially no machine time. Under the excuse of the public's right to know, the very act of communicating (if the communications are premature) may be substituting for human judgment, by being irreversible. "Privacy" or the confidentiality of professional information can move from a claim of individual accountability to one which affects others. This fuzziness where private individual confidences impinge on the public weal can be extended to such matters as copyright privilege of authors. Ethics and the communication arts are inseparable. The problem of individual need versus common good is always with the communications professions, and the only universal ethic that history shows is applicable to all situations is moderation. (HOD)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Keynote address presented at the Institute on Technical Communication of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (Univ. of Maryland, Nov. 2-3, 1973)