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Knowledge Rights: Human Rights for the Information Age

Rights related to knowledge
by

Kay Mathiesen

on 30 January 2013

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Transcript of Knowledge Rights: Human Rights for the Information Age

Knowledge Rights: Human Rights for the
Information Age Kay Mathiesen
School of Information Resources and Library Science
University of Arizona
kmathies@email.arizona.edu Human Rights “Human rights are institutional protections against standard threats to urgent interests. A ‘standard threat’ is a threat which is reasonably predictable under the circumstances in which the right is intended to operate” (Beitz 2009) ( See also, Shue 1996 and Nickel 2006). Standard Threats Government censorship Lack of access to educational resources Theft of intellectual property Privacy--Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. Intellectual Freedom--Article 19. “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Education--Article 26.(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Public Access--Article 27.(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. Intellectual Property--Article 27 (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author. Access and Expression Intellectual Freedom Knowledge Provision free press right to associate open internet public education public libraries voter information Control Informational Privacy Intellctual Property Censorship health records internet surfing copyright cultural property hate speech defamation obscenity public domain Facets of Access Navigable Production Quality Provision Literacy Are Knowledge Rights Basic Rights? What are Basic Rights? Rights whose “enjoyment is essential to the enjoyment of all other rights” (Shue, p. 19). Shue's basic rights
Subsistence
Security Access to knowledge is essential to the enjoyment of all other rights, because such access is a necessary precondition for ensuring a person’s ability to exercise all of her rights. Access to knowledge is necessary in order… To know what rights we have.
E.g., Miranda rights To know know whether the rights are being respected.
E.g., Abu Ghraib photos To know how to press for fulfillment of rights.
E.g., contact information for officials To have the capacity to exercise other rights.
E.g., basic education, voting information Some rights to control knowledge flow, e.g., privacy and intellectual property, are essential to access Privacy protects access by freeing individuals to seek out and share sensitive information. Intellectual property protects access by providing incentives for the creation of knowledge. So, to sum up what we have said so far...

Not only are a number of human rights knowledge rights. Knowledge rights are basic rights. That is, we cannot enjoy our other human rights if knowledge rights are not protected. Thus, knowledge rights should be high priority rights. What was that stuff about the "Information Age"? Knowledge activities are enabled only or primarily via ICT Knowledge is more easily shared and accessed via ICT More of our lives require knowledge activities that are only available to those with ICT Conclusion
Not only are a number of human rights knowledge rights. Knowledge rights are basic rights. That is, we cannot enjoy our other human rights if knowledge rights are not protected. Thus, knowledge rights should be high priority rights. In the information age, both the activities protected by knowledge rights and other rights are increasingly on possible with access to ICT (e.g., the internet). Therefore, we also have human rights to access to globally and locally relevant ICT. e.g., huridocs (A Non-Standard Threat) Rights 'Rights are entitlements (not) to perform certain actions or be in certain states, or entitlements that others (not) perform certain actions or be in certain states" (Wenar 2007). "A has a claim that B φ if and only if B has a duty to A to φ." "When we call anything a person's right, we mean that he has a valid claim on society to protect him in the possession of it, either by the force of law, or by that of education and opinion… To have a right, then, is, I conceive, to have something which society ought to defend me in the possession of (Mill 1861, 54).
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