Conference looks at Web ethics issues

by Alex Shartsis | 8/7/98 5:00am

For the millions linked by the World Wide Web, navigating the Internet is more complicated than the point and click of a mouse.

Users are often confronted by a maze of legal and ethical issues, from copyright protection to SPAM mailings, unwanted electronic messages.

This weekend's conference, "The Tangled Web: Ethical Dilemmas of the Internet," will help users understand issues ranging from ethics and philosophy to privacy to copyright laws and legality in general.

"Power in our computerized world lies with those who collect, manipulate, and send information well," said Philosophy Professor James Moor, who specializes in the field of information-technology ethics and helped organize the conference.

"The challenge for the conference is to understand how evolving information technology, especially the World-Wide Web, is transforming our everyday lives, and to recommend policies so that the shifting power of information is used ethically and wisely," he said.

Moor said he will begin the conference tonight at 7 p.m. with a speech titled "Welcome to the Tangled Web."

The conference will continue through the weekend, and will feature speeches by Computer Science Professor David Kotz, Philosophy Professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Chemistry Professor Joseph BelBruno, Mathematics Professor Eluemuno Blyden and Music Professor Larry Polansky.

Stanford Law Professor Carey Heckman '76, and professors from around the globe will also make presentations.

In addition, Detective James McLaughlin of the Keene Police Department plans to speak about "Catching Criminals on the Web."

McLaughlin led an investigation of a male member of The Tabard co-ed fraternity in May 1997. McLaughlin, posing as a 14-year-old boy, recorded a conversation he had with the College student in an Internet chat room called "boylove&chat."

McLaughlin obtained a warrant to search the student's room in The Tabard and seized his computer.

The entire conference will take place in 3 Rockefeller Hall, beginning tonight at 7. It will resume Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. and again at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday.

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