In an age when information flows like a million Mississippis, we need to have an ethics about information.
In an age when access to information is as open as a billion galaxies, each individual is responsible for handling information ethically.
In an age when we are all information creators, contributors and consumers, we share a responsibility to each other not to mishandle information.
The information ethic begins with each person who both understands the power of information and the scourge of misinformation.
This is a role not solely for journalists, but journalists as the paid purveyors of information must not slip in adherence to high ethical standard (the ethical burden on journalists has never been greater); this is not a role not solely for bloggers, but bloggers as the vanguard of a new information river, must take on the burden of protecting and cherishing information; mostly, this is a role for all participants in the conversation, both the creators and the followers.
Not all participants will rise to the occasion, increasing the burden on those of use who recognize the responsibility.
The information ethic requires that we strive always for honesty, transparency, accuracy and fairness.
We must teach ethics as well as we practice ethics.
This is the ideal. Not all participants will recognize nor care for even a shadow of the ideal, but those of us who do must hold ourselves to the highest standards of information ethics.
This is no code of conduct we sign, no pledge we take, no oath we swear, no authority we obey. It is just something we do within ourselves.
And if we do, society will be better for it.