The spread of new information and communications technologies during the past two decades has helped reshape civic associations, political communities, and global relations. In the midst of the information revolution, we find that the speed of this technology-driven change has outpaced our understanding of its social and ethical effects. The moral dimensions of this new technology and its effects on social bonds need to be questioned and scrutinized: Should the Internet be understood as a new form of public space and a source of public good? What are we to make of hackers? Does the Internet strengthen or weaken community? In The Internet in Public Life, essayists confront these and other important questions. This timely and necessary volume makes clear the need for a broader conversation about the effects of the Internet, and the questions raised by these seven essays highlight some of the most pressing issues at hand.
Verna V. Gehring is editor at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland, and editor of Philosophy & Public Policy Quarterly.
Part 1 I The Information Superhighway: Toward a Morality of Information? Chapter 2 Shaping the Web: Why the Politics of Search Engines Matter Chapter 3 Reliance and Reliability: The Problem of Information on the Internet Chapter 4 Do Hackers Provide a Public Service? Part 5 II Social Bonds: Stronger or Weaker? Chapter 6 The Impact of the Internet on Civic Life: An Early Assessment Chapter 7 The Internet and Civil Society Chapter 8 Social Capital and the Net Chapter 9 The Cosmopolitan Project: Does the Internet Have a Global Public Face?