Call for papers: Ethics of Secrecy

Along with Daniel Nagel and Matthias Rath, I am co-editing a special issue of the International Review of Information Ethics on the topic of “Ethics of Secrecy”. The full call for papers is below, and available here. Abstract submission deadline is January 15, 2012.

Ethics of Secrecy

Call for Papers for Vol. 17 (07/2012)

  • Deadline for extended abstracts: January 15, 2012
  • Notification of acceptance to authors: February 29, 2012
  • Deadline for full articles: May 1, 2012
  • Deadline for revised articles: June 15, 2012
  • Publication: July 2012

The concept of “secrecy” is bound up in a variety of aspects of information ethics, sometimes in con-flicting ways: respecting personal privacy and opposing undue surveillance ensures a certain level of secrecy in one’s personal life and activities; to ensure security and public safety, government secrecy is often justifiable; open records laws and whistleblower protections are meant to limit government secrecy and promote transparency; corporate trade secrets remain secret to protect investments and economic growth; the secrecy of our personal lives is increasingly shattered – and commodified – through social media or, to paint a black picture: the personal freedom to conceal and reveal information and thus even the concept of personal identity might be at stake.

This special issue will explore the complex nature of “secrecy” in our contemporary information society. The ethical exploration of secrecy must be renewed in the face of the multiple and shifting social, political and cultural contexts in which information and people flow.

We welcome papers analyzing ethical problems of online social networks such as:

  • Privacy, reputation, and the secrecy of personal information
  • Tensions between secrecy and transparency
  • Corporate secrecy and the ethics of whistleblowing
  • The value of secrecy in a social information ecosystem
  • The ethics of secrecy across cultures and societies
  • Secrecy, transparency, privacy: moral principles of democracy?
  • Government secrecy and the ethics of WikiLeaks
  • Privacy and secrecy in ethical and sociological discussion
  • The “interplay” between secrecy and mass/social media
  • Privacy and secrecy in the discussion of communication science

Guest Editors:

Daniel Nagel
BRP Renaud & Partner
Stuttgart, Germany

Prof. Dr. Matthias Rath
Director, Research Center Youth – Media – Education
University of Education Ludwigsburg, Germany

Michael Zimmer, PhD
School of Information Studies
Co-Director, Center for Information Policy Research
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Submission guideline:

Potential authors are requested to submit an extended abstract (for details see http://www.i-r-i- by December 31, 2011. Abstracts may be submitted in the native language of the author though an English translation of this abstract must be included if the chosen language is not English. IRIE will publish articles in English, French, German, Portuguese or Spanish. The author(s) of contributions in French, Portuguese, or Spanish must nominate at least two potential peer reviewers.

Abstracts will be evaluated by the guest editors.

Deadline for the final article (usually ca. 3,000 words or 20,000 characters including blanks) is May 1, 2012. All final articles must conform to the IRIE style sheet. All full submissions will be subject to peer review. Therefore the acceptance of an extended abstract does not imply the publication of the final text, unless the article has passed the peer review and revisions (if required) have been included in the text.

All submissions should be sent by email with “IRIE-Secrecy Submission” in the header to Michael Zimmer:

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