PAPA revisited: A current empirical study of the Mason framework

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Nearly twenty years ago in MIS Quarterly, Richard Mason proposed that there were four key "issues of the information age." This influential article and concepts have been used by many researchers as the basis for information technology ethics studies. This manuscript revisits the current state of information technology ethics by empirically measuring current attitudes toward these "four issues of the information age" as originally proposed by Mason: privacy, accessibility, property, and accuracy (commonly referred to as PAPA). More than 200 individuals are polled with regard to recognition of the specific information technology issues and their views on the importance of these issues as ethical topics. The four issues raised directly map to the four Mason PAPA issues. The study validates the PAPA issues and finds all the topics are currently viewed as important ethical issues. The study also finds that overall there are high levels of concern with all four issues but finds that privacy is viewed as most important followed by accessibility and accuracy which are viewed equally and property which is viewed lowest, but still very important. A demographic analysis reveals that gender plays a significant role in determining recognition of privacy and accuracy as important ethical issues. The implications of the study are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Computer Information Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Education
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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