Two core principles of ethical actions are non-maleficence, which means "do no harm." Physicians, for example, should not give ineffective treatments or hurt patients. Beneficence is action that is done for the benefit of others. Beneficent actions can be taken to help prevent or remove harms or to simply improve the situation of others. In information sharing, these principles should inspire efforts to be weigh risks and benefits. This requires IT design to be circumspect, and users and managers to be competent to both share information and analyse information from a range of sources, as well as sharing protocols to consider the relationship between sharing information and safeguarding subjects.

  • Avoid harm for people or the environment resulting from research
  • Support user competence in engaging with a diversity of information so as not to do harm through misapplication
  • Manage information sharing such that sharing happens only when the welfare of the subjects and users are safeguarded.


Beauchamp, T. L., and Childress, J. F. (2001). Principles of Biomedical Ethics. OUP USA.
Taylor, L., Floridi, L., and Van Der SLoot, B. (2017). Group Privacy: New Challenges of Data Technologies. Berlin: Springer.
Wright, D. (2011). A framework for the ethical impact assessment of information technology. Ethics and Information Technology, 13(3): 199–226. [DOI

Related Guidance

Codes of Conduct & Ethics

Different Understandings of Risk

Decision Making