Database Security and the Problem of Polyinstantiation: a moral scrutiny


  • Mikko Siponen



database, scurity, instantiate, ethics, philosophy, Kant, universality, utilitarianism, information ethics


In the area of computer security the problem of polyinstantiation is widely recognized. The research on polyinstantiation can be considered morally questionable, since it involves lying. This being the case, a moral scrutiny on the problem of polyinstantiation is warranted. The morality of polyinstantiation shall be critically analysed from the viewpoint of a moral philosophical framework. The moral philosophical framework used includes 1) Kantian ethics, 2) the universality theses advocated by Hare, Rawls, Gewirth, Jewish-Christian ethics, and Confucian ethics, 3) utilitarianism, and 4) Theory of Information Ethics (IE) by Floridi. The result of this analysis suggests that research and practice on polyinstantiation is morally questionable, at least in the light of the chosen moral philosophical theories. The aim of the paper is not, however, to deem polyinstantiation as morally wrong altogether, but to provide researchers and practitioners with tools and insights for analyzing the morality of polyinstantiation in different cases. Moreover, the results suggest that, as far as polyinstantiation is concerned, traditional ethics theories seem to be at least as adequate as IE.


How to Cite

Siponen, M. (2002). Database Security and the Problem of Polyinstantiation: a moral scrutiny. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 10(1).