Kay Mathiesen

About Kay Mathiesen

Kay Mathiesen is an Associate Professor with a research focus on information and computer ethics and justice. She received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from University of California, Irvine. She uses her expertise in social epistemology, ethics, social philosophy, and political philosophy to analyze ethical issues related to persons and communities as seekers, sources, and subjects of knowledge and information. She has written a number of papers on human rights and democracy as they relate to information access and control.

She is currently working on a book project titled Informational Justice. This project seeks to answer such questions as,

  • Do we have a right to know? If so, what? And what duties does that right place on ourselves, other citizens, and governments? 
  • Do we have rights to control how we are depicted and information is circulated about us? If so, how do such rights interact with others rights to communicate?
  • Is freedom of expression sufficient to allow for full participation of marginalized groups in the public infosphere? If not, how can we foster greater inclusion?

She also works on ethical issues related to computers and the digital environment. This work includes articles and chapters on contemporary debates surrounding Fake News and Digital Privacy. 


Works in Progress

Informational Justice (Book Project)


  • "Fake News and the Limits of Freedom of Speech"
  • "Colective Responsibility in Digital Environments"
  • "From the Panopticon to Sherlock Holmes: Privacy in the Age of Machine Learning"
  • "The Right to Know"

Research Interests

Information and computer ethics
Professional ethics
Information law and policy 
Human rights and global justice
Social and political theory
Applied ethics and ethical theory
Social and collective epistemology
Social ontology

Selected Publications

Full text of Kay Mathiesen's publications can be found via this link to the Social Science Research Network.

“Human Rights as a Subject and Guide for LIS Research and Practice,” Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST),

“The Human Right to a Public Library,” Journal of Information Ethics, Spring 2013.

“The Internet, Children, and Privacy: The Case Against Parental Monitoring,” Ethics and Information Technology. Vol. 15, No. 4, 2013: 263-274.

"The Human Right to Internet Access: A Philosophical Defense,” International Review of Information Ethics, Vol. 18, December 2012.

"A Defense of Native American Rights over their Traditional Cultural Expressions" he American Archivist, Vol. 75, No. 2, Fall/Winter 2012: 456-481.

"Can Groups be Epistemic Agents?" Collective Epistemology. Ontos Verlag, Frankfurt, 2011: 23-44.

"Epistemic Features of Group Belief." Episteme, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2006: 161-175.

"Censorship and Access to Information," Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics.Kenneth E. Himma, Herman T. Tavani, eds., John Wiley and Sons, New York, 2008.

"What is Information Ethics?" Computers and Society, Vol. 32, No. 8, 2004.

Kay Mathiesen's picture

Contact Information

Kay Mathiesen
Associate Professor, School of Information
Telephone: (520) 621-5219
Office: Harvill 445D
Office Hours: TBA


B.A.   Philosophy (Summa Cum Laude), University of California, Santa Cruz
M.A.  Philosophy University of California, Irvine
Ph.D. Philosophy, University of California, Irvine

Courses Taught

Graduate Courses:
Ethics for Library and Information Professionals
Introduction to Copyright
Social Justice and Information Services

Undergraduate Courses:
Introduction to Digital Cultures
Digital Ethics
Digital Privacy

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences