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ICTethics. An Interdisciplinary Approach for Addressing Ethical, Social and Legal Aspects of ICT

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Tackling ethical, social and legal aspects of ICT

Studies into the ethical, social and legal aspects (ESLA) of information and communications technology (ICT) are fragmented and carried out on an ad hoc basis. An EU initiative provided insight into conditions needed to maintain trust in ICTs and developed tools that provide guidance.

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Opportunities available to today's information society due to ICT use are numerous. However, there is growing concern over the challenges that may negatively impact social development, such as those concerning privacy and security. The overall aim of the EU-funded ICTETHICS (ICTethics. An interdisciplinary approach for addressing ethical, social and legal aspects of ICT) project was to survey the ESLA of ambient intelligence (AmI) – a digital environment that supports people in their daily lives. In the study of AmI, partners analysed the development of intelligent environments, convergence of the physical, mental and virtual, the Internet of Things and ICT for human security. For all four strategic ICT advancements, the team collected a series of notions and beliefs based on the fact that they are established but grounded in fallacy, or defy conventional wisdom and can spark debate and trigger exchange. Project participants carried out several key information and dissemination activities. They organised workshops on security and on ICT for public policy, and set up an academic network, summer school for young scholars and a series of master classes for active professionals. Two international conferences were held that led to a series of conclusions and recommendations designed to transform the way ICT developers and policymakers deal with ethics in ICT. All outcomes were published in three targeted books for citizens, SLA of ICT experts and ICT developers. The aim is to encourage these key actors to continue to build on the results. Lastly, project members considered the potential of developing a web-based collaborative tool and creating and updating a common reference tool on ICT ethics. ICTETHICS led to the development of the needed tools and network capacity for ESLA authorities, ICT professionals and the public to further advance the discipline and its approaches. Thanks to the project, ESLA of ICT is now on the European map.

Keywords

'Ethical, social and legal aspects", ICT, ambient intelligence, ethics, ICT ethics