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The ethical dimensions of IT technologies: a European perspective focusing on security and human rights aspects


The work undertaken shall analyse the existing and future possible ethical tensions between the technological evolution in the ICT field and the protection of human rights, in particular as regards privacy and personal data. Such analysis shall take into account the increasing number and unprecedented intensity of threats to public and private cyber security and the responses given by the competent international, European and national bodies.

The possibility to improve the regulatory framework at EU level in order to reduce the identified ethical tensions shall be reviewed. On the basis of an extensive dialogue with the concerned scientific, economic, security and political stakeholders and the involvement of civil society organisations, a set of ethical standards and guidelines for research and innovation activities should also be proposed. The practical operationalisation of the proposals made shall be examined taking into account the international economic and political dimension. The guidelines for research ethics committees and the research community shall facilitate the incorporation of the highest ethical standards into research protocols without jeopardising the innovative nature of the research and its potential socioeconomic impact. The above balance must be adequately analysed and measures to address it must be proposed.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of the order of EUR 2.8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts

This action allows for the provision of financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes.

The ICT centred research methodologies is changing the way research is organised, proposed and conducted. The untapped potential of Social media for example is fast becoming a new arena of research activities, also generating new challenges for the existing ethical and legal framework. Of paramount importance in this area is the balance between the use of ICT technologies to collect massive amounts of data (including personal data) and the principles of fundamental rights. As evidenced by the opinion of the European Group on ""Ethics of Security and Surveillance Technologies"", the actual and potential impact of ICT technologies on our daily life is high and rapidly growing. This raises multidimensional questions related to how to effectively implement the Charter of Fundamental Rights in our e-society while balancing the interest of all socio-economic stakeholders, promoting innovation, enabling high quality job creation and ensuring a high level of privacy and cyber security.

The action will actively contribute to the reduction of the ethical tensions existing between the potential of ICT technologies and the protection of human rights notably by elaborating operational standards and guidelines as well as suggesting possible concrete improvements of the current regulatory framework, in the spirit of the EU commitment to better regulation.