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APC workshop: Examining and Aligning Ethics Reasoning and Legal Underpinnings

Amsterdam Privacy Conference Workshop
24 October 2015, 16.00-18.00h
Room C.0.23

The Ethics in Networked Systems Research project exists to create an understanding of the social impact of high-tech Internet research and to facilitate a value-driven conversation between engineers and stakeholders. The primary aim to give substance to the discussion on the ethical, legal and policy issues of networked systems research through dedicated guidelines. The secondary aim is to build a multidisciplinary network of experts in academia, government, NGOs, and business from diverging theoretical and practical disciplines.

The ENSR project organised workshops in Europe and the US this year, where participants from many disciplines discussed emerging ethical questions which result from technical experimentation (Turin in January, Oxford in March, New York and Brussels in May, Delaware and Toronto in June, London in August). The workshop at the APC will bring together lawyers, ethicists, and Internet engineers, to focus specifically on the legal underpinnings of the ethical analyses of this community-based effort.

The 2-hour workshop will start with a short presentation of the emerging ethical, technical, and legal issues that have emerged during the workshops this year. Participants will then be invited to discuss the legal underpinnings of ethical considerations of two concrete case studies. The aim of the discussion is to explore how socio-legal, legal philosophy, and practical ethics considerations can be usefully considered and translated into technical design. The aim is not to identify relevant applicable laws, but to discuss their interpretation in the light of ethical justifications of modern Internet research.

The outcomes of the discussion will feed into practical guidelines that are currently in development. Interested participants will be invited to co-author an academic paper on the arising issues. All notes from the workshop will be shared among the participants.

Workshop outline:

  • Presentation on the Ethics in Networked Systems Research project – B. Zevenbergen (15 minutes).
  • Participant driven conversation on the socio-legal, legal philosophy, and practical ethics considerations based on two case studies (1h 45 minutes).

Preparatory materials:

Philosophy meets Internet Engineering: Ethics in Networked Systems Research. A workshop outcomes paper,

No Encore for Encore? Ethical questions for web-based censorship measurement,

Ethical Privacy Guidelines for Mobile Connectivity Measurements.

Ben Zevenbergen

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