Mid-July Newsletter

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Jul 292012

News from IFIP

IFIP Board meeting minutes. Anyone interested can access these on the IFIP website at http://www.ifip.org/

IFIP June 2012 newsletter (including a report on IFIP WG’s June 2012 Uppsala workshop): http://www.ifip.org/images/stories/ifip/public/Newsletter/2011to2012/news _jun_2012.pdf

24-26 September 2012. IFIP’s 22nd World Computer Congress has the theme of “Towards an innovative, secure and sustainable information society” and takes place in Amsterdam. See http://www.wcc-2012.org/

News from IFIP technical committee 9 on computers and society

Thursday-Friday 27-28 September 2012. Human Choice and Computers (HCC10) conference on Thursday and Friday 27-28 September 2012 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on “ICT Infrastructures and Society”. http://ifiptc9.csir.co.za/conference.html Numerous papers of interest to WG9.2 members that fit with the theme of our February 2012 (Middlesex) workshop on infrastructures; the IFIP WG9.2 Namur Award 2012 ceremony to be presented to Professor Stefano Rodotà of Italy; a WG9.2 supper that will be focused (if possible) around an invitation to many of our original Dutch WG9.2 members; and, last but not least, we anticipate a meeting dedicated to Digital Futures 2050. Members and friends are most welcome, even if you have not been able to present a paper! But please see the associated conference fee.

All official representatives of national computing societies or chairs of Technical Committee 9 working groups/special interest groups will meet in Amsterdam on Saturday 29 September 2012 at the VU university. The minutes of the last meeting which took place in Rome in July 2011 (and all previous minutes) are available at: http://ifiptc9.csir.co.za/

 Posted by at 12:53 pm

Sustainability and social accountability in the information society

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Jul 292012

Politeia special issue cover

Six workshop papers presented by IFIP working group 9.2 and 9.2 members and friends were published in the fourth 2011 issue of the Politeia journal. Electronic copies of the issue’s introduction are downloadable at http://www.politeia-centrostudi.org/arretrati/104.html. Full copies of the issue are available at cost from Politeia at info@politeia-centrostudi.org.

The workshop that was the source of these papers was held on Saturday June 4, 2011, in Milan. It explored overarching challenges related to social accountability and sustainability in the information society. The workshop highlighted the themes of dematerialisation [1], scarce resources, and societal discourse and collective decision-making about sustainability.

The workshop led to an exploration of societal and ethical approaches, methods and techniques that can facilitate an improved understanding and action of sustainability in relation to information and communication technologies.  It is hoped that the Politeia journal issue can enhance concentration on these activities.

Citizens’ resilience in a world that focuses on ICT: views offered by Australian member, Julie Cameron

Milan keynote speaker, Julie Cameron, Managing Director of Info. T.EC Solutions Pty Ltd. of Australia, offered to write up her position paper as a web presentation that would feature on IFIP WG 9.2’s web site.

Julie presents suggestions for how governments, organisations and citizens can focus on ICT resilience. She has already drawn on suggestions made to her by working group members and friends, Chris Zielinski, Africa, and students of Lorenz Hilty, Switzerland. Our challenge is now twofold.

First, we can use Julie’s piece to start a debate on what more can be done to move the notion of resilience forward. Second, we can encourage WG9.2 members to hold discussion on this, and other, issues in the time-periods between our physical meetings.

Our first opportunity comes between now and our next workshop meeting in February 2013.

We are encouraged to feed back our ideas, impressions and responses to Julie’s web presentation on Resilient Citizens in the Information Society. We assume in each case you will answer as an individual unless you signal that you would wish your organisation’s view to also be borne in mind. See the “Contact us” page to the right-hand side of this screen, or add a comment below. Some questions to get us going are listed below.

Dependence on ICT is growing. This makes the notion of resilience of individuals, organisations and national government important. This discussion paper raises issues associated with vulnerability, and proposes issues for improving resilience at different levels of an information society.

Which ideas for improving resilience could a working group like 9.2 best support? Or an organisation like IFIP support? What other actions and principles capable of enhancing resilience are missing? What next steps need to be taken? What resilience-related topics should be raised again in February 2013 at WG 9.2’s next meeting?

[1] Dematerialisation and substitution are defined in the 2010 OECD Information Technology Outlook as: “Advances in ICTs and other technologies facilitate the replacement of physical products and processes by digital products and processes. For example digital music may replace physical music media and teleconferences may replace business travel.” (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2010), Information Technology Outlook 2010, Paris: OECD Publishing, p.194) http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/it_outlook-2010-en

 Posted by at 12:45 pm

February Workshop update: ICT critical infrastructures and social accountability: methods, tools and techniques

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Jul 152012

On a snowy weekend in February 2012, members and friends of IFIP WG9.2 met to debate social accountability aspects of ICT infrastructures and society. The intention was to prepare participants for more in-depth discussions primed to take place at the Human Choice and Computing 10 (HCC10) conference, due to take place in Amsterdam on September 27/28 2012. [1]

Over a dozen persons braved the wintry weather to attend. Participants came from as far afield as Finland and the United States of America. Others were indeed “local” to the United Kingdom. Speakers included Catherine Flick and Don Gotterbarn, both from De Montfort University, UK; Kai Kimppa from Turku University, Finland; Richard Taylor of the International Baccalaureate; Anna Vartapetience, Surrey University UK; and Diane Whitehouse, Chair of the group.

While the workshop started with a global overview and insights from industry, it narrowed its scope to more case-specific examples drawn from eGovernment, eHealth and eIdentity.

Towards the end of the day, the door was opened to a wide-ranging discussion on how social responsibility in the information society could be encouraged. The focus was on the kinds of education that should be available in both secondary and tertiary education. To quote Richard Taylor (International Baccalaureate), a major challenge is that while:

“[U]niversity courses such as those in Social Informatics have managed to keep pace with … [the] rapid evolution of information and communication technologies and their societal impacts, … those within the secondary education sector or the workplace have not, potentially creating a knowledge gap for tomorrow’s policy makers.”

The challenge was raised of precisely how to develop or to pilot what skills might be needed by the “socially accountable, resilient, digitally wise (and/or media wise) citizen of the future”.

 Posted by at 12:58 pm