Sustainability and social accountability in the information society

 WG 9.2 News, Workshops  Comments Off on Sustainability and social accountability in the information society
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 Full copies of the issue are available at cost from Politeia at

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)

 Posted by at 12:45 pm

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

 Workshops  Comments Off on February Workshop update: ICT critical infrastructures and social accountability: methods, tools and techniques
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


 Newsletters  Comments Off on Newsletter
Jun 292012

Watch for the upcoming June 2012 IFIP newsletter at:

24-26 September 2012. IFIP’s 22nd World Computer Congress on “Towards an innovative, secure and sustainable information society” takes place in Amsterdam, Netherlands. See

News from IFIP technical committee 9 on computers and society

27-28 September 2012. Human Choice and Computers (HCC10) meets in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on “ICT Infrastructures and Society”. This is a regular international conference organised by technical committee 9. It makes a good counterpart to the World Computer Congress, and to it. See

29 September 2012. TC9 representatives of national computing societies and working group/special interest group chairs will meet in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The minutes of the last meeting which took place in Rome in July 2011 (and all previous minutes) are available on:

News with regard to IFIP working group 9.2 on social accountability and computing, and its members

SAVE THESE DATES! 15-17 February 2013

Provisionally, please save Friday-Sunday 15-17 February 2013 for IFIP WG9.2’s next workshop and business meeting, with a theme that focuses on sustainability, social accountability and ICT. See

8-9 June 2012: Our last workshop

A review of our last workshop will soon be up on our website. See

June 2011 workshop – Politeia journal issue of December 2011

Sustainability and ICT are one of the themes on which IFIP working groups 9.2 and 9.9 work together. Their co-edited 2011 Politeia journal issue is available, at a small fee, but with the introduction and abstract downloadable. See

TIES 2012, February 1-3 2012

All conclusions and presentations from this conference, coordinated by Juana Sancho Gil, IFIP WG9.2 member. See

Co-edited book due out end July 2012

Carlisle George, Diane Whitehouse and Penny Duquenoy have co-edited a volume on eHealth: legal, ethical and governance challenges. Due out in late July 2012. See

Other news

Among the news that IFIP members and friends have wanted to make known to us since mid-April 2012 are:

Seminars, workshops, conferences and initiatives

Putting the ‘last mile’ first. First Nations communities in Canada. See

28 June-1 July, 2012. OpenHere Data, Dublin, Ireland OpenHere. Where: Science Gallery and CTVR headquarters, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland Admission: Events are free, but booking is recommended, & essential for workshops with limited capacity. See

18-20 July 2012. European Sociological Association (ESA): Research Network 18 – Sociology of Communications and Media Research Conference “Communication, Crisis, and Critique in Contemporary Capitalism” University of the Basque Country, Bilbao Abstract submission deadline: Now past (May 31st 2012). See

21-23 July 2012. IADIS ICT, Society and Human Beings conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 21-23 July 2012,

12-14 September 2012. Submissions are invited for the workshop HCI Research in Sensitive Contexts: Ethical Considerations, which will be run in conjunction with BCS HCI 2012 ( in Birmingham, UK in September 2012.

7-9 November 2012. CIRN 2012 Community Informatics Conference: “Ideals meet Reality”

18-23 November 2012. CENTRIC 2012, The Fifth International Conference on Advances in Human-oriented and Personalized Mechanisms, Technologies, and Services, Lisbon, Portugal. Submission of papers until 7 July 2012. See and

11-13 December 2012. GIGS 2012. Governance in Malaysia.

14-16 February, 2013. ICT4S to be held in Zurich at ETH on Contact:

12-14 June 2013. ETHICOMP 2013: University of Southern Denmark, Kolding, Denmark. See


The European Commission DG Information Society and Media (now DG Connect) has started a Digital Futures exercise – a participative visioning project aiming to devise scenarios for the year 2050 and policy options in the shorter term. More information can be found at these URLs:

A first pilot online engagement was held on 29 May 2012. See:

17 July 2012, Reading, UK. Case study research seminar.

 Posted by at 12:44 pm

Workshop Report: Acceptable ICT systems: making a human choice

 Event Reports, Workshops  Comments Off on Workshop Report: Acceptable ICT systems: making a human choice
Jun 252012

“Enabling and encouraging designers and users of computer systems to make a human choice” is crucial. An IFIP working group and special interest group jointly organised a workshop in Uppsala, Sweden on 8-10 June 2012 to focus on this challenge.[1]


Members and friends of IFIP WG9.2 and SIG9.2.2 participate in the workshop.

Turning ethical design into a collaborative, social process was a major concern[2]. Means of taking positive action covered laws, codes of practice, education, ethical research and development, and ethical design methods. Participants considered pressing questions such as: patients’ access to electronic health records[3], and close-to-body and in-body sensors[4].

The meeting started with insights into ICT use in social care, healthcare and well-being in Sweden. Also covered were information security; social media use; cloud computing; speed in technology development; and data privacy by design. Presenters came from Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. They covered academic, industry, and local authority perspectives.

Young researchers, Ryoko Asai and Miranda Kajtazi from Uppsala University and Linnaeus University, reflected on their experience:

The workshop was “vital and fruitful for innovative research to tackle comprehensively the future of human endeavours in relation to technology.” … “[It] contributed to participants’ research motivation, driving and supporting younger researchers.” … “I’m sure we will share knowledge through collaborating with each other.”

Members and friends of IFIP WG9.2 and SIG 9.2.2 gather outside Uppsala University’s main building.

This workshop and all IFIP’s latest news are reported in the IFIP June newsletter.[5]


[1] IFIP TC9 working group 9.2 on social accountability and computing and special interest group 9.2.2 on the framework of ethics of computing

[2] Department of Information Technology, Uppsala University  – Ethics in IT

[4] Guardian Angels

 Posted by at 2:52 pm

Workshop: “Creating and applying socially, ethically and professionally acceptable ICT systems: current challenges and what next?”

 WG 9.2 News, Workshops  Comments Off on Workshop: “Creating and applying socially, ethically and professionally acceptable ICT systems: current challenges and what next?”
May 082012

“Creating and applying socially, ethically and professionally acceptable ICT systems: current challenges and what next?”
Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Friday, 8 June 2012-Saturday 9 June 2012

A joint workshop co-organised by IFIP’s
working group 9.2 on social accountability and computers and
special interest group 9.2.2 on the framework for ethics of computing


  • This workshop focuses on working to develop theories, strategies, methods, and tools to be used by designers and users for the creation and application of socially, ethically and professionally acceptable ICT systems. The workshop will consist of short presentations structured around these key issues, and will especially focus on – in the second half of the workshop – what has to be done in the future.
    • What has already been done to fulfil this aim? What is going on? How have such tools been applied? How should they be applied? What is needed? What has to be done in future?
  • Working group and special interest group members and friends are encouraged to join the meeting, as well especially as “Uppsallers” and Swedish people – business executives, supporters of civic society, and researchers/scholars – concerned by creating acceptable ICT systems.
  • One of the working group’s three main aims is about “enabling and encouraging designers and users of computer systems to make a human choice, i.e., a choice which takes into account human needs and wishes”. This workshop fits perfectly in this direction. The ethical element of the workshop’s work also fits with the orientation of IFIP 9.2.2’s special interest group on the framework for ethics of computing.
  • It is anticipated that it will be possible to publish the workshop presentations made in a special issue of a high-quality journal after the event. More information will be available at the workshop itself.
If you are interested in attending, please contact us via the Contact Us form for more information.
 Posted by at 9:43 am

Upcoming Members’ and Friends’ activities

 Other News  Comments Off on Upcoming Members’ and Friends’ activities
Dec 082011
  • EGAIS project third consortium workshop will take place in Namur on January 12-13 2012. A call for the submission of short papers closes at the end of November 2011. See:
  • Around February 2012, the newly relaunched European Group on Ethics will publish an Opinion on the ethics of ICT. The Group is currently in the process of finalising the evidence it received from public hearings and a public consultation. See
  • In recognition of the Turing Centenary, the society for the study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour (AISB) will be holding a joint meeting with the International Association of Computing and Philosophy (IACAP) on July 2-6, 2012 in Birmingham, UK.
  • IADIS ICT Society and Human Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, July 21-23, 2012. The conference is based on the convergence model of Gunilla Bradley (a former IFIP WG9.2 Namur Award winner for her work on the international aspects of the social accountability of computing). The conference includes several broad concepts that are increasingly interacting with an accelerating speed: ICT; Globalization; Life Environment: Life Role; and Effects on Humans. The first call for papers ends on January 23, 2012.
  • Second international conference on eco-social informatics (SOTICS) 2012, Venice Italy October 21-26, 2012 Call for Papers deadline June 7, 2012
 Posted by at 1:34 pm

Current Members’ and Friends’ news

 Other News  Comments Off on Current Members’ and Friends’ news
Dec 082011

Some current activities and events of which working group members might like to be aware. Thanks to Philippe Goujon, Aygen Kurt, Ronald Leenes, Stephen Rainey, Bernd Carsten Stahl and other working group friends for having forwarded their news.


 Posted by at 1:33 pm


 WG 9.2 News  Comments Off on Welcome
Nov 082011

Welcome to the new IFIP WG 9.2 website!

This site aims to be a new centre for news and information about the IFIP Working Group 9.2 on Social Accountability and Computing.

For more information about this site, the Working Group, and our events, please use the links on the right hand side. There is a lot of news and information about member activities in the “Other News” section, including Calls for Papers, Workshop announcements, and other upcoming and current activities.

If you have any news or information that you think might be of interest to our members, please submit it via our Contact form.

 Posted by at 1:30 pm

CFP: EGAIS project third consortium workshop

 Other News, Workshops  Comments Off on CFP: EGAIS project third consortium workshop
Oct 112011

The EGAIS project ( is a three year, FP7-funded research project aimed at providing analysis and advice for ethics in research in the European Research Area.

As part of this project, a workshop is to be held from January 12th-13th, 2012 in the University of Namur, Belgium. The purpose of the workshop is to present some of the analysis and findings of the research consortium to a varied group of stakeholders in a workshop environment. The intention is to create a dynamic, working session that will involve presentations, questions, discussion and reflection.

By the end of the two day session it is hoped that all will emerge with renewed insight into the vexed field of research ethics by means of mutual learning in a constructive but critical environment. The language of the workshop will be English.

The workshop will be comprised of the various sessions below (with notional presentation themes).

– Evolutions of the contextual method
– Evolutions of the experimental method
– Evolutions of the open coordination method
– Ways of human change : from individuals to organizations
– Deep Storytelling : Representing oneself
– From discussion to narration and experiment
– Organizing the cooperation of actors
– Adaptations of procedures to contexts, local/global scaling andtuning
– Neo-institutionalism
– NGOs in multi-stakeholders’ governance
– Industries in multi-stakeholders’ governance
– Administrations in multi-stakeholders’ governance
– The Internet Governance Forum

These issues are of importance to EGAIS research on governance as such governance involves at least the possibility of changing a set of beliefs and actions among groups of people. In order to understand this phenomenon in a way that does not rely upon ­- at the extreme -­ the use of empirical sanctions, we need to examine how the will is formed and constrained by conditions around us ­ by how we construct and understand the contexts in which we find ourselves. Only by constructing this perspective can we ascertain the idea of possibilities for given individuals and groups. Only by understanding possibility in this indexical way can we begin to think about normative injunctions, i.e. before ethical governance can say what we ought to do, it needs to construe clearly what we can do. “Can do”, moreover, is a thick term, taking in physical, technical, social, cultural and other dimensions of possibility.

Papers are invited from interested researchers on any of these themes.

Please send an abstract or complete paper (suitable for 20 – 30 mins presentation) to stephen.rainey[at] before the end of November.

 Posted by at 11:20 am

Summer School Report

 Event Reports, Summer Schools  Comments Off on Summer School Report
Oct 052011

The Seventh International IFIP Summer School was held from the 5-9 September in Trento, Italy. This is an annual event organised by the IFIP working groups 9.2, 9.6, 11.7, 11.4, and 11.6. A fantastic range of talks and workshops were held, with a large number of student speakers. Some of the topics included:

  • privacy
  • game theory
  • mobile applications
  • social networks
  • cryptography
  • privacy by design
  • cloud computing
  • location-based applications
  • shared data
  • risk assessment
The best student paper award was won by Philip Schutz for his paper Data Protection Authorities in a Comparative Perspective.
Social activities included a trip to Lake Garda and Castel Toblino, and a fascinating city tour around Trento.
WG 9.2 members hosted a special workshop on Social Impact of Privacy for Life, with contributions by Sarah Spiekermann, Linda Kool, Norberto Patrignani, Aygen Kurt, and Catherine Flick. Participants discussed the reasons for deleting or keeping Facebook posts, perspectives of privacy by design, how computer professionals can contribute to privacy by design, the importance of governance and innovation, and the social impact of Bitcoin.
The next Summer School will occur in 2012 and will be announced later this year or early next year.

Summer School Participants enjoying the city tour.

 Posted by at 7:29 pm