March 1, 2024

WG9-2 Social Accountability and Computing

Aims

  • helping to make computer professionals and systems designers and others aware of the social consequences of their work,
  • developing criteria to determine how well the public is served when it comes into contact with computerized systems,
  • 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.

Scope

Those aspects of computers which affect the public interest. Among these are:

  • ethical issues arising out of the use of computers,
  • the freedom of access to information, as well as the right to privacy and to the protection of sensitive data,
  • shifts in the balance of power arising out of the use of computers,
  • the effects of computers in public and private organisations,
  • education of the public about computers, and of computer professionals about the effects of their work.

IFIP’s working group 9.2 on social accountability and computing is an active group of individual members. We are made up of computing professionals, academics and scientists in many different spheres, and persons interested in social and policy developments. We come from different countries around the world. The group meets regularly – at least twice a year. Workshops, summer schools and working conferences are all held at different times. We welcome newcomers interested and involved in a wide range of societal topics. Our next aim is to start a more interactive dialogue on a number of societal issues. If you are interested in becoming active as a member of our working group, please use the contact form.

In the twenty-first century, computing is moving in a number of new directions – communication, work and organisational processes are becoming ever more global, and data storage and handling is less fixed on particular locations or applications. Even our sense of time appears to be altering. The entire globe is facing considerable challenges. They are not limited to: environmental, socio-organisational and demographic crises. Developments are occurring which alter people’s senses of mobility, security and sustainability. Accountability itself – and especially social accountability – is changing as a concept and as a behaviour in many societies and cultures. For some decades now, in some societies, ever greater individualisation and fragmentation has occurred. Opportunities now appear to be at hand that can help to rekindle an appropriate sense of social responsibility, collaboration and participation.