ICT Ethics

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A collection of resources and research projects related to ICT ethics. (Some of the references are more general, e.g. research ethics.)

Laws, Directives and Regulation

The two EU directives on data protection (95/46/EC and 2002/58/EC) are currently under maintenance: the European Commission's Directorate-General on Justice is working on regulation on data protection, and a draft was made available in January 2012; see the website Protection of Personal Data. The draft is available under "Commission Proposals ..." on the page Commission proposes a comprehensive reform of the data protection rules (25 January 2012).

Vivian Reding: "The overhaul of EU rules on data protection: making the single market work for business" Speech at the 3rd Annual European Data Protection and Privacy Conference, Brussels, 4 December 2012.

Sidenote: an EU directive is something that needs to be implemented by each member state, and may be implemented differently in each state, whereas EU regulation is immediately applicable as-is in all EU member states.

Books, Articles and Blogs


Research Projects and Support Actions

DigIDeas (ERC)

Social and Ethical Aspects of Digital Identities (DigIDeas): European Research Council (ERC) Grant, October 2008 - September 2013 (see CORDIS database).

The website contains a list of publications but no downloadable project results.


GEST: Global Ethics in Science and Technology: February 2011 - May 2014.

Deliverables on "Ethics: State of the Art" should become available in 2012.


Privacy – Appraising Challenges to Technologies and Ethics (PRACTIS): 2010-2012. 7 deliverables are available for downloading.


PRivacy and Emerging SCIENces and Technologies (PRESCIENT): February 2010 - December 2012 (see also Fraunhofer ISI).

Some deliverables are available for download, including:

The website also contains references to articles and presentations and related reports.

ICT Ethics

2 project partners (Prof. Guido Van Steendam, Rocco Panetta) of ICT Ethics presented in a session on "Ethics of Data Mining and Automatic Decision Making" at the AAL Forum 2012. Some interesting references are available on the website of CESAgen (alternative link): see Research and Summary Notes. (The project's original website, www.ictethics.eu, is no longer online.)

Organised the conference ICT That Makes the Difference in 2009.


Ethical Issues of Emerging ICT Applications (ETICA): ran from April 2009 to May 2011.

"ETICA's main objective was to identify ethical issues of emerging technologies and their potential application areas in order to analyse and evaluate ethical issues arising from these. On this basis, ETICA has developed recommendations on how to engage with the ethics of emerging ICT in a proactive and acceptable manner."

Deliverables are available for download.


Homeland Security, Biometric Identification & Personal Detection Ethics: ran 2008-2010.

Projec's overall goals (emphasis added): "HIDE will engage in a comprehensive scanning of existing resources on ethics and privacy of biometrics and personal detection technologies, it will set up a permanent platform devoted to exploring the issues involved in ethics and privacy of new and personal detection technologies, it will reframe and promote debate on the most controversial ethical and privacy issues raised by the convergence between biometrics detection and identification technologies."

HIDE has a database of related projects (not just ethics): the HIDE FP7 Dynamic Database.


Ethical GovernAnce of emergIng technologieS (EGAIS): started in 2009; held its final workshop in January 2012. Deliverables are available under a CC licence (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License), e.g. D4.3 New Guidelines Addressing the Problem of Integrating Ethics into Technical Development Projects.

Senior (FP7)

Senior Project: ran in 2008-2009. (See also the HIDE FP7 database.) Many deliverables are available for download, including:

Other Research Projects

The following projects are not directly related to ethics, but cover topics that are somehow related (e.g. privacy, anonymity, research ethics).


Ethicsweb Portal: "Inter-connected European information and documentation system for ethics and science: European Ethics Documentation Centre" (June 2008 - August 2011).

"ETHICSWEB is designed as a decentralized structure which does not provide information of its own, but strives to make already existing information more visible and easier to access." (From "How Does ETHICSWEB Work?".) You can find references to literature, laws, regulations, research projects, experts etc.


European Network of Research Ethics Committees - EUREC: March 2011 - February 2014.


Secure Embedded Platform with advanced Process Isolation and Anonymity capabilities (SEPIA): started in June 2010. See also the information in the HIDE FP7 database.

Surveillance Society

LiSS (COST Action)

Liss: Living in Surveillance Societies (COST Action IS0807) was a European research programme led by Prof. William Webster. Its primary objective was "to increase and deepen knowledge about living and working in the surveillance age, in order to better understand the consequences and impacts of enhanced surveillance, and subsequently to make recommendations about its future governance and practice". The proceedings of its third and final conference (29 May - 1 June 2012), Living In Surveillance Societies: The State of Surveillance were published in 2013. The proceedings of an earlier conference, Living in Surveillance Societies: The Ghosts of Surveillance are also available.

The project's Resources page has links to websites and blogs related to surveillance, publications by LiSS experts, and to proceedings of LiSS workshops and LiSS conferences.


IRISS: Increasing Resilience in Surveillance Societies was a European project that ended in 2014 (grant agreement no 285593). The project ended with an event jointly organised by IRISS and to other European projects, namely RESPECT and SURVEILLE. One of the outcomes of the project is the Handbook on Increasing Resilience in a Surveillance Society.


RESPECT: Rules, Expectations & Security through Privacy-Enhanced Convenient Technologies is a European project (2012 - 2015, grant agreement n° 285582) on multiple issues around surveillance, including its social and economic costs, its legal basis, and citizens' awareness and acceptance. (Status mid November 2014: no deliverables available yet.)


SURVEILLE: Surveillance: Ethical Issues, Legal Limitations, and Efficiency is a European project (grant agreement no. 284725) "analyzing the ethical issues, legal limitations and efficiency of the use of surveillance technologies for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of serious crime". Some deliverables are available on the project's home page.


SurPRISE: Surveillance, Privacy and Security (grant agreement no 285492) is a European project that " re-examines the relationship between security and privacy, which is commonly positioned as a ‘trade-off’." Several deliverables are available for download.


PRISM: PRIvacy and Security MirrorS: Towards a European Framework for Integrated Descision Making is a European project (grant agreement n°: 285399, Feb. 2012 - July 2015) with the goal to "analyse the traditional trade-off model between privacy and security and devise a more evidence-based perspective for reconciling privacy and security, trust and concern".

Surveillance Self-Defense (EFF)

Surveillance Self-Defense, a project by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

See Also