Apr 072015
 

A one-day workshop on ethics and social accountability for ICT

The challenges of virtuality and the cloud:
the implications of social accountability and professional ethics

To be held at Middlesex University, Hendon Campus, Hendon, London (Committee Room 1, Town Hall building)

Monday 23rd February 2015, 10:30 – 16:30

Drinks will follow at the Claddagh Ring pub. Self-paying dinner will be held at Lahore Restaurant, 148-150 Brent Street, London NW4; starting at 18:30.

(Links to the presentations are available in the Abstracts section below.)

Timetable

Time Activity Who
10:00 – 10:30 Refreshments (coffee/tea) and registration
10:30 – 10:45 Welcome and introduction. Diane Whitehouse, Penny Duquenoy, and Denise Oram
10:45 – 11:00 Round table introduction
(1 min each).
All
11:00 – 11:15 GENERAL:
Twenty years of history around ICT and society.

IFIP’s concerns relating to cloud, virtuality and other challenges.
Diane Whitehouse, IFIP TC9 chair.
11:15 – 11:45 Do we have our heads in the cloud?
With regard to cloud computing, are we ignoring all the signs and indications by not considering the future impact it might have; convenience now, problems later?
Denise Oram,
Glyndwr University, UK.
11:45 – 12:15 CLOUD: Framing the debate – key dialectics.
An assessment of some key themes in current debates regarding the place and impact of cloud services within society.
Brandt Dainow,
Maynooth University, Ireland.
12:15 – 12:45 DATA WAREHOUSES: Interpol meets Thinkpol: How Big Brother helps you travel.
Large-scale collections – data warehouses – of data about travellers are discussed in the media as Passenger Name Records.
Anna Vartapetiance and Lee Gilliam, University of Surrey, UK.
12:45 – 13:15 SANDWICH LUNCH
13:15 – 13:45 CLOUD: Cloud computing – The ultimate centralised ICT architecture?
Delegating storage and processing capability to cloud providers is a very attractive move, but it also opens a collection of issues. How can decision-makers and chief information officers be supported in this new complex socio-technical scenario?
Norberto Patrignani,
Politecnico di Torino, Italy.
13:45 – 14:15 TOWARDS VIRTUALITY. Life in the Cloud: The slippery slope from hypothesis to “pseudo-facts.”
In this talk, I suggest a way to help professionals reduce the occurrence of “pseudo-facts” and reduce the associated difficulties cause by acting on unreliable or false beliefs.
Don Gotterbarn, ACM Committee on Professional Ethics, USA.
14:15 – 14:45 CLOUD, VIRTUALITY AND EDUCATION. Who is responsible? To whom do ideas belong? The disappearance of authorship in the virtual world.
In the last few years I have observed at the University an increasingly worrisome phenomenon. Instead of basing their research in bibliography, students do so in webgraphy.
Juana Sancho-Gil,
Barcelona University, Spain
14:45 – 15:15 (How to live)
In an era of virtualisation?

I have been talking with my students about their thoughts on the possibilities of new technologies and shuffling our lives to the Internet. We have all made different observations.
Malgorzata Plotka,
Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology, Gdańsk Branch, Poland.
15:15 – 15:45 Quick discussion on main outcomes of the day, and next steps (with coffee/tea). All, led by Diane Whitehouse/Penny Duquenoy/Denise Oram
15:45 – 16:15 Quick updates on pending news and activities from the various associations involved. [201502-Mdx_IFIPupdates, PDF 46KB] Diane Whitehouse and
Penny Duquenoy
16:15 – 16:30 Wrap up.

Day supported by The Castlegate Consultancy (UK)

Attendees

  • Brandt Dainow, Think Metrics, UK.
  • Penny Duquenoy, Middlesex University, UK.
  • Carlisle George, Middlesex University, UK
  • Juana Sancho-Gil, Barcelona University, UK.
  • Don Gotterbarn, ACM, USA.
  • Olli Heimo, Turku University, Finland.
  • Sheelagh Keddie, British Computer Society, UK.
  • Kai Kimppa, Turku University, Finland.
  • Aygen Kurt, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
  • Bern Martens, Leuven, Belgium.
  • Denise Oram, Gwyndyr University, UK.
  • Norberto Patrignani, Politecnico Torino, Italy.
  • John Pearson, Namur University, Belgium.
  • Gosia Płotka, Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology, Gdańsk Branch, Poland.
  • Richard Taylor, International Baccalaureate, UK
  • Anna Vartapetiance, University of Surrey, UK.
  • Diane Whitehouse, The Castlegate Consultancy, UK.

Apologies

  • Lorenz Hilty, KTH, Zurich, Switzerland.
  • Bernadett Koteles, Belgium.
  • Marc van Lieshout, TNO, Netherlands.
  • Paul de Laat, University of Gronigen, Netherlands.
  • Christina Moertberg, Swedish representative to IFIP, Sweden.

Abstracts of presentations

(1) Twenty years of history around ICT and society: IFIP
– Diane Whitehouse and IFIP colleagues, IFIP, Austria.

Twenty years of TC9, WG9.2, or SIG9.2.2, and the domain committee of cloud computing. This brief introduction outlines the major areas of each working group or special interest group including, for example, a framework for ethics of ICT; proposals for a universal code of ethics and how these have been handled; major subjects in the field of social accountability and ICT, and how these are tackled; and a series of associated and relevant developments in software engineering, eHealth, and human-computer interaction. In particular, given the main theme of the track, there will be a focus on the newly launched domain committee on cloud computing. [201502-Mdx-Whitehouse, PDF 7.5MB]

Cloud and Its Concrete Challenges

(1) Do we have our heads in the cloud?
– Denise Oram, Glyndwr University, UK.

Cloud computing is a technical and social reality, it allows us to access files and services whenever we want! This all appears to be great on the surface but what is this infrastructure; this technology will be used as a foundation for the emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things; does this mean we are building on sand? Are we ignoring all the signs and indications by not considering the future impact it might have; convenience now, problems later? [201502-Mdx_Oram, PDF 0.8Mb]

(2) Framing the debate: Key dialectics.
– Brandt Dainow, Maynooth University, Ireland.

This short presentation will provide an assessment of some key themes in current debates regarding the place and impact of cloud services within society. I shall discuss three major dialectics: (i) the nature of the relationship between privacy and service provision; (ii) the degree to which people who build or operate cloud-based services are ethically responsible for the actions or effects of those services; and, (iii) the nature of the marketplace for those services. I will briefly touch on each issue, identifying the main competing positions and emerging trends within each debate. [201502-Mdx-Dainow, PDF 1.3Mb]

(3) Interpol meets Thinkpol: How Big Brother helps you travel.
– Anna Vartapetiance and Lee Gilliam, University of Surrey, UK.

To what extent should information be collected about travellers to ensure the safety of citizens, and how might the nature of such collections evolve?  Large-scale collections – data warehouses – of data about travellers are discussed in the media as Passenger Name Records (PNRs), and are creating concerns regarding the nature and intent of surveillance. In this talk, we will address some of the privacy issues related to PNRs, and present concerns about the possibility for third parties to take on the role of various ‘trusted’ bodies – in collecting potentially intrusive information – so as to improve our “freedom” of movement. [Presentation not available]

(4) Cloud computing: The ultimate centralised ICT architecture?
– Norberto Patrignani, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy.

The debate about the centralization due to the introduction of computers in organizations is not new (George and King, 1991). With cloud computing, these centralized architectures reach the global scale with an immense impact on the entire society. As with all centralization processes – if they are not mitigated by proper measures – cloud computing creates the conditions of users and small organizations losing their autonomy. Delegating storage and processing capability to cloud providers is a very attractive move, but it also opens a collection of issues such as complete unrecoverable data loss, function creep, lock-ins, and possible abuse of power (Mosco, 2014). How can decision-makers and chief information officers be supported in this new complex socio-technical scenario? [201502-Mdx_Patrignani, PDF 1.2Mb]

Virtuality and Its Meanings

(1) Life in the Cloud: The slippery slope from hypothesis to “pseudo-facts.”
– Don Gotterbarn, ACM Committee on Professional Ethics, USA.

The amount of data on the web and the failure to look outside of it contributes to some misleading and even dangerous forms of reasoning. The reasoning process generates what I call “pseudo-fact”; an assertion about the real world which is given an unjustified level of credibility. These “pseudo facts” are given the same credibility as scientifically tested facts and are used to direct our behaviour. In the talk, I suggest a way to help professionals to reduce the occurrence of these “pseudo-facts” and to reduce the associated difficulties cause by acting on unreliable or false beliefs. [201502-Mdx_Gotterbarn, PDF 1.7Mb]

(2) Who is responsible? To whom do ideas belong? The disappearance of authorship in the virtual world.
– Juana M. Sancho-Gil, University of Barcelona, Spain.

In the last few years I have observed at the University an increasing and worrisome phenomenon. When students are assigned an inquiry-based project, which needs documentation and state of the art, instead of going to the library to search for books and scientific papers, they go to an Internet browser. As a result, instead of basing their research in bibliography they do so in webgraphy. This means they quote, copy and remix web pages and digital documents with two main effects: (1)  often the documents have an indefinite authorship, so, the responsibility on the content is diluted; and, (2) authors cannot be quoted, so authorship disappears. [201502-Mdx_Sancho_Gil, PDF 3.5Mb]

(3) (How to live) In an era of virtualisation?
– Malgorzata Płotka, De Montfort University, UK.

I have been talking with my students about their thoughts on the possibilities of new technologies and shuffling our lives to the Internet. We have all made different observations. We are using technology facilities to speed up or to do what cannot normally be done over-hours. Some of us – in the Internet – are leading our second (maybe even the first or only) life. As a consequence, we neglect to nurture our non-virtual relationships. Are we losing the time? Some treat this as a challenge, others as a chance, yet others as a sign of the times. Should we uncritically move with the times? [201502-Mdx-Plotka, PDF 3.1MB]

References

George, J., F., King, J., L. (1991), “Examining the Computing and Centralization Debate”, Communications of the ACM, vol. 34, no. 7, 1991, pp. 62–72.

Mosco, V. (2014), To the Cloud: Big Data in a Turbulent World, Paradigm Publishers.