Professional ethics is an essential component of any profession; leading examples are to be found in law and medicine where mutual understanding leads to improved outcomes and differentiates professions from jobs. A professional ICT workforce across European society and industry will support and enhance the exchange of ICT resources and services throughout the European single market.
The objective of our project is the publication of a CEN Technical Specification (CEN/TS) “European Professional Ethics Framework for the ICT Profession (EU ICT Ethics)” including a methodology and application guide. It aims at strengthening the ICT Profession in Europe and will consider multifaceted stakeholder perspectives from national bodies, ICT professional organization, ICT professionals and the educational perspective.
After a first phase of research, collection of requirements and an online survey, we would like to discuss individual findings and gather your opinions as ethics expert.
For this purpose, we have invited a number of practitioners to give us some brief insights into current developments and we will discuss five key issues in workshops. Participation in the workshops is by invitation.
You are welcome to apply for participation in one of the workshops here:
Europe, ICT, and ethics: Some reflections – past, present, and future
Globally, ICT is getting closer and closer to human beings. The pervasive character of computing means it is entering our lives at all sorts of levels – both professional and personal. For ICT professionals, this ubiquity poses many ethical challenges, both old and new. As a result, this is a good moment to reflect not only on historical developments, but on present and future opportunities. With both an international and a European focus, it is worthwhile:
Ethics have always been considered to form a basic cornerstone of professional behaviour and development. In 2020, example challenges lie in a huge variety of professional and occupational fields – since technologies are helping to transform the work of human experts. Artificial intelligence, robotics, and data analytics – to name but a few technologies – are all altering professionals’ work. While ICT professionals need to be aware of the huge potential shifts brought forward rapidly by these kinds of technologies, their frame of awareness needs to include basic ethical principles not only theoretically but also in application. The overall approach to today’s presentation will be general, yet it will also draw on the presenter’s day-to-day work in the fields of health and care.
Since 2008 in particular, Diane Whitehouse has focused on areas including policy development and stakeholder engagement in digital innovation through her work in EHTEL www.ehtel.eu. Diane is a social scientist whose work is centred on the social, organisational, and ethical aspects of ICT, with several co-authored and co-edited books to her name in the eHealth field. Her involvement in the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) for many years, involved focusing especially on the societal and ethical challenges raised by ICT (indeed, earlier in 2020, IFIP published a new code of ethics and professional conduct). Through EHTEL, Diane is involved in a number of digitally health-related and change-related European projects, such as Digital Health Europe https://digitalhealtheurope.eu and SCIROCCOExchange https:// www.sciroccoexchange.com and has offered her expertise to others, such as SATORI https://satoriproject.eu and SIENNA https://www.sienna-project.eu/ which have (had) more of an ethical orientation. Indeed, society and ethics are taking challenging new, with today’s calls for rapid responses raised by the need to sustain inter-generational solidarity, face onslaughts brought about by infectious diseases, and share (health) data. Until February 2007, Diane was a Scientific Officer in the ‘ICT for Health’ Unit of the European Commission’s General Directorate Connect.
Technology doesn't police itself and the fast technological evolution require us to pay attention, voice our concerns constructively, and demand accountability when people are harmed. Several technologies, namely in the health sector, are well framed in terms of data protection, ethical concerns and privacy, especially if they need to be certified as medical devices. However, many others are flourishing with no framework other the GDPR and no adequate supervision. The need for a concerted approach on the ethics framework and supervision should be applicable throughout the complete cycle of development, from ideation to market launch and use.
The main aim of the workshop is to discuss what can be the framework for ethical compliance when developing ICT solutions in the fields of health and wellbeing, departing from the presentation of an ethical dialogue process.
Daniel Tijink | Philosophical engineer; responsible for care, strategy and ethics at ECP - Platform for the Information Society
Marco Carulli | Programme Operations Manager at the Central Management Unit of the AAL (Active and Assisted Living) Programme
Carina Dantas is an expert on the ICT Ethics framework team with experience in the area of health and care.
Ethics is often part of ICT undergraduate and post graduate ICT courses but there is limited knowledge about the most effective way to teach ethics theories and concepts in way which both develops deep understanding and the skills to implement ethics into professional practice. There are also many stakeholders with different needs to be manage such as, students, the community, professional bodies, educational institutions, government, employers.
The aim of this workshop is to discuss ideas about what learning outcomes for ICT ethics could look like, who might be involved in creating them and what methods can help reach them.
Dr. Craig McDonald is Emeritus Professor of Informatics at the University of Canberra and a Fellow of the Australian Computer Society with a track record of teaching and researching ICT ethics.
Dr. Clare Thornley is an expert on the ICT Ethics Framework team with experience in teaching and research in ICT ethics.
Keynote (11:15 – 11:45)
It is more and more necessary to solve ethical problems arising from the use of informatics components or services, especially in the scope of professional and business ICT sector. The conception of ICT Professional Ethics requires to take into account at least of: The pervasive nature of computing in all spheres of personal, business and social activity in this so-called Information and Knowledge Era; Its contextualization in the professional ethics in general, by reusing formulas and useful tools from other professions or designing new mechanisms adequate to the peculiarities of ICT and their professional practice; And how to put it in practice both at the level of ICT professionals and especially in companies and organizations in general.
The aim of this keynote is to open the analysis and debate for the conception of ICT Professional Ethics and its implementation in practice, taking advantage of the experience of other mature professions.
Discussion Panel (11:45 – 13:15)
Professional Ethics have many different conceptions: Concepts, Structure, Tools, Artifacts, etc. These whole conceptions are much more extensive than usual components such are codes of ethics, codes of conduct, deontological codes, ethics committees, etc. It includes also external but related aspects/components such are professional responsibility, company responsibility, professional practice control, disciplinary consequences, regulation, etc.
The aim of this panel is to discuss proposals and ideas about the conception and components of ICT Professional Ethics and the way and mechanisms for its practical implementation, especially in the professional and company level, taking advantage of the experience of other mature professions.
Agustín Domingo. Researcher and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Valencia, Director of Ethics and Democracy Master and promoter of "Ethos Living Lab" initiative about the evolution of professional ethics and deontology in professions.
Fernando Suarez, President of the Spanish Informatics Engineering Deontology and Ethics Commission, and President of Spanish General Council of Informatics Engineering – CCII."
Peru Sasia. Researcher and Professor of Professional & Organizational Ethics at the University of Deusto, responsable of the Knowledge Transfer area in the Center for Applied Ethics of the University, is coautor of the Deusto Declaration of Human Rights in Digital environments
Juan-Pablo Peñarrubia is Informatics Engineer, member of ICT Ethics framework team and researcher of Ethics and Digital Citizenship initiative.
In recent Decades, many ethics Code of Conducts and other ethics methods have been developed. With the advent of AI, this trend has accelerated because this new technology can have positive, as well as negative impact. The question is how our framework can build on the good ethics developments that have already taken place.
CEN Technical Committee 428 has also been developed the eCompetence Framework e-CF, with room for transversal skills in the latest version (EN16234-1:2019). Ethics is one of the transversal aspects. Different competenties and levels ask fo different ethics aspects. How can the ethics framework take this into account and support ethics on both the individual and the organisational level?
The aim of this workshop is to put the ethics framework in a logical relationship with other standards within the digital workplace.
Bramjan Mulder is an expert on the ICT Ethics framework team, was team-expert in the development of EN16234-1:2019 and is stakeholder in project SHERPA on ethical dimensions in Smart Information Systems (Artificial Intelligence and Big Data).
How feasible is and in which extend existing practical toolkits to provide effective self-assessment measures? In which dimensions the e-CF competence framework is contributing to the process of readiness assessment and professional ethics’ measurements. Which actions have to be followed after the acquisition of readiness level for certain activities?
Preparedness in professionalism and ethics in IT professions is a topic of high importance which has a close liaison with interpersonal competencies (i.e. proactive/positive attitude, self-regulation and critical thinking) as well as cognitive competencies and education profile of the person involved in relevant positions. In particular individual factors such as higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills for professional development from the one hand could contribute to mature the degree of responsibility in their research conduct while procedural practices, policies and systems of institutions/organizations through capacity building, training and follow -up of ICT ethics codes ethics into practice could also reflect upon the degree of societal appropriateness and professionals’ preparedness.
The main aims of the workshop will be:
To highlight the importance of the preparedness levels’ assessment and relevant measurements for an effective evaluation process
To propose more tangible and global-oriented tools for readiness’ level evaluation of IT personnel.
To investigate how diverse competencies (ethical, knowledge, capability competencies) are related to levels of readiness of IT professionals, stressing the confluence of EN 16234-1:2019 ‘e-Competence Framework (e-CF) in the overall readiness levels’ assessment process and last but not least
To identify combined methods for triggering the preparedness of IT professionals through ‘problem and reasoning solving’ tasks and testing flexibility dexterities in extreme situation such as health crisis (COVID-19) and need for codes’ adaptations
Dr. Dimosthenis Ioannidis is Senior Researcher, Software Engineer and Project Manager and is an expert on the ICT Ethics framework team
Segkouli Sofia | Linguist, senior researcher in the field of Healthcare for elderly, Information Technologies Institute, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, expertise in Ethics management of LSPs
Dr Andreas Theodorou | Responsible AI researcher; focus on good practices and assessment – Umeå University and VeRAI AB
Arthur van der Wees | Managing director of Arthur’s Legal & Strategies, attorney at law, standardization and policy expert, entrepreneur, strategist in the world of societal challenges, digital transformation, data, global impact and business (www.arthurslegal.com & www.arthurstrategies.com).