Research and Summary Notes

Scopenoes from ICTethics research at Cesagen, Lancaster University.


  • The development of intelligent environments

    Summary Note

    The activities for which intelligent environments are conceived involve: eTraffic, airports, eHealth, hospitals, homes, schools, and ordinary workplaces. These environments are conceived on the assumption that embedded intelligence can reliably capture the identity and state of objects, persons, bodies and minds, and flawlessly process information in order to 'know' what to do next.

    Key problems stem from the impossibilities of such seamlessness.

    1. Research Note on intelligent environments


    Focus area: Personal health systems

    Scenario exercises like Being Diabetic in 2011 (ENISA, 2009) foreground common concerns about the dynamic recording of health conditions --issues regarding access, mission creep, security, unintended consequences of interoperability and risk relating to the (in)accuracy of data. The work of ENISA has also explored the generational gap in sentiments about what counts as invasion of privacy or if/how the dignity of persons is challenged with remote monitoring systems which are personalized to assist the individual.

    1. Research Note on personal health systems


    Also prepared and delivered by Cesagen:

    1) Gunnarsdóttir, K. and Arribas-Ayllon, M. (2010). Researching experience: Engineering `synergetic prosperity'. Presented at the EASST Biannual Conference in Trento, 2 Sep 2010.

    2) Gunnarsdóttir, K. and Arribas-Ayllon, M. (2011, discussion paper). Ambient Intelligence: a narrative in search of users. Draft copy available at Lancaster University (Nov 2011).


^ to top


^ to top

  • The internet of things

    Summary Note

    The internet of things is a vision of both mundane and specialised objects being fitted onto a network or infrastructure, interconnected to exchange information, sensory data and share data-handling capabilities.

    The concept suggests a radical extension of the internet as we know it and significant changes in what counts as a 'thing'. For example, the use of microchips with RFID, biosensors and positioning devices for implantation, effectively turn bodies and persons into networked things.

    1. Research Note on the internet of things


    Focus area: Radio-frequency identification (RFID)

    An entire medical record, criminal record and other data on an individual or an object can be stored on RFID devices and read from embedded chips. A global positioning device can also be embedded in order to track objects, criminals, patients with Alzheimer's disease, children and teenagers. It can be put to use by means of a Wide Area Network or even via cell phone network. There are serious human dignity issues when the technology is developed for security or commercial purposes with unprecedented intrusion into private affairs, invasion into bodies and lack of clarity on reversibility in case there are serious operational or governance challenges, health and security risks.

    1. Research Note on RFID


^ to top

  • ICT for human security

    Summary Note

    According to industry pundits, advanced ICTs are crucial to improve security. Accordingly, the official argument has been that public, private and corporate agencies need the new technologies to support, oversee and protect Western freedoms, transnational market democracy and, more generally, 'our way of life'.

    Decisions on the uses of ICTs for human security reflect on ethical questions of purpose or mission, how to adequately protect data on persons and property, and ensure fairness in the treatment of suspects and all other persons.

    1. Research Note on ICT for human security


    Focus area: Biometric identification

    Questioning the assumptions on which 'security' already rests, opens the door to alternative ways of framing what the problems might be and, consequently, which issues need discussing and debating. The vast distribution of ICTs for surveillance and security purposes, and the pivotal role given to biometrics, legitimises the involvement of publics beyond the official institutional protocols for public engagement. The doors could be opened to alternative views which already are struggling to find legitimacy using the conventional engagement methods.

    1. Research Note on biometric identification


^ to top


^ to top

Cardiff University Lancaster University
Cesagen, Genomics Network
The Epinet project
The ICT ethics project
The Technolife project
The HIDE project The RISE project
The BBMRI project
The Gleube project
The BITE project