Call for papers

ETHICOMP 2020:  Paradigm Shifts in ICT Ethics: Societal Challenges in the Smart Society 

La Rioja University, Department of Economics and Business (Logroño, Spain) in collaboration with Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Business Management (Tarragona, Spain); Centre for Computing and Social Responsability (De Montfort University, Leicester, UK) and Centre for Business Information Ethics (Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan)

Logroño, Spain

June 17-19, 2020

| General info | Submission Guidelines | Important Dates | Tracks | Submit your paper | Contact |

General information

The ETHICOMP series of conferences fosters an international community of scholars and technologists, including computer professionals and business professionals from industry. Since 1995, conferences have been held across Europe and Asia, with our main events coming every 18 months. ETHICOMP considers computer ethics conceived broadly to include philosophical, professional, and practical aspects of the field. 

Information technologies are transforming our lives, becoming a key resource that makes our day to day activities inconceivable without their use. The degree of dependence on ICT is growing every day, making it necessary to reshape the ethical role of technology in order to balance society’s ‘techno-welfare’ with the ethical use of technologies. Ethical paradigms should be adapted to societal needs, shifting from traditional non-technological ethical principles to ethical paradigms aligned with current challenges in the smart society.

We invite submissions that explore this theme, interpreted broadly, as well as those appropriate for more specific tracks addressing particular issues relevant to the conference theme. Questions may also be directed to the relevant Track Chairs, listed below.

Submission Guidelines

As in previous ETHICOMP conferences, only papers written in English and not published nor submitted elsewhere are eligible for submission. They will be accepted on the basis of an extended abstract after a careful, double-blind review overseen by the Program Committee. Initial submissions should take the form of extended abstracts of 1000-1500 words and no more than 4 pages (references included ).  All accepted extended abstracts will be published in proceedings with an ISBN. If their extended abstract has been accepted, authors can voluntarily submit full papers (max. 7000 words and no more than 10 pages; acknowledgement, references, etc. included) that will be published as a book chapter in the ETHICOMP series.

Authors can choose to submit either to the general ‘open’ track or to a specific track. All submissions should take the form of extended abstracts (1000-1500 words and no more than 4 pages).

We welcome perspectives from researchers in business, government, computer science, information systems, law, media, anthropology, pedagogy, psychology, sociology, ethics, and philosophy. Interdisciplinary papers and papers from new researchers and practitioners are encouraged. Papers can involve a variety of approaches, including those with a conceptual, applied, practical, or historical focus, as well as case studies and reports on lessons learned in practice.

 Authors may submit more than one abstract but acceptance of multiple proposals by a single author or co-author will be weighed against available space to ensure we can include as many authors as is practical for ETHICOMP 2020. At least one of the authors should register and attend the conference, presenting their paper. Presentations of papers in the conference can be done in regular presentations (15 minutes of presentation + 15 minutes for questions & debate) and panels (90 minutes with up to 6 papers: 5-10 minutes for each presentation + the remainder for open questions & debate by the panel). All extended abstracts will be published in proceedings with an ISBN. Authors are also invited (but not required) to submit final full papers to be published as a book chapter in the ETHICOMP series (with an ISBN). Final papers should not exceed 7000 words and no more than 10 pages.  

Important dates

 Extended abstract submissions open: July 15, 2019 

Abstract submission deadline: October 30, 2019

Reviews due (accept/accept with changes/reject): November 30, 2019

Re-submissions due (accept with changes): December 15, 2019

Final reviews due (accept with changes): December 20, 2019

Full paper submission deadline: March 16, 2020

Early bird registration: from January 2, 2020 to March 2, 2020

Conference: June 17-19, 2020


1. Open Track  (Kiyoshi Murata, Meiji University,; Ana María Lara Palma, Universidad de Burgos,; Yohko Orito, Ehime University,; Alicia Izquierdo-Yusta, Universidad de Burgos, )

Any topic in computer ethics, broadly construed. Topics related to the  computer ethics field, conceived broadly, to include philosophical, professional, and practical aspects of the field.

2. Justice, Malware, and Facial Recognition (Wade Robison, Rochester Institute of Technology,

Two recent incidents in the United States raise issues about the fairness of the criminal justice system. One involved a court’s response to information regarding an ongoing case becoming public. The judge agreed to put malware in an official email to track where the email went. The implications for the attorney/client privilege are obvious. The second incident involves the use of facial recognition software to indict someone. But the software is too soft to prove, ‘beyond a shadow of a doubt,’ that someone committed a crime. Using it as evidence is like using bite marks, with only one out of twenty being correct. That some courts still permit bite marks as evidence tells us how prosecutors may use facial recognition. Any criminal justice system is an instance of imperfect procedural justice. The ideal would find guilty only those who committed a crime, but we do not have the ideal. Using malware and facial recognition within the system degrades the imperfection we now have, and they are presumably only two instances of what are many ways in which technical changes put at risk what justice we can obtain through the criminal justice system. 

3. Cyborg: A Cross Cultural Observatory (Mario Arias-Oliva, Universitat Rovira i Virgili,; and Jorge Pelegrín-Borondo, La Rioja University,

Today, human evolution is not only coming from biology but also from ICT. The concept of Cyborg (Cybernetic Organism) will be increasingly important during the coming years. At ETHICOMP 2017 we started a track that focuses on Cyborg Ethics: wearables to insideables. We are doing different studies with various methodological approaches to obtain a deeper understanding of the cyborg perception from an international perspective. This track is open to all cyborg & ethics analyses and is inclusive of diverse research areas and methods.

 4. Creating Shared Understanding of 'Trustworthy ICT' (Ulrich Schoisswohl; Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG),

On April 8, 2019 the European Commission (EC) launched its AI strategy. Until the end of 2020 the EC means to allocate 21.500.000.000 euros to build a new economic sector and market on the notion of `trustworthy AI'. Yet, the scope of this endeavor extends beyond AI to `trustworthy ICT`. But political commitments alone will not do the trick. We need to make 'trustworthy ICT' a reality of everyday life. In doing so, we need new approaches, methods, and practices. This track invites all those aiming at, contributing to, or being involved in making all kinds of 'trustworthy ICT' a reality. In particular, it aims to explore what Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) can contribute to this development. The track calls for contributions on challenges and barriers to 'trustworthy ICT' as well as good practices, approaches, methods, and concrete examples of 'trustworthy ICT'.

5. Management of Cybercrime: Where To From Here? (Shalini Kesar, Southern Utah University,

Cybersecurity is defined as the body of technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect from networks, devices, programs, data, or/and unauthorized access. The importance of cybersecurity and challenges linked with it warrant attention from various contexts. New technologies, such as Internet of Things sensor applications, Robotics, Augmented Reality, and AI are envisioned to deliver a wide range of services to enable smart societies. The market for smart technologies is predicted to be worth up to $3.5 trillion by 2026. At the same time, these new technologies bring a different set of ethical challenges to the forefront that question current management practices when mitigating and minimizing cybercrime. Traditionally, organizations and the government have focused most of their cyber security resources on perimeter security to protect only their most crucial system components and defend against known threats. Today, this approach is insufficient, as the smart society entails new security risks, and ethical and other challenges. We invite you to discuss different perspectives and contexts. Topics include but are not limited to computer ethics, cybercrime, cloud security, and mobile security.

6. Internet Speech Problems - Responsibility and Governance of Social Media Platforms (William M. Fleischman, Villanova University,

At this moment, we have a problem with speech in our culture. It would be a mistake to lay this off as simply the result of reckless disregard for consequences made possible by anonymous and disembodied speech on the internet. Alongside their undoubted role in facilitating global interpersonal communication and scaffolding public discourse, the major social media platforms have been co-opted in the furtherance of abusive speech practices. Lacking the filters or safeguards that the press historically has employed, they have become players in the media world. On the one hand, this means that almost anyone can contribute to public civic discourse. On the other hand, as private profit-focused corporations, social media are free to determine on a case-by-case basis what constitutes permissible speech, claims of a primary commitment to free expression notwithstanding. The result is a speech environment characterized by an unhealthy admixture of assaultive and threatening speech, “flooding,” and dissemination of false information. It is our responsibility, as professionals and citizens, to reflect, think, propose, speak and act to ameliorate the expressive and informational environment in which we live. We invite your contributions to a track addressing these problems.

 7. Meeting Societal Challenges in Intelligent Communities Through Value Sensitive Design (Oliver Burmeister, Charles Sturt University, Australia,

There are many societal challenges confronting intelligent communities. As the leader of AI research puts it “Technology is not value neutral, and technologists must take responsibility for the ethical and social impact of their work” (DeepMind, One way to achieve this is through value sensitive design (VSD). VSD is a design approach which puts ethics into practice. It is an approach which began and still dominates in information and communications technology (ICT), but the VSD paradigm has opened new debates in the information ethics arena, branching out to ever more fields. These currently include: Artificial Intelligence; Architecture; Brain-computer interface; Development (international); Economics; Education; Energy and environment; Engineering education; Game design; Health; Journalism; Law; Political science; Robotics; and, Transportation. Papers which address the focus of this track are invited from the full spread of the information ethics arena, not limited to the above-mentioned fields of research.

8. Monitoring and Control of AI Artifacts (Yukari Yamazaki, Seikei University,

This track deals with why human beings should and how they can monitor and control AI artifacts. These AI artifacts are increasingly used widely, e.g. in automatizing business activities and processes, individual decision making, human behavior, and so on. There are growing concerns about negative and irrevocable influences that the widespread use of AI artifacts would exert, as the European Commission and the IEEE have expressed. However, the downside of AI artifacts has not been fully revealed, and the multilevel comprehension of them is lacking. This track will provide an opportunity for discussing ethical and social aspects of AI artifacts in R&D and practical use, and the social necessity, effective ways and other aspects of monitoring and controlling them from interdisciplinary and multifaceted viewpoints.

9. Technology Meta-Ethics (Wilhelm E. J. Klein,

The focus of this track is on the premises, foundations, and axioms underlying approaches in academic fields such as Technology / Machine / Computer / ICT / Robot / Information / AI / etc. Ethics as well as in the wider public. It invites contributors to address issues such as mind-body dualism, the existence or non-existence of objective moral truths, epistemological and/or ontological commitments, free will, etc. How do these issues play into both academic and public discourse about Technology Ethics in the broadest sense? What, for example, are the underlying premises which may render a social media platform’s statements referring to consumer choice and user agency valid or invalid? Are there arguments which are clearly based on either intuition or reason – and is there a problem with either? Such are the kinds of questions to be discussed in this track.

 10. Tracking Technologies (Katleen Gabriels, Maastricht University,

This track welcomes papers that address ethical and/or philosophical issues related to contemporary tracking technologies (apps, wearables, other IoT devices, …). These technologies can involve self-tracking (e.g. quantified self; lifelogging) or other-tracking, i.e. tracking of individuals by others, as well as interactions between self- and other-tracking. Specific cases of other-tracking technologies are medical doctors tracking patients (e.g. telemonitoring); adultery apps and spyware for romantic partners; parental monitoring devices; employee tracking at the workplace (e.g. ‘Humanyze’); student tracking at colleges and universities (e.g. ‘Academic Forecast’); and so forth. Conceptual and empirical papers related to self- and/or other-tracking are both very welcome in this track.

 11. Educate for a Positive ICT Future (Gosia Plotka, Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology & De Montfort University,; Marta Czerwonka, Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology,; Alireza Amrollahi, ACU,

With an increasing number of ICT developments being launched every year, more and more people become stakeholders without even being aware of this fact. Yet, it is of great importance to remember that for any project to be RRI it should take into consideration a number of perspectives such as people who are: working side by side on common goal; running the project; using or get impacted by the technology. Education of computer professionals is seminal in order to embrace the diversity and complexity of the specific contexts they are working in. Therefore, we would like to invite educators, researchers, students but also practitioners in various contexts (including non-profit organisations) to share their views and experience on the following non-exclusive list of topics: (1) ethical dilemmas of ICT professionals; (2) CivicTech vs Smart Cities; (3) applied software & computer ethics; (4) Responsible Research & Innovation (RRI) education; (5) teaching ethical aspects of user-centred approach. All types of case studies welcomed. The track chairs have been trying to address these problems in their everyday work for over a decade and would be happy to hear from you and together consider how to shift the paradigm towards a positive ICT future.

12. Diversity and Inclusion in Smart Societies: Not Just a Number Problem (Efpraxia Zamani, University of Sheffield,; Shalini Kesar, Southern Utah University, and Kutoma Wakunuma, DMU, )

At ETHICOMP 2018, a track regarding women in STEM was hosted. We would like to continue this track in a panel or presentation style. Although women have already shaped the evolution of information technology, there is still a lack of diversity in this field. It is argued that this problem is more than just a number problem. Lack of, for example, role models and support, cultural issues, and training available for all in a computing context can act as an obstacle for many to even consider computing as education or a career. We would like to invite scholars to share with us theories and/or experiences about such topics and how it will impact our smart societies. This is significant as these lessons will create a great platform, especially for younger generations.

13. Marketing Ethics in Digital Environments (Crisitina Olarte Pascual, La Rioja University,; Eva Reinares, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos,; Jesús García de Madariaga, Universidad Complutense de Madrid,; Teresa Pintado, Universidad Complutense de Madrid,

New technologies have entered directly into the way we manage personal and professional aspects of our lives. From a positive point of view, available information in digital format (blogs, social networks, etc.) helps us to optimize the process of selecting the best products and make better decisions. Potential benefits are e.g. cost savings, immediacy, or time-saving. However, there is a controversial debate about the ethical aspects and the moral dilemmas that are generated between producer/consumer and buyer/seller. In this track, the main focus lies on moral dilemmas in marketing, such as privacy, online pricing ethics, ethics in online promotion, controversial marketing strategies, media ethics, consumer manipulation/target emotions, social media emotion detection, expectation of consumers towards digital communication, ethics and ethical standards from both the consumers and enterprises point of view and the different cultural, educational and especially political background of regions and how they can affect marketing worldwide, among others. All interested participants in this track are invited to share their ideas, experiences, and research results.

14. Interpretability of Algorithms (Paul B. de Laat, University of Groningen (RUG), Interpretability or explainability of algorithms that are used in algorithmic decision-making is a widely discussed topic in the current literature. While some endorse its importance, others deny it, or underline that it is an unattainable goal in most cases. In order to clarify these positions it would seem useful to ask several questions: 1. For which applications is an explanation actually needed? With profiling applications, for example, it is generally considered good practice to provide explanatory reasons, while search algorithms are usually accepted at face value (apart from “bubble” discussions). Similarly, filtering content in social media platforms used to be uncontroversial – until recently this has turned into an area where explanations are urgently being demanded by the public. 2. What specific explanation, if any, is desired by the subjects at the end of the algorithmic process? Subjects of algorithmic scoring/profiling, say, usually express the need for some sort of explanation, in order to understand the decision affecting them. Medical specialists, on the other hand, also want broader insights in the algorithms that pertain to their specialties since they do not only want to treat their patients with care but also to advance science. 3. Further, whenever interpretability of a kind is desired, can it be implemented in practice, and if so, how? Several technical proposals have been launched the last few years. Do they advance the goal of interpretability? 4. Finally the question of legalities looms large. To what extent do recent regulatory efforts enlarge possibilities for algorithmic subjects to actually receive explanations? In sum, for this track paper proposals are solicited on the topic of interpretability/explainability of algorithms used in algorithmic decision-making; proposals preferably relate to the type of application, categories of users/subjects involved, implementation proposals for explainability, and/or current legal initiatives.

Submit your paper

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Questions and comments should be directed to:

Conference Directors: Mario Arias-Oliva, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Spain),; Jorge Pelegrín-Borondo, La Rioja University (Spain),; and Emma Juaneda-Ayensa, La Rioja University (Spain),

Program Chairs: Kiyoshi Murata, Meiji University (Japan), and Ana Lara, Universidad de Burgos (Spain),

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