21 February 2023
Please join us for a webinar on Tuesday the 28th of February 2023 at 13:00 Athens time. The speaker is Niels van Dijk, Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The title of the talk is “The Challenge of Design-based Approaches for Responsible Research and Innovation Governance".
This webinar is free and open to all. The moderator is Dr. Andreas Panagopoulos. Join Zoom Meeting: https://uoc-gr.zoom.us/j/96479541729
Abstract: Proposals for how to govern digital systems and technologies in ways that are deemed responsible are increasingly framed in terms of design-based approaches. The paradigmatic case is the GDPR Art 25, prescribing ‘data protection by design’, but the approach is increasingly transferred to other fields. This approach has recently entered the field of RRI, where the notion of ‘responsibility by design’ has been suggested and where values, ethics and fundamental rights have also been subjected to design-oriented approaches. Yet, little research has been done to investigate what actually happens to fundamental values, rights and responsibility as they become translated into technical and organisational practices through design-based approaches. We will discuss these matters by turning to two case studies around privacy design in digital innovation governance.
The first concerns how building smart, highly interconnected ICT infrastructures (IoT, smart cities, etc.) poses specific challenges to such design-based approaches in scaling up efforts beyond first generation solutions focused on individual-centered technologies (‘PETs’) and second generation solutions focusing on single organizations (‘privacy by design’). The concept of ‘privacy by design’ works as a stabilizing promise for networking efforts around responsible smart innovation, but simultaneously catalyzes the uprooting of the notion of privacy from legal settings where it has been traditionally articulated according to established checks and procedures. We study the broader techno-epistemic network emerging around this idea of privacy design, both historically and empirically. We present the findings of an ‘extended peer consultation’ with representatives of this network and with representatives from communities outside its boundaries to sketch the tensions and limits to these efforts.
Secondly, we will study the role of privacy by design on digital governance in the roll-out of contact tracing apps for dealing with the urgencies created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Privacy design approaches played an important role in this story. They both addressed public controversies over the development of the app, but also facilitated a shift away from state-based initiatives to the private sector (Google & Apple), thus fortifying and extending their hold on the informational infrastructures underlying public health provision. We will thus highlight some of the potentials and pitfalls inherent in the merger of design and responsibility, and raise some questions for RRI itself.