The Importance of the Ethical and Privacy Impact Assessment Plus in the INGENIOUS Project
The Ethical and Privacy Impact Assessment Plus (EPIA+) is a systematic approach to mapping information flows, identifying and assessing challenges and opportunities, and providing a set of recommendations for project partners to consider during the design, development and deployment of a system.
It ensures that ethics and privacy are key considerations throughout the life cycle of the project. Instead of being simply a documentary exercise that tracks risks, it enables constant intervention and change throughout the project. The EPIA+ acts as a key component for achieving meaningful privacy-, ethics- and data-protection-by-design. Within INGENIOUS, the partner Trilateral facilitates and oversees the EPIA+ process. In consultation with tech partners and end users, Trilateral creates and then consistently revisits the EPIA+s.
What are the aims of an EPIA+?
The aim of an EPIA+ is to make tech designers and end users aware of ethically-opaque features of design and use. Ethical values and principles underpin and inform privacy and data protection considerations. If not addressed, these issues can become risks to the success and sustainability of INGENIOUS’s outcomes. The EPIA+ also aims to contribute towards informed decision-making, protection of societal concerns, and overall effective risk management strategy.
Why is an EPIA+ important in INGENIOUS?
An EPIA+ is appropriate for a project such as INGENIOUS because of the issues raised by the incorporation of user tracking and recording, complex data systems, data analytics and algorithms, classification schemes, machine learning, modelling and forecasting, as well as observational and sensor technologies into the Next Generation Integrated Toolkit (NGIT) for Collaborative Response.
Moreover, while much of how ethical and social issues arise depends upon the use of the technology by specific people in specific contexts, in complex socio-technical systems like INGENIOUS, the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders overlap and new challenges can arise that are beyond individual or organisational responsibility.
Who benefits from the EPIA+?
Conducting an EPIA+ increases the benefits of INGENIOUS’s outputs for end users and society at large. It can provide a better understanding of the socially-desirable impacts and value systems within which INGENIOUS will be implemented, including how best to maximise these positive contributions. Potential end users can be reassured that the project partners have taken into account and addressed privacy, legal, ethical and social considerations throughout the entire INGENIOUS project life cycle (i.e. from gathering user requirements and design to integration and piloting). The EPIA+ approach helps to ensure that this process upholds desirable ethical, legal, privacy and data protection standards. This consequently leads to greater public and user trust in the whole INGENIOUS NGIT.