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Human Development &
Capability Association

Agency, Well-Being and Justice

CfP special Issue Ethics & Information Technology on “ICT4PEACE”

Call for Papers for a Special Issue with Ethics and Information Technology on “ICT4PEACE”

Humanitarian organizations and UN agencies are increasingly responding to disasters, implementing peacekeeping operations and deploying post-conflict reconstruction teams in environments where information and communication technologies play a pivotal role, providing an ocean of data to be sorted, analyzed and addressed. Victims now have access to communication tools and, primarily via mobile networks, are empowered to exchange information, help each other and themselves, in addition to being able to provide valuable data to humanitarian responders, peacekeepers and actors in conflict situations. There has been a fundamental shift from top-down hierarchical information structures to bottom-up communication at all levels of humanitarian response. This increased use of ICTs including SMS, crowdsourcing, social media, twitter and GIS have opened a new vista with countless positive benefits for humanitarian response. However, many of the key questions and issues require further research and analysis to assess both the up and downsides to this new reality. Thought needs to be put into developing practical solutions to the challenges of using ICT in difficult environments, in particular fragile states, and what kind of protection and ethical guidelines are required to ensure the “do no harm” principles of humanitarian organizations. This paper series will explore the ethical issues surrounding the use of ICT in an age of digital humanitarianism.

  • In the urgency that surrounds and humanitarian response to natural or man-made disasters, how can the innumerable bits of data be validated and checked to ensure effective help to victims?
  • How can effective safety and privacy protection mechanisms be balanced with the need to exchange information openly and quickly?
  • What does it mean in ethical terms if anyone can provide information, anyone can act on information, anytime, anywhere?
  • What kinds of Ethical Guidelines are needed to ensure that do no harm principles are upheld?
  • How can system design integrate ethical concerns during emergency response, peacekeeping operations, and post-conflict reconstruction?
  • What are the ethical concerns surrounding Big Data and digital humanitarianism?
  • What are the ethical implications of new technologies such as crowdsourcing, social media?

This series seeks papers that explore ethical issues related to the use of ICT in crisis response, peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction both from a policy development and system design perspective. What kind of processes, systems or new technologies could be useful to address some of the issues outlined above?

The editors at Ethics and Information Technology are seeking articles for a special issue in this area. Submissions will be double-blind refereed for relevance to the theme as well as academic rigor and originality. High quality articles not deemed to be sufficiently relevant to the special issue may be considered for publication in a subsequent non-themed issue.

Closing date for submissions: September 30, 2013

To submit your paper, please use the online submission system, to be found at

There will be a workshop on this topic hosted at Delft University of Technology when the special issue comes out.

Please contact the managing editor for more information, Noëmi Manders-Huits (

Ethics and Information Technology (ETIN) is the major journal in the field of moral and political reflection on Information Technology. Its aim is to advance the dialogue between moral philosophy and the field of information technology in a broad sense, and to foster and promote reflection and analysis concerning the ethical, social and political questions associated with the adoption, use, and development of IT.

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