Ethical-Tech Checks


Heya, I already bugged Aral about this on Twitter, but think it might be worthwhile to ask here as well:

Are there people here who know about ethical tools/frameworks/checklists who can help teams and individuals navigate the numerous ethical pitfalls in tech projects?

Are there projects or groups who are specifically developed to point out the blind spots with developers when it comes to ethical implications of the tech they are making? And then help them to ask the right questions and arrive and sensible conclusions that can guide them to make better (=ethically informed) design decisions?

I am thinking something similar or comparable to the privacy design principles of Jaap-Henk Hoepman. But then not just for privacy, but for all kinds of ethical questions (inclusion, non-discirmination, data-ownership, encryption choices, third-party access etc. etc. etc.)



I don’t know of any off the top of my head, but I’d love for us to evolve the Ethical Design Manifesto to include things like this. There’s too many vague “ethical” principles going around where some of the most unethical companies could stake their claim to ethical design.

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Well, it’s not what you asked for, but I could add a few (very bold) points to a “How to be ethical”-checklist:

  • care whom you buy power (for your office, your servers) from

  • care whom you do banking with

-> in general, care whom you support (just by doing business with them -> giving them money and/or legitimizing them)

  • if you have to travel (do you?), don’t fly!

(That’s all very non-tech, thus it might not be in focus at all. If so, I hope such hints are even more helpful. )


Hi Dosch,
if you’re OK with German, I found a very extensive material on internet privacy by Karsten Ness. Here you go :
Maybe it is not exactly what you’re looking for, but I’m sure it is interesting.



Yeah, no. I am not looking for general checklist or a tutorial on how to protect my privacy online.
I am looking for very specific tools that can guide developers or data-scientists when making new tools, apps, programs, algorithms etc.

In the meantime I found DEDA; a tool developed by the Utrecht Data School from the Netherlands. It helps people who are in the process of using tech and/or data in their projects to ask themselves the right questions (where is the data stored, who can de-anonimise the data, can someone explain the algortim you are using, etc. etc. etc.)

I am myself also now creating new workshops and formats to help teams ask the hard questions about their projects and help them choose more sane, human-centric designs. I am using the manifesto as a starting point. But now need to make it more tangible.

In my view there is tons of people out there every day making descisions on designs and architecture of new tools that might influence the lives of tons of other people. If we can infuse them with a steady stream of the right ethical considerations, we might be better of in the future :slight_smile:

But if any of you know of other (groups of) people doing the same so I can learn, please share!

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