Responsible Innovation in Information Technology

From 2013 to 2014, the Observatory for Responsible Innovation engaged the field of ICTs (information and communication technologies), with a focus on the problems of digital traceability and RFID (radio-frequency identification). Digital objects and environments (technologies, applications, tags, networks, services, etc.) are today developed with a view on traceability: tracking down persons and things, monitoring behavior, localizing products, capitalizing on statistical analysis. RFID offers a particularly telling example of the debates and controversies this state of affairs generates. Massive deployment of such technologies is today at the forefront of governmental and corporate agendas. Social and scientific controversies develop on the risks and problems associated with such developments: right to privacy, health-related risks, environmental hazards and other potentially troubling consequences. A reflexive approach is needed, one that locates the requirements and opportunities for responsible innovation in this area.

A working group headed by Laura Draetta (a social scientist at Télécom Paris) was formed with the purpose of steering productive debate on responsible innovation in RFID. Group members represented a variety of industrial, regulatory, political and scientific concerns (among them: Laura Draetta, Alain Anglade, Olivier Desbley, Jim Dratwa, Denis Guibard, Jacques-François Marchandise, Francesca Musiani, Federico Neresini, Norberto Patrignani, Dominique Tessier, Claude Tetelin, Michel Alberganti, Caroline Rizza).

The group principal achievement consisted in the organization of a focused stakeholder debate in March 2014: “La RFID à l’épreuve de l’innovation responsable”. Have a look at the program here, and watch the debate sessions here.

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