PANDEMICS & ETHICS: CAN CONTACT TRACING APPLICATIONS ADDRESS BOTH EFFECTIVELY? 

Contact Tracing Applications and Contact Tracing Technologies (CTA/CTT) continue to be cited as approaches to help manage the spread of COVID-19.  At the same time, many considerations continue to be raised around ethical transparency, accountability, and privacy in relation to the CTA/CTT use and implementations, as they have the potential to transform the nature of society. 

The IEEE Ethics Certification Program for Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (ECPAIS), under its purpose of developing critical certification criteria for responsible innovation and delivery of autonomous and intelligent systems, developed AI ethics-oriented certification criteria focused on transparency, accountability, and algorithmic bias. With the growing urgency and critical considerations of CTA/CTT, a use case for application of the criteria to address how we can verify greater ethical transparency, accountability, and privacy demonstrations in CTA/CTT was developed.

Created by a multi-disciplinary community of experts, the current suite of ethical verification criteria applied to the CTA/CTT ecosystem systematically developed by an expert panel at a rapid pace comprises a systemic cluster of high impact transparency, accountability, and privacy considerations pertaining to:

  • Suitable and sufficient CTA/CTT organizational governance
  • Clarity of CTA/CTT concepts of operations
  • Awareness of CTA/CTT’s degree of autonomy
  • CTA/CTT behavioral obfuscation
  • Misuse of CTA/CTT system
  • Interoperability detractors of CTA/CTT

The  ECPAIS CTA/CTT use case offers insights as to how CTA/CTT may demonstrate greater ethical transparency, accountability, and privacy using a generic suite of ethical verification criteria to industry, regulators, and innovators around the world. 

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