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Dr Catherine Flick

Job: Reader in Computing & Social Responsibility

Faculty: Computing, Engineering and Media

School/department: School of Computer Science and Informatics

Research group(s): Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH, United Kingdom

T: +44 (0) 116 207 8487

E: cflick@dmu.ac.uk

W: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/ccsr

 

Personal profile

Dr. Catherine Flick graduated with a BSc with majors in Computer Science and History & Philosophy of Science, Sydney University, Australia, while working in industry as a systems administrator and web programmer. She completed her Honours year with a thesis on Trusted Computing in History & Philosophy of Science (First Class), at Sydney University, Australia. Her PhD was on the topic of Informed Consent in ICT, at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University, Australia. Areas of research have involved ethics and video games, responsible research and innovation in technology, anonymous technologies, trusted computing, and informed consent in IT. 

Current projects

Responsible-Industry (EU FP7)

COMPASS (EU H2020)

3D Tune-In (EU H2020)

Past projects

FRRIICT (ESRC)

Isis (ESRC/EPSRC)

EGAIS (EU FP7)

ETICA (EU FP7)

Publications and outputs

  • The Digital Network of Networks: Regulatory Risk and Policy Challenges of Vaccine Passports
    The Digital Network of Networks: Regulatory Risk and Policy Challenges of Vaccine Passports Wilford, Sara Helen; McBride, Neil; Brooks, Laurence; Eke, Damian Okaibedi; Akintoye, Sinmisola; Owoseni, Adebowale; Leach, Tonii; Flick, Catherine; Fisk, Malcolm; Stacey, Martin The extensive disruption to and digital transformation of travel administration across borders largely due to COVID-19 mean that digital vaccine passports are being developed to resume international travel and kick-start the global economy. Currently, a wide range of actors are using a variety of different approaches and technologies to develop such a system. This paper considers the techno-ethical issues raised by the digital nature of vaccine passports and the application of leading-edge technologies such as blockchain in developing and deploying them. We briefly analyse four of the most advanced systems – IBM’s Digital Health Passport “Common Pass,” the International Air Transport Association’s Travel Pass, the Linux Foundation Public Health’s COVID-19 Credentials Initiative and the Vaccination Credential Initiative (Microsoft and Oracle) – and then consider the approach being taken for the EU Digital COVID Certificate. Each of these raises a range of issues, particularly relating to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the need for standards and due diligence in the application of innovative technologies (eg blockchain) that will directly challenge policymakers when attempting to regulate within the network of networks. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Ethical benchmarks for industry and commerce: a new landscape for responsible innovation
    Ethical benchmarks for industry and commerce: a new landscape for responsible innovation Fisk, Malcolm; Flick, Catherine; Owoseni, Adebowale This paper addresses a 'new landscape' for responsible innovation. It reports on different ethical reference points for industry and commerce. In this context, responsible innovation (and Responsible Research and Innovation, RRI) can be seen as a strand of thinking and doing to be found in several ethically oriented frameworks-including those represented by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and several international standards. Exploration of the new landscape took place within the European Commission funded LIV-IN (Living Innovation) project. This focused on technologies for our lives and our homes in 2030. Published sources, consultations with experts, and workshops with a range of consumers and customers informed the project. Such project activity utilised RRI approaches to explore technological futures for the 'focal' sectors of smart homes and smart living. This was supplemented by a specific dialogue with CSR consultants about the wider potential contribution of RRI (or elements of it) to industry and commerce in the context of other ethically-oriented frameworks.
  • Visualising home technologies of the future: a report from Leicester's diverse communities
    Visualising home technologies of the future: a report from Leicester's diverse communities Flick, Catherine; Owoseni, Adebowale; Fisk, Malcolm; Firth, Roxana In a previous ETHICOMP paper (Firth and Flick, 2020), we outlined a proposed method for engaging with those with low digital capital (often associated with low socio-economic status) in order to look at their sociotechnical imaginaries of home technologies of the future. In that paper, we argued that this is important to do because of the dramatic divide between those traditionally involved in developing such technologies, and those who may benefit or be harmed by them. The method proposed an arts-based expressive mechanism that gave “participants to explore and give shape to their ideas and future technologies by collaborating in creating art pieces”. In this paper we report back on the findings of this method: the results from art workshops conducted with Leicester families for the Living Innovation (EU H2020) project along with a reflection of the method involved, particularly given the context of COVID-19.
  • Facebook's Project Aria indicates problems for responsible innovation when broadly deploying AR and other pervasive technology in the Commons
    Facebook's Project Aria indicates problems for responsible innovation when broadly deploying AR and other pervasive technology in the Commons Applin, Sally A.; Flick, Catherine Nearly every week, a technology company is introducing a new surveillance technology, varying from applying facial recognition to observing and cataloguing behaviours of the public in the Commons and private spaces, to listening and recording what we say, or mapping what we do, where we go, and who we're with—or as much of these facets of our lives as can be accessed. As such, the general public writ-large has had to wrestle with the colonization of publicly funded space, and the outcomes to each of our personal lives as a result of the massive harvesting and storing of our data, and the potential machine learning and processing applied to that data. Facebook, once content to harvest our data through its website, cookies, and apps on mobile phones and computers, has now planned to follow us more deeply into the Commons by developing new mapping technology combined with smart camera equipped Augmented Reality (AR) eyeglasses, that will track, render and record the Commons—and us with it. The resulting data will privately benefit Facebook's continued goal to expand its worldwide reach and growth. In this paper, we examine the ethical implications of Facebook's Project Aria research pilot through the perspectives of Responsible Innovation, comparing both existing understandings of Responsible Research and Innovation and Facebook's own Responsible Innovation Principles; we contextualise Project Aria within the Commons through applying current social multi-dimensional communications theory to understand the extensive socio-technological implications of Project Aria within society and culture; and we address the potentially serious consequences of the Facebook Project Aria experiment, inspiring countless other companies to shift their focus to compete with Project Aria, or beat it to the consumer marketplace. open access article
  • The future of ICT for health and ageing: unveiling ethical and social issues through horizon scanning foresight
    The future of ICT for health and ageing: unveiling ethical and social issues through horizon scanning foresight Flick, Catherine; Zamani, Efpraxia; Brem, Alexander; Stahl, Bernd Carsten, 1968- This paper uses horizon scanning as a foresight methodology to investigate the opportunities, challenges and futures of ICT for health and ageing, particularly focusing on identifying the ethical and social issues associated with this sector. It uses empirical evidence gained from the analysis of interviews, literature reviews, and policy documents to identify the primary signals within the areas of future technologies, future environments, future companies, and future older people. In addition, we build on contemporary internet-based discussions amongst the general public and the ICT start-up sector to identify weak signals regarding ethical and social issues, based on and around these areas. Our findings show that the key ethical and social issues identified are concerned with the issue of the elderly being seen as collections of diseases, the human face of ICT, privacy and informed consent, autonomy, stereotyping of older people, and general anxieties around ICTs. We conclude our paper with recommendations for addressing these ethical and social concerns, specifically through the adoption of responsible research and innovation practices. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.
  • AR Games as a Potential Source of Improved Mental Wellbeing: Implications for self-help and individual support
    AR Games as a Potential Source of Improved Mental Wellbeing: Implications for self-help and individual support Urwin, Jessica; Flick, Catherine This paper argues that augmented reality (AR) games such as Pokémon Go are beneficial in enhancing the mood and mental wellbeing of players. Whilst developed purely for entertainment purposes, AR games can offer a number of social and emotional benefits. Within this paper Pokémon Go is used as an example. Whilst benefits from playing such as increased physical activity have been found to be short lived, the combination of active participation, positive reinforcement, and nostalgia that are central to Pokémon Go’s gameplay appear to have a longer impact upon mental wellbeing. Using survey data, this research considers three key aspects of mood in relation to the experience of gameplay: activity, relationships and environment. This highlights the impact playing Pokémon Go has on mood, and shows broader implications for the use of augmented reality games in self-help strategies and developing mental wellbeing on an individual level. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Synthetic cannabinoid availability on darknet drug markets—changes during 2016–2017
    Synthetic cannabinoid availability on darknet drug markets—changes during 2016–2017 Scourfield, Andrew; Flick, Catherine; Ross, Jack; Wood, David M.; Thurtle, Natalie; Stellmach, Darryl; Dargan, Paul I. Changes in legislation have affected supply routes of new psychoactive substances such as synthetic cannabinoids with evidence of supply over the darknet. We identified darknet drug markets using an index database and Tor Browser to access markets. We identified SC in product listings using a custom-programmed script. We collected data at bimonthly intervals (August 2016–April 2017). Eleven darknet markets listed SC for sale, the largest number from China, UK, US, Netherlands, and Germany. Formulations available were high purity powder/crystal, smoking preparations and vape preparations. The top five listed compounds from China across the time points were FUB-AMB, ABD-FUBINACA, 5F-NPB-22, MAB-CHMINACA, and NM-2201. 5F-CUMYL-4CN-PINACA was unavailable at early time points but emerged during the study. Cost of high purity formulations from China ranged from 1.3 to 3.1 Euro per gram for quantities ≥1000 g. Europe and North America accounted for 99% smoking preparations predominantly in small packages (<50 g). SC are widely available on the darknet with availability changing over time. High purity formulations are predominantly available from China in quantities up to kilograms with price per gram reducing with increased quantity. Small packages of ready-made smoking mixtures are available from Europe and North America. open access article
  • ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
    ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Gotterbarn, D. W.; Brinkman, Bo; Flick, Catherine; Kirkpatrick, Michael S.; Miller, Keith; Vazansky, Kate; Wolf, Marty J. Computing professionals' actions change the world. To act responsibly, they should reflect upon the wider impacts of their work, consistently supporting the public good. The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct ("the Code") expresses the conscience of the profession. The Code is designed to inspire and guide the ethical conduct of all computing professionals, including current and aspiring practitioners, instructors, students, influencers, and anyone who uses computing technology in an impactful way. Additionally, the Code serves as a basis for remediation when violations occur. The Code includes principles formulated as statements of responsibility, based on the understanding that the public good is always the primary consideration. Each principle is supplemented by guidelines, which provide explanations to assist computing professionals in understanding and applying the principle. This Code may be published without permission as long as it is not changed in any way and it carries the copyright notice. Copyright (c) 2018 by the Association for Computing Machinery.
  • ACM code of ethics: a guide for positive action
    ACM code of ethics: a guide for positive action Gotterbarn, D. W.; Bruckman, Amy; Flick, Catherine; Miller, Keith; Wolf, Marty J. The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (the Code) is being updated by the Code Update Task Forcea in conjunction with the ACM's Committee on Professional Ethics. The Code was initially written in 1992, and this is the first update since then. In previous articles we detailed the motivations for updating the Code,b gave our responses to feedback on the initial draft, and produced an updated version, which we presented for feedback through the ACM Discourse site, email, and focus groups and workshops at ETHICOMP and SIGCSE. We thank everyone who took part in this public consultation round. Their insights, both positive and negative, were invaluable. We have deliberated extensively on the numerous suggestions for additions, changes, and deletions. Based on those deliberations, we produced Draft 3 of the Code. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link
  • Dynamic Technology Challenges Static Codes of Ethics
    Dynamic Technology Challenges Static Codes of Ethics Brinkman, Bo; Flick, Catherine; Gotterbarn, D. W.; Miller, Keith; Vazansky, Kate; Wolf, Marty J. We describe the process of changing and the changes being suggested for the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. In addition to addressing the technical and ethical basis for the proposed changes, we identify suggestions that commenters made in response to the first draft. We invite feedback on the proposed changes and on the suggestions that commenters made. Open access journal

Click here to view a full listing of Catherine Flick's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

Social impact of emerging technologies

Social networks

Privacy and society

Development of ethics-centred systems

Informed consent in IT;

Anonymous systems (TOR, Bitcoin, etc.)

Ethics of video games

Wearable technologies

hackspaces & startups

Online child protection

Online activism/"slacktivism"

Trusted computing & general trust in computing

Ethical governance of technology

Ethics for systems administrators

Hacking and ethics

Areas of teaching

Computer Ethics

Research Methods and Ethics

Qualifications

PhD in Computer Ethics, BSc, PGCHE

Membership of professional associations and societies

MBCS (Professional Member of the Chartered Institute for IT, UK)

IFIP (International Federation of Information Processing) Member – Working Group 9.2 (Computing and Social Accountability), and SIG 9.2.2 (Ethical Framework for Computing)

Current research students

First supervisor for:

Michelle Brown

Second supervisor for:

George Ogoh

Candace Grant 

Job Timmermans

Eric Agyei-Bekoe (completed 2015)

Yahya Al Alhareth (completed 2015)