The SIMPORT project included an explicit intention to pursue an Ethics by Design approach. While there are many ethics guidelines and principles in circulation, there is no clear-cut-methodology, no blueprint of how to put this in practice. And for good reason. How to do ethics in software development remains an empirical question: rather than introducing generic approaches from outside, context-specific practices need to be developed and experimented with in order to reflect, anticipate and respond to the complex questions that arise at the interface of society and software development. This quest should be conducted in a way that is self-supported by the project members and sensitive to the perspective of external stakeholders. An ethical software development process requires team members to consider not only technical functionality but also the societal impact of their work. While it is a significant challenge to incorporate ethical deliberation into the development process, we believe that everyone can participate in ethical reflection of decisions. Only issues that are identified can be addressed.
These materials provide a starting point:
The ethics primer draws concrete lessons from the quest for an engaging, context-sensitive ethics-by-design approach within the SIMPORT project. Our recommendations are of interest to anyone who, beyond an ethics-washing mentality, is serious about making ethics a core value in software development.
The ethics worksheets, developed in the course of the project, serve as an example of a concrete ethics-by-design methodology that has been explored within the SIMPORT project.
Finally, a list of key terms provides a bird’s eye overview of the landscape of ethics-by-design in relation to location-based services.