Cyber ethics, education and security: Serving humanity with values

11 Apr 2019 09:00h - 10:45h

Event report


The session sought to address the topic of  ‘Cyber Ethics, Education and Security: Serving Humanity with Values’.

The moderator Prof Obiora Ike (Executive Director, gave a snippet of the session discussions, stating that they were based upon the issues raised by contributors of the book ‘Cyber Ethics 4.0: Serving Humanity with Values’, that was published by in 2018.
Ike briefly talked about techno-phobia and techno-utopia, stating that humanity lived between the two, and that we need to find a balance. He added that ethics could be embedded in the cyberworld, big data could be turned into big values, and that ethics could bring technological humanism i.e., people-centric.
He insisted that ethics must be incorporated in technological development from the beginning.

Ike then invited Dr Mariana Bozesan, ( Founder, Dipl.-Inform., AQAL AG, Founder and President, AQAL Foundation, Germany) whose presentation focused on the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs). Bozesan pointed out that these 17 goals contradicted each other. She elaborated that it had taken the world 10 years to try and attain SDG 1, whose focus is to end to poverty in all its manifestations by 2030.
Further, Bozesan asserted that since the signing of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, nothing had really happened, owing the lack of political will by member states.
She questioned whether it was indeed possible to fulfil the SDGs since the planet was not sustaining the trajectory to the development agenda.
Mariana felt that SDG 5 would help reduce the carbon footprint, and a mindset evolution was key in attaining this.

Dr Pavan Duggal (Advocate, Supreme Court of India, President,, Cyberlaw Asia and, Chief Mentor, Blockchain Law Epicentre, Chairman, International Commission on Cyber Security Law, India) explained that with the increasing advancement of technologies, ethical issues continue to crop up. Pavan called on the need to have legal frameworks and ethical standards and legislations, in efforts to protect user data.
He gave the case of Adhaar, India’s biometric and digital identification system that was hacked into, and millions of biometric data got compromised.
Duggal stated that other than the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, there is no international cyberlaw.
Pavan added that by the end of 2019, global costs of cybercrime will exceed US$2 billion, and the costs were likely to skyrocket to trillions in the years to come.

Dr Alexander V. Libin’s (Scientific Director, Georgetown – Howard Universities Center for Translational Science, USA) presentation touched on cyber ethics in educational and daily life contexts. Libin pointed out that it was vital to have ethical questions at the core of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI).
He stressed the need to understand the phenomena, explore the mechanisms, test the mode of delivery, and consider learner preferences.

Dr Siobhán Martin (Director, Leadership in International Security Course, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Switzerland) discussed the ethics of using cyber tools for intelligence gathering. Siobhán mentioned that since the 9/11 attacks, homegrown extremism was on the rise, a factor that had increased the chances of being spied on.
She gave an example of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen that was detained during a layover at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in September 2002, on suspicion of having ties with an extremist group.
Martin shared research findings that showed 71% of people objected to the USA monitoring its citizens.
Siobhán emphasised that mass surveillance had created unprecedented ethical concerns about the role of intelligence.

Prof Christoph Stückelberger, (Founder and President of and Professor of Ethics, Switzerland), echoed the sentiments of the other panellists, and discussed practical ways to solve ethical dilemmas.
Stückelberger referenced Bozesan’s approach, stating that there was a need to balance opposing values such as freedom and security, freedom and equality, transparency and privacy, and respect and innovation, owing they were all interconnected.

A workshop participant sought to know whether we need to invest in AI or human intelligence. The panellists agreed that we needed to strike a balance between the two.

With the session coming to an end, the moderator extended an invitation to the workshop participants to attend the launch of the book ‘Cyber Ethics 4.0: Serving Humanity with Values’. He urged them to join the collaborative research project in efforts to deepen the study and practice of cyber ethics.


By Bonface Witaba