Journal article on trustworthy surveillance

As announced in a recent post, another article of mine is about to appear in the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society (JICES). It is titled “Trust in technology: interlocking trust concepts for privacy respecting video surveillance” and has just been published ahead of print on Emerald Insight. It is co-authored with Linus Feiten (University of Freiburg) and discusses the need for a socio-technical conception of trust as part of a technical solution for privacy respecting video surveillance. It is a trans-disciplinary, application focused contribution. While working on it, I realized that there is a need to clarify the philosophical conception of “trust in technology” on a more fundamental level and to discuss it in contrast to already established concepts for evaluation. This resulted in the recent TATuP article, which can be seen (and read) in close connection to this article. Here’s the preliminary citation information and the structured abstract:

Weydner-Volkmann, Sebastian; Linus Feiten (2021, in print): “Trust in technology: interlocking trust concepts for privacy respecting video surveillance”. In: Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society.
DOI: 10.1108/JICES-12-2020-0128

The purpose of this paper is to defend the notion of “trust in technology” against the philosophical view that this concept is misled and unsuitable for ethical evaluation. In contrast, it is shown that “trustworthy technology” addresses a critical societal need in the digital age as it is inclusive of IT-security risks not only from a technical but also from a public layperson perspective.
From an interdisciplinary perspective between philosophy andIT-security, the authors discuss a potential instantiation of a “trustworthy information and communication technology (ICT)”: a solution for privacy respecting video surveillance. Here, strong data protection measures address grave concerns such as the threat of bulk biometric tracking of citizens. In a logical argument, however, the authors show that this technical notion of “trust” needs to be complemented by interlocking trust relations to justify public trust.
Based on this argument, the authors demonstrate that the philosophical position considering “trust in technology” to denote either “reliability” or “interpersonal trust” is too limited as it fails to address critical aspects of IT-security. In a broader, socio-technical sense, however, it is shown that several distinct accounts of trust – technical, interpersonal and institutional – should meaningfully interlock, to address concerns with ICTs.
This conceptual study demonstrates the potential of “trust in technology” for a more comprehensive evaluation of ICTs within the context of operation. Furthermore, it adds to the discussion of trust in IT-security by highlighting the layperson’s challenge of judging a technology’s trustworthiness. Vice versa, it contributes to Ethics of Technology by highlighting crucial IT-security needs.

Updated rubrics for oral exams

I have updated the evaluation criteria for oral exams (rubric, Bewertungsschema). While it now only consists of 6 categories (losing some detail from the 7 categories before), this results in the same grading scheme that I use for my term papers: In order to get the best score overall (1.0), you need to achieve the best score (very good) in each category.

The rubrics are currently only available in German:

Journal article on trust in technology

A new open access article of mine, titled “Trust in technology. Ethical contributions to technology assessment beyond acceptance and acceptability?” has been published in TATuP 30 (2). It is a discussion on the potential of “trust in technology” and “trustworthy technology” as part of a ethics contribution to technology assessment. Its genesis is quite closely connected with a recent collaboration with Linus Feiten (University of Freiburg) on privacy respecting video surveillance and the need for a socio-technical conception of trust. The collaboration resulted in another journal article (accepted by JICES, scheduled to appear in October 2021), which is a trans-disciplinary, application focused contribution. In contrast to this, the TATuP article is a more general philosophical discussion in the context of technology assessment. Here’s the citation information and the English abstract

Weydner-Volkmann, Sebastian (2021): “Technikvertrauen: Beiträge zur Technikfolgenabschätzung jenseits von Akzeptanz und Akzeptabilität?” TATuP – Zeitschrift für Technikfolgenabschätzung in Theorie und Praxis 30 (2): 53–59. DOI: 10.14512/tatup.30.2.53.
Open access

This article explores the potential for “trust in technology” to make a productive conceptual contribution to the ethical evaluation of technology, complementing the concepts of “acceptance” and “acceptability” already established in technology assessment. It shows that for digital technologies in particular, “trust” can better address aspects of security against attacks as it allows to integrate concepts of IT security. Furthermore, “trustworthy technology” allows for a better inclusion of lay perspectives, since rationally justified trust in the sense of risk expectations can be mediated interpersonally by experts. Especially for the evaluation of digital technologies, “trust in technology” can thus bridge a conceptual gap between acceptance and acceptability.

Open access to my book “Moralische Landkarten der Sicherheit”

I am happy to announce that the publication of my dissertation “Moralische Landkarten der Sicherheit. Ein Framework zur hermeneutisch-ethischen Bewertung von Fluggastkontrollen im Anschluss an John Dewey” is available as open access now.

It is now available as open access in the Nomos e-library:

Book cover of Moralische Landkarten der Sicherheit
Moralische Landkarten der Sicherheit.

Campus closure: reachability

Effective today, the RUB campus has been closed until further notice due to the current health situation. As consistent with the social distancing arrangements, please note that there will be no in-person office hours.

In the next couple of weeks, you can contact the Chair for Ethics of Digital Methods and Technologies by email. If necessary, we can subsequently arrange an appointment for a phone call or video conference.

You can reach my secretary Tanja Markner under
You can reach myself under

UPDATE: As of 01 August 2020, the campus reopened “under Covid-19 conditions”, i.e. many restrictions remain and there will continue to be a lot of work from home where possible. See here for current information regarding the on-campus situation.

I am still reached best via Email.