Academic WorkMy areas of interest are mostly centred in Computer Ethics. I’m very much an applied ethicist, though I enjoy thinking and writing about the underlying ethical theory as much as I enjoy working out how it can be used to make the world a better place.
My honours thesis (2003-2004) was called “The Controversy over Trusted Computing” and was written under the supervision of Dr. Jason Grossman at Sydney University. It was about how trusted computing didn’t much deserve to be called thus, and how it would actually make things worse for computer users rather than better, which was what all the companies involved were trying to say. At the time Microsoft was incorporating “Palladium”/”NGSCB”/”Trustworthy Computing” into their Longhorn test operating system, but weeks before I submitted they must have gotten wind of my epic argument against their system and decided to can it¹. It never really came back but they used some of the technology and ideas in Vista and (I assume) Windows 7, but they’re not nearly as draconian as the original grand plans slated for Longhorn.
My PhD thesis (2009) was titled “Informed Consent in Information Technology: Improving User Experience” and was developed under the supervision of Prof. John Weckert, Dr. Steve Matthews, and Dr. Jason Grossman². I completed this at Charles Sturt University, within the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, located at the Australian National University in Canberra. The thesis was mostly about how the current methods of obtaining informed consent in IT suck, especially with my pet case study of End User License Agreements, which really do in fact suck.
So I looked at the theories underlying the use of informed consent and discovered that they’d been essentially shoe-horned in from medical ethics, which didn’t really work very well. This meant that, in order to make the world a better place, I had to find some new theory and attempt to try to apply it to IT so we could at least fix up those rotten EULAs. I found a theory by Neil Manson and Onora O’Neill, who had found the same problem existed in bioethics, which suited my purpose quite well. Instead of worrying about the freedom of the patient to choose (and thus putting the onus of the understanding and such onto the patient), Manson and O’Neill’s system of requiring waivers of normative expectations was quite interesting. So I adapted it, applied it, and came up with some interesting new ways to deal with informed consent in IT.
Since completing my PhD, I've worked at FUNDP Namur (Belgium) on two EU projects on ethical governance of emerging technologies, and at Middlesex University (UK) on an ESRC/EPSRC funded project on Online Child Protection.
If you’re interested in obtaining copies of any of my work please feel free to contact me.
Peer-reviewed Journal Articles
P. Goujon, C. Flick. (2010) Ethical governance for emerging ICT: opening cognitive framing and achieving reflexivity. In J. Berleur et al. (Eds.), What Kind of Information Society? Governance, Virtuality, Surveillance, Sustainability, Resilience; IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology. Springer, Volume 328/2010, p. 98-111.
B. C. Stahl, R. Heersmink, P. Goujon, C. Flick, J. van den Hoven & K. Wakunuma "Identifying the Ethics of Emerging Information and Communication Technologies: An Essay on Issues, Concepts and Method " (2011) International Journal of Technoethics, IGI Global.
C. Flick, P. Duquenoy. (Forthcoming, 2011) Protecting Children Online: Developing Sustainable Technologies. Notizie di Politeia, Italy.
B. C. Stahl, C. Flick. (2011) "ETICA Workshop on Computer Ethics: Exploring Normative Issues" In S. Fischer-Hübner, P. Duquenoy, M. Hansen, R. Leenes, & G. Zhang (Eds.), Privacy and Identity Management for Life: 6th IFIP WG 9.2, 9.6/11.7, 11.4, 11.6/PrimeLife International
C. Flick. (forthcoming, 2011) Informed Consent in Information Technology. Forthcoming in Weckert, J. (ed.) “The Importance of Being Professional: Professionalism in the ICT Industry”, ANU E-Press, Canberra, Australia.
Peer-reviewed Conference Articles
C. Flick, P. Duquenoy (2011) The Case for Development of Online Child Protection Technologies. 2011 IADIS International Conference: ICT, Society, and Human Beings, Rome, Italy.
C. Flick, P.Duquenoy (2011). Developing for Privacy in Sensitive Domains: Lessons from the Isis Project. 2011 IFIP Summer School, Trento, Italy, 5-9 September 2011.
C. Flick (2011). Bitcoin and the Dual-Use Dilemma. 2011 IFIP Summer School, Trento, Italy, 5-9 September 2011.
C. Flick, P. Duquenoy, M. Jones. (2011) “Ghostie”: An Ethical Internet Resilience Device. 2011 ETHICOMP conference, Sheffield, UK.
C. Flick, P. Duquenoy. (2011) Ethical Tensions of Online Child Protection. 2011 ETHICOMP conference, Sheffield, UK.
C.Flick, P. Duquenoy. (2011) The Ethical Case for ISIS. Technology development and social accountability: IFIP WG9.2 Workshop, January 2011.
P. Goujon, C. Flick. (2010) Conditions for a critical perspective on converging technologies: ethical and social issues. "Converging Technology Conference" an IFIP/WG9.2 international working conference, Maribor, 17-18 May 2010.
P. Goujon, C. Flick. (2010) Conditions for an effectiveness of ethical reflexivity in ICT-based projects: from theory to practice. In M. Arias-Oliva et al. (Eds.), The "Backwards, Forwards and Sideways" Changes of ICT: Proceedings of ETHICOMP 2010. Tarragona: URV Publishers, 2010. ISBN 978-84-693-0611-6.
P. Goujon, C. Flick. (2009) Conditions for a critical perspective on ambient intelligence: ethical and social issues. In G. van Steendam et al. (Eds.), Ambient intelligence and human security: embedding science in society. Brussels: IFB press, 2009. ISBN 978-90-73009-00-4.
B. C. Stahl, R. Heersmink, P. Goujon, C. Flick, J. van den Hoven, K. Wakunuma, V. Ikonen & M. Rader. (2010): "Issues, Concepts and Methods Relating to the Identification of the Ethics of Emerging ICTs" In Proceedings of the 21st International Information Management Association Annual Conference, 18-20 October 2010, Utrecht, The Netherlands
C. Flick, Informed Consent Theory in Information Technology, Proceedings of ETHICOMP Conference, Tokyo, Japan, 2007 and ETHICOMP Journal, Vol No. 2, 2008-01-30.
Posters and Panels
Panel session at eHealth Workshop, “The Internet and Social Networking: challenges for eHealth”, Middlesex University, 16-17 June 2011.
C. Flick, P. Duquenoy. (2011) “Ghostie”: An Ethical Online Child Protection Device. Poster presented at the London Hopper Colloquium, 24 May 2011.
Significant Contribution to the following European Commission Project Deliverables
ETICA project (2010): Deliverable 4.1: ICT Ethics Governance Review & Deliverable 5.10: Summer School
EGAIS project (2009): Deliverable 2.1: Grid-based Questionnaire Development & Deliverable 3.1: Ethical Governance Models, Paradigm Recognition, and Interpretation
P. Goujon & C. Flick (2010). Ethical Governance for Emerging ICTs: Opening Cognitive Framing and Achieving Ethical Reflexivity. IFIP WCC 2010 Conference, Brisbane, Australia.
P. Goujon & C. Flick (2010). Conditions for a Critical Perspective on Ambient Intelligence: Ethical and Social Issues. ICT That Makes The Difference Conference, November 2010.
C. Flick, “Thinking” Informed Consent in IT (2008). Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference, Melbourne, 2008.
C. Flick (2006). End User License Agreements and Informed Consent – An Ethical Matter? Information Age magazine (Magazine of the Australian Computing Society), 12/04/2006.
Programme Committees and Professional Memberships
Review Editor: Journal of Information, Communication, & Ethics in Society
Programme Committee: Computers, Privacy & Data Protection 2012 Conference
Programme Committee: Computers, Privacy & Data Protection 2011 Conference Book
Programme Committee: IFIP Summer School 2011
Programme Committee, Chair: 1st EDAmI Workshop, 5th International Conference on Intelligent Environments, July 2009
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)
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¹ This may not be true, but I’d like to think it is.
² Who is obviously a sucker for punishment.