Designing Disaster Mobilities (May 2014, Pennsylvania USA)

Dates: 18-21 May 2014
Location: Penn State University, USA
Deadline for submissions: 15 November 2013

ISCRAM 2014: ELSI in Crises: Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues of IT Supported Emergency Response

We invite practitioner reports, academic papers, and demonstrations of technologies that address ethical, legal and social opportunities and challenges of IT supported crisis management in all phases.

This track explores critical ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) and innovative responses in practice, policy, and IT design with a view to emergent technology for mobilizing crisis response and management.

Emergent technologies such as dedicated Emergency Management Information Systems (EMIS), cloud computing, mesh networking, mobile and wearable devices, environmental sensors, drones, robots, decision support systems, information visualization, social network and big data analytics can support more agile and better coordinated response and, as highlighted by the conference theme, approaches that engage citizens and communities more effectively in all phases of crisis management and the co-creation of services.

At the same time, challenging ethical, legal and social concerns arise. In a situation of crisis, decision-makers are likely to face complex ethical judgments under great uncertainty, time pressure, and heightened public scrutiny. Information technologies can ease, but also exacerbate these pressures. Crises can trigger exceptions to normal rules and even suspend democratic processes. Information systems can extend the reach and depth of such exceptions, for example through unprecedented possibilities of collecting, processing and sharing of personal data. Such processing may violate people’s privacy or lead to ‘false positives’; it may become difficult to both institute and ‘roll back’ interoperability between ‘smart city’, ‘e-government’, ‘e-healthcare’ and crisis management information systems and information sharing practices. ‘Empowering citizens and communities’ with the support of information systems does not come without dangers, for example of raising expectations, and of strengthening old and creating new digital divides. Co-creation of services can introduce new responsibilities, liabilities and frictions between governmental, professional, volunteer and citizen responders. Legal regulations are needed, but their complexity may be overwhelming and prevent actors from sharing data when they could effectively and legitimately do so. At a societal level, new capabilities of information processing have raised concerns over a creeping ‘securitization’ of everyday life.

We invite practitioner reports, academic papers, and demonstrations of technologies that address ethical, legal and social opportunities and challenges of IT supported crisis management in all phases. The aim should be to enhance understanding of the promises, premises and risks involved, and to inform constructive socio-technical innovation.

Track topics
Track topics include, but are not limited to:

•       Data sharing, data protection, transformations of privacy
•       Privacy by design, design for privacy, privacy preserving technologies
•       Cloud computing – availability, resilience, capacity, security
•       IT supported logging and professional integrity
•       Technology dependence, technology failure and liability
•       Digital divides and exclusion: citizens, non-citizens, communities, responders
•       Proactive law, IT support for reasoning about and negotiation of legitimacy, transparency and accountability
•       Open Data, OpenStack, Open Source
•       Opportunities and challenges of ‘service co-creation’ and ‘crisis informatics’ and volunteering, including liability
•       Societal issues such as surveillance/sousveillance, militarization of everyday life, culture of fear
•       Comparative studies of ELSI in different countries

To Submit a paper or panel proposal
Use the template provided on the web site Upload to the ELSI track on the conference platform, to be announced on the website.  If you have questions about whether your paper or panel fits in this track, please send your title and abstract to, along with any questions.

Important Dates
15th    November 2013   Deadline for full paper submissions and panel proposals (decision by January 6th)
13th    January 2014    Deadline for work-in-progress papers, practitioner papers, posters, doctoral student  colloquium papers (decision by February 10)
7th     February 2014   FINAL camera-ready papers for long papers
24th    February 2014   FINAL camera-ready papers for short papers
15th    March 2014      Final decisions made by program and scientific committee, and authors notified

Track Chair and Co-Chairs
Monika Buscher*, Senior Lecturer, Mobilities.Lab, Lancaster University, *Corresponding Chair
Catherine Easton, Law School, Lancaster University,
Michael Liegl, Senior Research Fellow, Mobilities.Lab, Lancaster University,
Caroline Rizza, Associate Professor, Telecom Paristech, Paris,,
Hayley Watson, Associate Partner at Trilateral Research & Consulting, London.
Zeno Franco, Assistant Professor, Department of Family & Community Medicine, Clinical & Translational Science Institute, Community Engagement Key Function, Medical College of Wisconsin,

For further information, please visit or contact Monika

About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is

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