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EDBT Panel

Database Technology and Behavior, Security, Ethics, Rights and Duties of Citizens

Chair: Stefano Ceri (Politecnico di Milano).
Panelists: Serge Abiteboul (INRIA, ENS Paris), Sihem Amer-Yahia (CNRS, Grenoble), Carlo Batini (Univ. Bicocca, Milano), Juan Carlos de Martin (Politecnico di Torino), and Julia Stoyanovich (Drexel University).


Wednesday, March 22, 2017
[16:15-17:45, Teatro Hall]


The panel collects points of view about behavior, security and ethics - both in the broad context of ICT and with a focus on data management. The panel is in memory of Umberto Serafini, a strong contributor to the creation of the EDBT Endowment when the first EDBT Conference took place in Venice in 1988, who dedicated his life to the European Union and to human rights. The panel will show that many diverse ethical aspects go along with extending database technology and ICT, deserving awareness and discussion within our community.

Stefano Ceri will deal with genomic data management – why is it an important big data problem and which ethics problems are associated with genetic testing, discrimination, ownership and consent of use. Juan Carlos de Martin will discuss the topic from the point of view of Internet Rights, with specific reference to the Declaration of Internet Rights published by a study commission of the Italian Parliament in July 2015. Serge Abiteboul will focus on biases in data analysis, by surveying different means of mitigating them: policy, law, education, business models, and technology. Julia Stoyanovich will argue that fairness, accountability and transparency (FAT) go hand-in-hand, and that addressing them requires a holistic systems treatment, exemplified through the Fides project. Sihem Amer-Yahia will also raise fairness and transparency questions in the context of crowdsourcing. She will describe unfair and opaque scenarios in task assignment and task completion, and defend the ideas of an axiomatic approach to fairness grounded in Labor and Corporate Laws and of a declarative approach to transparency, grounded in database work. Finally, Carlo Batini will broadly discuss the unequal perceptions of (open) data utility w.r.t. the quality of life, though use cases, and will conclude by advocating a worldwide big effort of alphabetization, in which informatics, statistics, sociology, economics and ethics coalesce.

Panelists are asked to bring controversy and open a live discussion - we anticipate two controversial questions that were raised among panelists during preparation: “Too much ethics kills ethics, operationalizing fairness is a hopeless cause”. Will the panelists and audience agree?