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S4AllCities Ethical and Legal Considerations

Updated: Mar 18


S4AllCities’objective is the enhancement of security for EU citizens in smart urban cities environments through the use of innovative and reliable detection technologies and cyber-physical security management systems, which will be efficiently tested during the carefully organized validation pilots. S4AllCities’ technology, knowledge and results are foreseen to have a strong societal and ethical impact. The public will strongly benefit from increased security as a result of enhanced capability and efficiency in how threats are detected, prevented and mitigated. A balancing between the importance of the smart detection technologies and the fundamental right to data protection needs to be made. In this respect, individuals’ private life and protection of their personal data are highly prioritized without compromises.

To this end, S4AllCities has established an Ethical Review Committee (ERC) chaired by the project’s Ethical Manager that meets once per month in order to discuss project-related ethical and legal issues, to identify and address any potential ethical implications and to recommend the appropriate solutions. Additionally, the project has appointed a qualified Independent Ethics Expert, whose role is to assist and closely collaborate with the ERC.All of the S4AllCities research activities that could possibly raise ethical issues, including deliverables, pilot demonstrations, surveys, workshops, are reviewed and supervised by the aforementioned ethical and legal experts.

Human participation in the project’s demonstration activities will be based on the participants’ informed consent, which is the cornerstone for research ethics; therefore, the informed consent procedures have been prepared and will be strictly followed prior to any research activity that involves humans. Recruitment criteria (inclusion and exclusion ones) have been defined. In the cases where the consent of the data subjects cannot be obtained, such as when legacy CCTV systems are used, the respective GDPR procedures will be followed by the data controllers. The data subjects’ rights will be protected via the implementation of the appropriate safeguards, i.e., technical and organizational measures. Data minimization will be implemented and anonymization mechanisms will be utilized.


Furthermore, the types of anticipated incidental findings have been identified and they will be treated in accordance with the project’s Incidental Findings Policy. The Consortium is also aware of the health and safety implications that might occur due to the use of UAVs, hence, the necessary licenses will be obtained and all relevant protective measures will be taken. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has strongly affected our lives, the Consortium will abide to the national governmental guidelines and regulations. Potential misuse of the research findings will be mitigated thanks to relevant security measures and to their constant verification.

An ethical and legal protocol will be drafted and communicated to the Consortium through a dedicated online workshop in March 2021. The scope of this workshop is the provision of guidance to all S4AllCities partners with respect to the aforementioned ethical and legal issues, most of which concern not only the research period but also the implementation phase after the project’s finalization.

In the upcoming months an Ethical and Privacy Impact Assessment will be prepared with the collaboration of the S4AllCities Consortium following an interview with the end users acting as controllers and with the technical partners involved as processors. In this way, the compliance of the project with the international, European and national framework will be assessed. The assessment will be repeated at the end of the project to ensure compliance.


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