After a full partner meeting where the legal, anthropology and network analysis teams all presented, we have come away with the following new understandings about the project standpoint's on ethics.
While there are many systems of ethics that one can support or use to try to better understand the problems of IOT products, the ethics team at LSE has identified that 3 models are closest to our project standpoint. These models fit together as an overall framework for how we think about ethics in the project.
Virtue ethics describes an individual and personal pursuit of goodness and development of excellence.
You, as an individual have a responsibility to consider that what you build will effect society. There are different levels of values at stake here: the company, the product, and your own. How do you prioritise these values? How do you negotiate with these levels in a group?
Virtue ethics focuses on the process of "Becoming", that is, having a role model or example that you might identify as a way to become more virtuous, more ethical.
Care ethics sees our choices as part of an interconnected web of relationships, where people both directly in contact with a product as well as indirectly (through one more level of connection) are equally visible and relevant to the product.
From a structural point of view, what will allow you to do what you think of as desirable?
What can the product achieve within its financial and personnel constraints? What are the tradeoffs that must be made?
What decisions can you make? --> How could we broaden your understanding of the possibilities you have?
This point of view also has to take into account who feels they have a voice, or agency within the company to make change - also a "capability", though a more soft one than the hard financials.
This standpoint on ethics with its 3 overlapping models can help us to shape the goals of the tools we will design.
While these models may lead us to ask particular questions or use particular prompts, our tools will still use the legal team's knowledge of the GDPR and other relevant regulations in order to continuously check a participant's choices with the foundational law.