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Researching compliant and accountable systems

Dr Jatinder Singh
Trust & Technology Initiative; Department of Computer Science and Technology

The “Compliant and Accountable Systems” research group takes an interdisciplinary (tech-legal) approach towards issues of governance, agency, accountability and trust regarding emerging technologies.

ICT continues to underpin everyday life. But what happens when it fails? How are those responsible held to account when things go wrong? How can we even determine who is responsible? How do we manage such risks? Can technologies be interrogated to ensure they are fit for purpose before deployment?

Such questions are particularly pertinent, as systems become gradually more pervasive and complex; technical environments progressively more data driven, autonomous and physical; and as visions of smart cities, smart homes and the Internet of Things become a reality.

In line with this, we see that technology is increasingly the subject of public discussion and regulatory attention - the EU General Data Protection Regulation is a prominent example. There is growing demand for improving levels of accountability regarding the technology that influences everyday life, not least as ICT/data related scandals are reported most daily.

Issues of compliance and accountability directly relate to trust, as they are key to both the adoption and public acceptance of technology, and to ensuring that the technologies deployed are, and remain, appropriate and fit for purpose, align with social norms, where those responsible can be held to account when and where necessary.

Towards this, the newly formed Compliant and Accountable Systems research group works to better aligning technology with legal concerns, and vice-versa. The team, based at the Department of Computer Science & Technology, is multi-disciplinary, consisting of computer scientists and lawyers. Its focus is to tackle these socio-technical issues, by (a) exploring technical responses to legal problems, (b) providing legal input to guide technology development, (c) developing technical means facilitating compliance and accountability, and (d) interrogating legal frameworks for new and emerging ICT.

Core research team

Dr Jennifer Cobbe
Dr Heleen Janssen
Dr Chris Norval
Dr Jatinder Singh

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