Navigating Ethical Horizons: The SELP Framework of I-SEAMORE

Do maritime surveillance systems increase security or rather violate privacy rights? In the field of AI and technological development, ethics plays a crucial role in steering responsible innovation. The I-SEAMORE project, a Horizon Europe initiative focusing on maritime surveillance systems, explores this uncharted land. At its ethical core lies the Social, Ethical, Legal, and Privacy (SELP) framework, a comprehensive set of guidelines that shapes the development of the project.

SELP Guidelines: a compass for ethical excellence

Developed to inform and guide project activities, the SELP guidelines shape a robust framework that integrates ethical principles, data protection measures, and recruitment criteria, and provides partners with checklists and self-assessment tools to ensure that ethical considerations are seamlessly interlinked into the fabric of I-SEAMORE.

The SELP Guidelines are designed to consider all aspects of protection of human participants, ethics, data privacy rights and ethical research. From recruitment criteria and procedures to informed consent processes, the SELP framework sets the standard for ethical conduct within the project, by structuring requirements for ethical research in I-SEAMORE and outlining data protection and ethics principles adhering to relevant regulations such as: Regulation 2021/695 establishing Horizon Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. From theory to practice, the framework provides practical tools to achieve ethical research and aims to identify potential concerns related to ethics and data protection in the project implementation and finding mitigation measures and recommendations.

Citizens’ awareness and acceptance

Beyond its immediate impact, the SELP framework of I-SEAMORE also extends its influence into the analysis of citizens’ awareness and acceptance of EU maritime security systems. By defining the operational framework for this analysis, the guidelines play a pivotal role in shaping the project’s engagement strategy, laying the groundwork for a more inclusive and informed approach to the involvement of relevant stakeholders. To this end, the project activities will analyse citizens’ and civil society’s perception and acceptance of border surveillance technologies, their effectiveness and perceived impact. An engagement framework will be developed and tested and will be composed of: a participatory model (defining targets and methods of engagement), a participatory strategy (setting goals and objectives of engagement), and a participation action plan (defining the steps and tools to be implemented in the involvement process, as well as for monitoring and evaluation).

Towards a more responsible innovation

The SELP framework of I-SEAMORE is more than a set of guidelines, it is a commitment to ethical excellence and responsible innovation. As the project navigates the field of technological advancement, it does so with a compass calibrated to consider the broader societal implications. By embracing SELP, I-SEAMORE is not just setting standards, but also designing a blueprint for a future where ethical considerations are integrated into innovation.

The Social, Ethical, Legal and Privacy framework of I-SEAMORE is an affirmation of the project’s dedication to ensuring ethical research, data protection, and societal well-being, while striving to achieve innovation in the field of maritime surveillance systems with an ethics-by-design approach.