Content and Comparative Analysis of the 83 Abstracts Approved for the ETHICOMP 2010

Lucia Tello, Amaya Noain and Porfirio Barroso


The year 2010 we will be celebrating the eleventh edition of ETHICOMP (Ethics and Computer). Ten past or gone by editions in which this congress has become one of the most important and relevant congresses in the world about Computer Ethics and it has also become a central reference within the field of Computer Ethics. Some time has passed since the first edition that took place at the University of Leicester UK in 1995. We organized the second ETHICOMP in 1996 at Madrid, Spain. Many papers have been sent along with over 700 documents. Due to this wealth of material, it is necessary to do a qualitative and a quantitative analysis of the 82 Abstracts sent and approved in the year 2009, for the ETHICOMP 2010, in order to present next April in Spain.

This research aims to illustrate how many items appear and how many times, which is the frequency in decrees order from our 20 themes as a model of Computer Ethics subject. That topics or principles are the 20 lesson we teach in our Computer Ethics and Internet Ethics classes. This research we did with a numerous group of Official European Master Degree students and we will present as a full paper, we know in the decrees order which is the first and the last topics and we can present in a figure or table our all results.

Our methodology is a quantitative research on all 82 abstract approved to the next ETHICOMP 2010 in April in Spain. This group of students working, firstly translating the abstracts, from English language into Spanish, because not all the students know English language quite well, and all of them have to participate in our research. After have translated all the 82 abstracts we deepening on the idea, it would not be wrong to point out that the main objective of this article is to discover the key to the growth and development of the some topics more frequent than another. For example the PAPA (Privacy, Accuracy, Property and Access) appear more than another themes of the 20 we have in our catalogue or programmed. That is, we need to do an analysis of all abstracts sent to the ETHICOMP 2010. To accomplish this task, the chosen material could be no other than the 82 abstracts. Work that would allow us to extract the entire database from which we can perform our quantitative analysis from the point of view content and comparative analysis of all the abstracts presented and approved. We continued to the reading, analysis, and categorization of all articles submitted. This process was conducted in a systematic way to extract patterns and common modes of analysis to frame all presented abstracts in a series of common levels comparable among them. To accomplish such a task, we developed a thematic categorization of the abstracts according to a series of 20 ethical principles that served as a basis on which to frame and observe the range of thematic categories that appeared more frequently over the 82 abstracts.

Findings: Computers and Ethics. Computer and Internet have enlightened many people but these technologies have also raised some ethical issues such as intellectual property, privacy and intimacy invasion, unauthorized access for children, rich and poor, men and women, young and old people, and use of computer systems. Mason (1986) was summarized ethical issues related to information technology usage by means of an acronym – PAPA (Privacy, Accuracy, Property, and Accessibility). Intellectual Property is one of the major ethical issues that have arisen in the context of information technology usage. Software piracy is globally widespread phenomena and costs software manufacturers billions of dollars annually. The ease of copying software has made the issue of piracy very well-known and widespread around the world. We got from our study on the abstracts of ETHICOMP 2010, on the PAPA, that the topic more frequent is Privacy second is Property or Intellectual Property, the third one is Access and the last one is Accuracy in the information. In the full paper we will show our results in decrees order in a table the most quantitative topics of the 20 one. What will be in the last place of the figure and what will be in the middle of the table?

Research limitation/implication: Although our research is limited to 82 abstracts presented already to the ETHICOMP 2010 and it is in a very specific context, we consider that this study will be very interesting, firstly to the organizers, conference directors, programmer committee, reviewers and finally to all presenters.

Practical implications: The paper calls attention to the need of discussing what are the more frequent and less frequent topics or themes are presented already in the next ETHICOMP 2010 in Spain, attending of the summary or minutes presented for the authors in their abstracts.

Originality/value: The paper contributes to know and show what are the themes or original topics that the authors in ETHICOMP 2010 are researching or teaching or they are working in them.


Ali Acilar, Muzaffer Aydemir Student Attitudes On Software Piracy- The Gender Factor: A Case Of A Public University In An Emerging Country (This abstract is presented and approved for the ETHICOMP 2010 and we inspire on it and we quot here)

Barroso Porfirio (2007) Etica y Deontologia Informatica. Editorial Fragua, Madrid, 134 pages.

Barroso Porfirio and Gonzalez Mario (2009) Education On Informatics Ethics: A Challenge To Social Development (Abstract presented and appraoved to ETHICOMP 2010).

Harris Albert L. (2000). IS Ethical Attitudes Among College Students: A Comparative Study. The Proceedings of the Information Systems Education Conference, 2000, v. 17.

Mason Richard O. (1986). Four Ethical Issues of the Information Age. Management Information Systems Quarterly, Volume 10, Number 1, 5–12.