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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

The article was published online in the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society on September 23 2021 by Emerald Publishing Limited

Funding disclaimer: This paper is part of the Ethics4EU project which is Co-funded by the Erasmus1 Programme of the European Union under Grant Agreement No 2019–1-IE02-KA203-000665. The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.



Computing ethics represents a long established, yet rapidly evolving, discipline that grows in complexity and scope on a near-daily basis. Therefore, to help understand some of that scope it is essential to incorporate a range of perspectives, from a range of stakeholders, on current and emerging ethical challenges associated with computer technology. This study aims to achieve this by using, a three-pronged, stakeholder analysis of Computer Science academics, ICT industry professionals, and citizen groups was undertaken to explore what they consider to be crucial computing ethics concerns. The overlap between these stakeholder groups are explored, as well as whether their concerns are reflected in the existing literature.


Data collection was performed using focus groups, and the data was analysed using a thematic analysis. The data was also analysed to determine if there were overlaps between the literature and the stakeholders’ concerns and attitudes towards computing ethics.


The results of the focus group analysis show a mixture of overlapping concerns between the different groups, as well as some concerns that are unique to each of the specific groups. All groups stressed the importance of data as a key topic in computing ethics. This includes concerns around the accuracy, completeness and representativeness of datasets used to develop computing applications. Academics were concerned with the best ways to teach computing ethics to university students. Industry professionals believed that a lack of diversity in software teams resulted in important questions not being asked during design and development. Citizens discussed at length the negative and unexpected impacts of social media applications. These are all topics that have gained broad coverage in the literature.


The multi-stakeholder analysis provides individual and differing perspectives on the issues related to the rapidly evolving discipline of computing ethics.

Social implications:

In recent years, the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on society and the environment at large has grown tremendously. From this fast-paced growth, a myriad of ethical concerns have arisen. Our analysis aims to shed light on what a diverse group of stakeholders consider the most important social impacts of technology and whether these concerns are reflected in the literature on computing ethics. The outcomes of this analysis will form the basis for new teaching content that will be developed in future to help illuminate and address these concerns.



Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union