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uni'wissen 1-2013_ENG

because it would reveal the purpose of my trip.” This would place restrictions on our freedom. Volkmann now plans to develop a scale of assessment to determine the severity of various violations of the private sphere. This will involve taking the entire checkpoint into consideration, as he explains: “A technology is not good or bad in and of itself. The important thing is whether the system as a whole keeps the risks inherent in that technology to a minimum.” Full­body scan­ ners, for instance, could be used only in the case that another detector sounds the alarm – and then the passenger could be given a chance to choose to be patted down by hand instead. Besides, newly developed full­body scanners no longer show a realistic image but only a stick figure on which any deviations they find are superimposed. A similar method is being devel­ oped for luggage: “Familiar objects, such as clothes, will not appear on the screen anymore.” From an ethical standpoint, Volkmann also advo­ cates considering carefully whether it wouldn’t be better to do without data collection at check­ points. “Then there wouldn’t be any risk of misuse.” When the software is ready, it will be tested in practice: The researchers are setting up demon­ stration checkpoints at airports in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Manchester, Great Britain, in order to test the program and evaluate their own work: Is it possible to implement the design rec­ ommendations? Are the predictions regarding security, costs, operational procedures, and eth­ ics correct? “We will have volunteer test subjects pass through the checkpoints and then answer questions,” says Volkmann. The researchers hope the software will provide an assessment of consequences and show alterna­ tives. Deciding how the security checkpoints of the future will actually look, however, is not within the bounds of the project. “That is a job for politicians, and aspects that aren’t governed by political decisions are up to the designers.” Sebastian Volkmann has worked at the Husserl Archive and the Centre for Society and Security of the University of Freiburg since May 2012. Upon complet- ing a degree in Philosophy, English, and Political Science at the University of Freiburg, he served initially as a research assistant in the project “Universality and Acceptance Potential of Societal Knowledge” at the Institute of Sociology. He then studied the ethical assessment of surveillance technologies as a research assistant at the Centre for Security and Society, before joining the project XP-DITE on 1 September 2012. Volkmann is writing a dissertation at the Depart- ment of Philosophy under Prof. Dr. Hans-Helmuth Gander. His topic is “Secu- rity and the Public Sphere: Principles of an Open Society as Guidelines for Applied Security Ethics.” Photo: private Further Reading Gander, H.­H./Perron, W./Poscher, R., et al. (Eds.) (2012): Resilienz in der offenen Gesell­ schaft. Symposium des Centre for Security and Society. Baden­Baden (= Sicherheit und Gesellschaft 1). Volkmann, S. (in press): Sicherheitsethik. Ver­ such der Bestimmung einer Bereichsethik im Lichte neuerer Sicherheitstechnologien. In: Gander, H.­H./Riescher, G. (Eds.): Sicherheit in einer offenen Gesellschaft. Baden­Baden (= Sicherheit und Gesellschaft). All the same, Volksmann intends to make his findings available to the public on the internet as a way of contributing to the public debate. Transferring Methods to Other Contexts The scope of Volksmann’s dissertation proj­ ect at the Husserl Archive is broader: On the one hand he is using checkpoints as a model to describe how security ethics can assess the consequences of technology and make practical recommendations to decision­makers. The goal is to transfer the methods to other contexts. On the other hand, he aims to give the typology of ethical problems he developed a deeper philo­ sophical dimension by considering it from the perspective of the individual. “XP­DITE is work­ ing with abstract concepts like the right to travel and the private sphere. I want to find out what these concepts mean, what role they play for our perception, and why some people are affected more strongly by violations of privacy than oth­ ers.” It’s not enough for the philosopher that his typology proves successful when used in the software: “I can build a house and be happy that it’s stable, but I want to understand why this is so.” New scanners show stick figures instead of realistic naked images of the passengers. This makes the technology less controversial from an ethical perspective. Photo: Marem/Fotolia 15