Workshop WG5: Creating a citizens’ information pack on ethical and legal issues around ICTs: what should be included?

WG5: Creating a citizens’ information pack on ethical and legal issues around ICTs: what should be included?


Photo by CA15212

Type: Working Group Meeting
Location: Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Berlin
Date: 9th - 10th March, 2020 (to coincide with the Open Science Forum in Berlin)
Duration: 2 day
Status: Registration runs (from 11/30/2019 until 01/31/2020)
Contact: Jaume Piera, Karen Soacha, Katherin Wagenknecht, Tim Woods
Deadline for applications: until 01/31/2020


Changes to the EU’s regulations regarding ICT-based research and innovation are creating a new scenario, one to which stakeholders, policymakers and citizens must adapt - as soon as possible. This is likely to be difficult, however. PANELFIT, a European Commission research project (Grant Agreement 788039), is facilitating this adaptation process.

As part of its communication and outreach activities, PANELFIT will create a citizens’ information pack explaining the ethical and legal issues related to data protection and security. Due for completion in September 2021, this will be written in a simple, accessible style and available in four languages (English, Italian, German, Spanish). It will include different types of materials (guidelines, leaflets, interviews, videos, etc.) and be available on the PANELFIT website. A separate version will be tailored to the needs of vulnerable populations within Europe.

It is expected that the information pack will include a ‘how to’ guide for different citizens and citizens’ groups (NGOs, volunteer groups, citizen scientists, etc.). This will be a step-by-step guide outlining what they need to do to comply with the new EU regulations, in terms of data management and data protection.

This workshop is designed and implemented in cooperation with COST Action Working Group (WG) 5 (‘Improve data standardisation and interoperability’) for several reasons. Firstly, WG5 has been working on issues around data standardisation and data interoperability for some time, and the knowledge and insights they have acquired are a central resource for addressing ethical and legal issues, and in developing the citizens’ information pack. Secondly, this cooperation guarantees the results of WG5 will continue to be available in the future (after the COST Action funding period ends in July 2020). This joint workshop will be relevant to a number of debates on themes around legal frameworks and citizen science, and offers an opportunity to transfer the knowledge gained through the COST Action further, and to make it visible in concrete applications.

As citizen science projects often collect, store and process data, the citizens’ information pack will be especially relevant to this sector. This workshop is therefore also being held in cooperation with the EU-Citizen-Science project, which is building a central platform for citizen science in Europe. This platform will be a place to share useful resources about citizen science (e.g. tools and guidelines, best practice examples, training modules) and it is hoped that it will be one place to disseminate the citizens’ information pack more widely.

Aims and outcomes of the workshop

The aim of this workshop is to ask the end users of the information pack (i.e. citizens and citizens’ groups) a number of questions, including:

  • What do you know about the EU・s GDPR, and what actions have you taken in response to these regulations?
  • What challenges are you experiencing in ensuring the protection and security of your project data, within existing data management processes/systems?
  • What information/tools/resources do you need to overcome these challenges?
  • What are the best formats/channels for receiving, sharing and acting upon this information?

By the end of the workshop, we expect to have a better understanding of:

  • the challenges and needs of CSOs, NGOs, activists, etc. relating to compliance with the GDPR, and how the citizen's information pack can help to address these
  • how to present information focused on vulnerable communities・ GDPR rights and the data management issues they face
  • the most appropriate structure and format(s) for the citizens・ information pack.

The findings will guide the final content and style of the citizens’ information pack, so that it meets the expressed needs from citizens. This will be fed back to PANELFIT’s Engagement, Communication and Dissemination Board, which is drafting an editorial plan for the citizens’ information pack.

This workshop supports the aims of WG5 of the COST Action by contributing towards a framework - namely, legal and ethical requirements for citizen science projects, and the data they collect, store and share - for "the exploitation of the potential of European citizens for science and innovation". The end product of the process - the citizens’ information pack - will "identify and enhance good practices that can be applied to [citizen science] projects in different areas" and support efforts to "explore ways for integrating data and knowledge collated through [citizen science] initiatives and suggest mechanisms for standardisation, interoperability and quality control".


Day 1

 9 March 2020 (to coincide with the Open Science Forum in Berlin)


Welcome lunch and introductions


Session 1: Introduction to PANELFIT


Session 2: Challenges faced regarding data use and management


(NB this session will build upon the Gendersec Curricula outlined by Tactical Tech)

  • Personal and organizational
  • Categorise into ‘major’ and ‘minor’ challenges (with further/alternative categories also allowed)



Coffee break


Session 3: Quiz about GDPR, legal issues and data management


  • What do people know?
  • The aim is to set a benchmark of knowledge, and also to keep the event engaging


Session 4: Initial brainstorm - what needs to be in a citizens’ info pack?


  • Summary based on the discussions held, to capture the main findings from the day


Wrap up of Day 1


Evening meal (A nearby restaurant; this could be followed by a visit to the Berlin Wall or a beer garden etc.)


Day 2

 10 March 2020 (to coincide with the Open Science Forum in Berlin)




Recap of day 1


Session 5: Vulnerable populations in Europe


  • Who are they?
  • How can we support their rights?
  • What needs to be included in the citizens’ information pack for these groups?


Coffee break


Session 6: Drafting the citizens’ information pack


  • Group work to create an initial structure and suggested content to feed to the PANELFIT editorial board




End of the workshop

How to Apply

Applicants are requested to:

  • Fill out the application form 
  • Prepare and upload a 250-word motivation letter, expressing their interest in the workshop.
  • Prepare and upload a short CV - max 2 pages. In the same document containing the CV, if applicable, describe also their role/contribution in/to the COST Action 15212 (e.g., Working Group Member, contributor to a publication, etc.).
    Please upload your CV and motivation letter in the application form!

The organizing committee will assess the eligible contributions following these criteria:

  • Expertise relevant to this workshop (max. 5 score points).
  • Interest of the submitted contribution to the WG and Action goals (max. 5 score points)
Monday, March 9, 2020 - 12:30 to Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 13:00
Museum für Naturkunde
Invalidenstr. 43
10115 Berlin