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Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 251–264 | Cite as

Privacy, Deontic Epistemic Action Logic and Software Agents

An Executable Approach to Modeling Moral Constraints in Complex Informational Relationships
  • V. WiegelEmail author
  • M. J. Van den Hoven
  • G. J. C. Lokhorst
Article

Abstract

In this paper we present an executable approach to model interactions between agents that involve sensitive, privacy-related information. The approach is formal and based on deontic, epistemic and action logic. It is conceptually related to the Belief-Desire-Intention model of Bratman. Our approach uses the concept of sphere as developed by Waltzer to capture the notion that information is provided mostly with restrictions regarding its application. We use software agent technology to create an executable approach. Our agents hold beliefs about the world, have goals and commitment to the goals. They have the capacity to reason about different courses of action, and communicate with one another. The main new ingredient of our approach is the idea to model information itself as an intentional agent whose main goal it is to preserve the integrity of the information and regulate its dissemination. We demonstrate our approach by applying it to an important process in the insurance industry: applying for a life insurance.

In this paper we will: (1) describe the challenge organizational complexity poses in moral reasoning about informational relationships; (2) propose an executable approach, using software agents with reasoning capacities grounded in modal logic, in which moral constraints on informational relatio nships can be modeled and investigated; (3) describe the details of our approach, in which information itself is modeled as an intentional agent in its own right; (4) test and validate it by applying it to a concrete ‘hard case’ from the insurance industry; and (5) conclude that our approach upholds and offers potential for both research and practical application.

Keywords

action logic deontic epistemic insurance privacy software agents 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Wiegel
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. J. Van den Hoven
    • 1
  • G. J. C. Lokhorst
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Policy, Technology and ManagementTechnical University DelftDelftThe Netherlands

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