Ethical Framework for a Disaster Management Decision Support System Which Harvests Social Media Data on a Large Scale

  • Damian Jackson
  • Carlo Aldrovandi
  • Paul Hayes
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 233)


This paper presents preliminary results of ongoing research on the ethics of using social media on a large scale in disaster management.

To date social media use by disaster response agencies has been relatively ad-hoc. The Slándáil project aims to build a system for harvesting publicly available data from social media and using it in an ethically responsible and appropriate way to enhance the response of emergency services to natural disaster.

The ethical framework draws on the traditions of Isaiah Berlin’s value pluralism and Giorgio Agamben’s State of Exception in its approach. Value pluralism relates to an understanding that every pluralist society is organized around several and different sets of values and traditions. State of Exception theory is concerned with ethical consequences that arise when governments or state agencies arrogate to themselves extra powers in response to extraordinary circumstances, such as a natural disaster.

The implications of these ethical approaches for the Slándáil system are examined and discussed according to their impact on the various stakeholders: the system end-users, the public at large, the state and the emergency responders themselves. Implications for the technical design and governance of the system are also deduced and evaluated.


Ethics Value pluralism State of exception Disaster management Social media 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Irish School of EcumenicsTrinity College DublinDublinIreland

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