Developing participatory solutions for ethical and legal challenges of new information technologies

Technical innovations and new regulations lead to permanent changes in the IT landscape. Society, politics, and the economy are expected to adapt quickly to these new conditions. The EU project PANELFIT has contributed to shaping these adaptation processes in such a way that innovation potentials can be used without restrictions on fundamental rights and security. ITA was mainly responsible for the topic area of security and cyber security.

PANELFIT (Participatory Approaches to a New Ethical and Legal Framework for ICT) supports adaptation processes to new technical possibilities and legal frameworks with a set of freely  accessible guidelines. These guidelines are intended to serve as operational rules to reduce ethical and legal problems posed by information and communication technologies while fostering innovation and market growth. These guidelines were developed in a comprehensive, participatory co-creation process.

Commercialization of data, informed consent, and security as key issues

The commercialisation of data is constantly increasing and benefits from ambiguities about the regulation of such activities. A careless approach to the principle of informed consent to data processing is a worrying practice, leading among other things, to a widespread loss of control over one's own data. Security breaches open up access to the sensitive personal data of thousands and thousands of EU citizens. PANELFIT has focused its work mainly on these three issues. PANELFIT's findings offer assistance in enforcing existing legal regulations, discussing the need for adaptation, and identifying regulatory gaps.

Instruments and activities

  • The PANELFIT Guidelines, designed as a handbook with information on the regulatory framework for ethical and legal issues in ICT data protection.
  • A critical analysis of the EU legal framework, in particular ethical issues not adequately addressed in the GDPR and pending legal issues within EU regulations.
  • The creation of an interactive platform for mutual learning that serves as a reference forum for researchers, stakeholders, and policymakers.
  • A series of activities dedicated to improving knowledge of the new legal framework and ethical and legal issues in selected communities - such as research and journalism - and among citizens in general. To this end, PANELFIT has developed handbooks, codes of conduct, and information kits and organised a variety of participation and dissemination initiatives, including monthly chats, MOOC courses, information and teaching events, and public debates.

This EU project is coordinated by the Universidad del Pais Vasco (UPV) and comprises twelve other European partner institutions from the fields of technology assessment, university and academic research, IT consulting, citizen science, research ethics, data protection, media and consulting.

Own events

A complete overview of the courses, workshops and conferences organized by PanelFit is available on the PanelFit homepage:


11/2018 - 04/2022

Project management

  • Johann Čas