29. April – 04. Mai 2018, Dagstuhl-Seminar 18181

Towards Accountable Systems


David Eyers (University of Otago, NZ)
Christopher Millard (Queen Mary University of London, GB)
Margo Seltzer (Harvard University – Cambridge, US)
Jatinder Singh (University of Cambridge, GB)

Auskunft zu diesem Dagstuhl-Seminar erteilt

Dagstuhl Service Team


Gemeinsame Dokumente


Technology is putting our everyday lives under continuous scrutiny, such as through monitoring and surveillance by our phones or sensors in smart cities. At the same time, the actuation capabilities of the emerging Internet of Things add a new dimension, by allowing systems to directly affect the physical world. This, coupled with the integration of data analytics and machine learning techniques into system workflows is moving us into an increasingly automated world.

It follows that the legal and policy concerns regarding technology are increasing in salience and prominence; there are real issues regarding privacy, transparency, agency and safety as they relate to the systems underpinning society, and the data that drives them.

Accountability, however, is hindered by the nature of the technology. Systems tend to be "black boxes" that operate in a manner "invisible" to those who are affected by them. Data can easily move across both administrative and geo-political boundaries, often without a trace. The structure and composition of the systems-of-systems involved can be dynamic and complex, and the internals of data analytics techniques are often opaque. This means that even where regulations are fit-for-purpose, ascertaining compliance is difficult, although accountability is still essential.

This Dagstuhl Seminar brings together experts from the computer science and law communities, from academia and industry, to explore these important and timely challenges. Specifically, the aim is to both raise awareness of and establish new research directions concerning the accountability of systems, given directions in systems technologies; developing legal and regulatory requirements; and evolving user expectations.

Law, regulation and requirements for data management, security, confidentiality, quality and provenance should be defined with technological enforcement in mind: technologists should be legally-aware and lawyers should be technology-aware.

The more specific goals of the seminar concern providing the foundations for moving forward, and are envisaged to include:

  • developing a series of concrete use-cases to illustrate the issues and challenges and to shape future research directions regarding accountable systems;
  • categorising the various challenges as a taxonomy or ontology, with specific use-cases provided for the sake of illustration;
  • identifying the opportunities and gaps for data management and security technologies for aligning with current and emerging law and regulation (and vice-versa); and
  • considering the consequences of an increasingly automated ("algorithmic") society and the physicality of systems, to identify the legal/social transparency and control requirements in light of the potential harms that can result, and their relation to technical means for inspection and intervention.

  Creative Commons BY 3.0 DE
  David Eyers, Christopher Millard, Margo Seltzer, and Jatinder Singh


  • Security / Cryptology
  • Society / Human-computer Interaction
  • World Wide Web / Internet


  • Security and privacy
  • Law and regulation
  • Cloud computing
  • Internet of Things
  • Compliance and audit


Bücher der Teilnehmer 

Buchausstellung im Erdgeschoss der Bibliothek

(nur in der Veranstaltungswoche).


In der Reihe Dagstuhl Reports werden alle Dagstuhl-Seminare und Dagstuhl-Perspektiven-Workshops dokumentiert. Die Organisatoren stellen zusammen mit dem Collector des Seminars einen Bericht zusammen, der die Beiträge der Autoren zusammenfasst und um eine Zusammenfassung ergänzt.


Download Übersichtsflyer (PDF).


Es besteht weiterhin die Möglichkeit, eine umfassende Kollektion begutachteter Arbeiten in der Reihe Dagstuhl Follow-Ups zu publizieren.

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