Trilateral Insights – December 2023

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Trilateral Research |

Date: 20 December 2023

Get the latest insights from Trilateral in our new monthly article, featuring the latest developments from across our innovation and research teams.

Insights | Ethics, Human Rights and Emerging Technologies

Pioneering Ethical Horizons: Trilateral’s work in Policy and Innovation

In the EU funded TechEthos project , our team, Dr Anaïs Resseguier (Research Manager), Julie Vinders (Senior Research Analyst), and Ben Howkins (Research Analyst), were instrumental in the analysis of existing policies around new and emerging technologies, and curating policy recommendations, that were summarised into four policy briefs.

Focused on a vision of “ethics by design”, the project tackled the ethical challenges of new and emerging technologies in three areas: climate engineering, digital extended reality, and neurotechnologies. Some key recommendations for EU policymakers include:

  • The need for better understanding the scope of Solar Radiation Modification (SRM) research, clarifying definitions, evaluating its role in mitigating climate change, assessing its impact on EU fundamental rights, and collaborating internationally to ensure responsible global governance.
  • Aligning terminology, explicitly integrating fundamental rights, and outlining sustainability criteria for Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) in order to foster international collaboration, as a priority for EU policymakers;
  • When it comes to digital extended reality, highlighting the importance of advocating for the integration of ethics-by-design approaches, expanding the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and establishing regulatory instruments to address harmful online content in Extended Reality (XR) technologies.
  • Advocating for the recognition and definition of neurorights within the EU’s fundamental rights frameworks, while addressing legal status, justice, equality, and discrimination concerns in neurotechnology applications.

Read our full recommendations here.


Insights | Climate, Environment and Energy

The European Green Deal – how can citizens help shape environmental policies?

 The European Green Deal is the foundational policy for the EU’s ambition to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, without leaving people and places behind. While efforts to ensure greater citizen participation and deliberation in environmental policy are good first steps, it is still not clear what meaningful citizen engagement should look like.

Dr Agata Gurzawska, Cluster Lead of our Ethics, Human Rights and Emerging Technology Cluster, contributed to a paper that shows how policymakers can increase meaningful citizen participation in environmental policies. The paper reviews citizen participation through legal, feminist, ethicist, and political lenses to create a list of 16 criteria for meaningful citizen participation in environmental policymaking.

Key recommendations include:

  • Accounting for existing societal inequalities and power balances when forming collaborations and creating spaces for participation or deliberation,
  • Promoting and ensuring inclusiveness, to allow for a wide variety of values, beliefs, and knowledge to be considered,
  • Protecting nature to reflect the needs and importance of other species and the environment.

For more insights read the full paper here


Insights | Crisis and Security

Human rights in a crisis: a legal analysis

10 December 2023 marked the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On this occasion, Dr Orla Drummond, human rights lawyer and Senior Research Analyst at Trilateral , published a legal analysis of the human rights challenges during global emergencies and crises, using COVID-19 as a framework for her analysis.

In the report, completed for the EU funded PREPARED project, she outlines how emergency responses, or lack thereof, damage the right to health, the protection of frontline workers, perpetuate inequality and worsen the plight of our most marginalised communities. While certain health responses may require a temporary and proportionate suspension of certain rights, such as the right to liberty and freedom during COVID-19 lockdowns, human rights obligations should not be abandoned, reduced or ignored.

With the current UK COVID enquiry, understanding how government responses can shape the lives of the most vulnerable has never been more centre stage.

Understand more about how emergencies and crisis situations affect legal and human rights by reading the report here


Insights | Health

Accessible and inclusive transport – in conversation with Transport Infrastructure Ireland

Assistive technologies can transform the lives of people with disabilities. But too often, these technologies are funded, developed, and deployed without any input from the people who use them. This means that time, money, and effort is often wasted on “solutions” that don’t meet end users’ needs.

Dr Tally Hatzakis, Senior Research Analyst, from our Health Cluster addressed this challenge on Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s Accessibility Podcast earlier this year.

In the EU-funded TRIPS project, which focused on making public transport in European cities accessible and inclusive, Trilateral contributed to the development of a co-design methodology that involves people with disabilities, NGOs, transport providers, and infrastructure creators in discussions about approving the accessibility of public transit.

The methodology centres on co-creation workshops in which researchers and people with disabilities participate in brainstorming sessions to identify their needs, preferred solutions, and major challenges. Our recommendations to enable the development of accessible infrastructure include:

  • involving people with disabilities;
  • employing a social, rather than medical, approach to disability;
  • integrating accessibility requirements into green initiatives;
  • and implementing training on collaborative, rather than top-down, project management.

For more insights, listen to the podcast here


Insights | Data Science, Research and Sociotech Innovation (DARSI)

Modern slavery, human trafficking and domestic abuse – anonymising data to protect

Sensitive data can be used to help understand the best ways to tackle complex societal problems, such as modern slavery and domestic abuse. However, for the safety and privacy of victims, it is much better if this sensitive data is anonymised.

Our work in the newly launched MASC (Methods for Anonymisation in Sociotechnical Contexts) project funded by the UK’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) involves the development of an efficient data anonymisation tool, which verifies and anonymises sensitive data at scale, thus protecting the identity of individuals while efficiently processing the data in a standardised manner. Our work will contribute to developing an approach that ensures humans are kept in the loop, whilst reducing the administrative and psychological burden of manual verification and anonymisation tasks.

Additionally, the anonymisation tool will enhance the toolkit offered by STRIAD – our secure, cloud-based Ethical AI platform – to help law enforcement and other public sector agencies tackle complex societal issues such as modern slavery, human trafficking, domestic abuse, and sexual violence.

Read more about our STRIAD tools here.


Insights | Law Enforcement and Community Safeguarding

Digital trends in illicit goods trafficking and the ethics of AI-enabled responses

AI can serve as a valuable tool to enhance the productivity and response times of Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), by supporting them in the detection, analysis, and monitoring of organised crime groups and their online activities. However, it is crucial for ethical considerations, legal compliance, and societal acceptability to be considered during the design process of such AI systems, along with potential mitigation measures, to avoid unintended harms to society.

A new paper by Trilateral and our partners in the EU-funded CEASEFIRE project explores how advances in AI can allow the authorities to unravel trafficking networks. We also review legal and ethical concerns that may arise from the use of AI by LEAs, along with potential mitigation countermeasures offered by ‘Trustworthy AI’ methods.

Our recommendations for providing technically robust and trustworthy AI systems, include developing solutions that focus on three key aspects:

  • Transparency of AI models, which should be employed for both the design of the AI models and the description of the data used.
  • Reliability of AI models, identifying potential vulnerabilities and implementing appropriate technical solutions to guarantee that the system will not fail or be manipulated.
  • Protection of data in AI models, through the application of appropriate control measures to ensure the citizens’ right to privacy.

For more insights, read the full paper here.


Insights | Cybersecurity

Trilateral Research teams up with ENISA to develop Cybersecurity Market Analysis Framework

Trilateral Research Chief Research Officer, Dr David Wright, and our Cybersecurity Research Cluster lead, Dr Nikola Tomic, teamed up with the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) to create a framework for analysing the cybersecurity market.

The aims of this cybersecurity market analysis framework are to:

  • Analyse the main trends in the cybersecurity market on both the demand and supply sides, with a view to fostering the cybersecurity market in the Union,
  • Define a method to analyse cybersecurity market segments and amalgamate knowledge from the analysis,
  • Provide a guide for various stakeholders, including EU institutions, bodies and agencies, public authorities, companies, and research institutions.

Now in its second iteration, this framework will help ENISA and its stakeholders determine innovative and emerging cybersecurity fields and investment opportunities. It will also support the agency’s commitment to achieve a high level of cybersecurity across all Member States and keep the EU digitally secure through knowledge sharing, awareness raising and capacity building.

Read the report for a deeper understanding of the ENISA cybersecurity market analysis framework and how you can apply it. 


If you’d like to find out more about the ground breaking research and development we’re involved in, visit our website. If you’d like to find out more about how we could support your organisation with research and development, get in touch.

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