International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)

Research Focus Security Ethics

The idea and need for security ethics is based on the observation that security has become a central social value, which is actively demanded at various levels and in different areas of society. At the same time, security actions are both multifaceted and complex and categories, actors and political tools are subject to constant change. This insight is reflected in the concept of security itself, which has become multidimensional and ubiquitous and therefore requires an ethical analysis.

The research focus on Security Ethics, which is unique in Germany, was launched in 2006 following a growing research interest in the future requirements of aviation security. By dealing with ethical issues e.g. concerning the use of body scanners, surveillance and video tracking, the foundation was laid for a systematic examination of value-related issues in the context of security actions. The ethical expertise developed has been further incorporated into numerous German and European research projects. Currently, in addition to an ethical monitoring of technology development, researchers at the research focus are also working on projects that critically examine security in different social contexts.

Security itself is thereby addressed as a material and symbolic dimension of “culture” and is therefore reflected beyond individual security decisions, actions and techniques. The “value” of security is thus reflected against the background of questions of “morally right actions” and the idea of a “good life”. In this vein, it is closely associated with other projects and influences other projects in the Ethics Centre’s research on Society, Culture and Technological Change. The participating researchers come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds: Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Theology and Law.

Current Projects

  • FLORIDA: Flexible, semi-automatic Analysis System for the Evaluation of Mass Video Data
  • HEIMDALL: Multi-Hazard Cooperative Management Tool for Data Exchange, Response Planning and Scenario Building Project description
  • KOPHIS: Strengthening the context of people in need of care and/or help
  • Participation in the organisation of the Postgraduate Network ‘Civil Security’ of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
  • A list of completed projects can be found in the archive section.

Selected Publications and Project Outcomes

Completed Projects

A list of completed research projects pursued by the Research Focus Security Ethics can be found in the archive section.