Australian Professional and Applied Ethics Conference 2020

Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Professional & Applied Ethics (AAPAE)
Hosted by the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS)

2-3 December 2020
Online via Zoom
University of New England, Armidale NSW, Australia

‘Who’s watching? Surveillance, big data and applied ethics in the digital age.’

Over the past 20 years large institutions—be they corporations or government agencies—have developed, via the collection and use of big data sets, a remarkable ability to track and predict individual and group behaviours. The techniques are impressive and, furthermore, give rise, especially in the health arena, to many potential benefits. At the same time, there is growing unease about both (i) the surveillance this seems to involve and (ii) the growing potential for extensive manipulation of the public at large.

In this conference we would like to explore, amongst other things, the ethical implications of Big Data for us as a society and for professionals working with such data sets.

  • What, if anything, is wrong with Big Data? Are there genuine reasons for concern?
  • Does Big Data represent an unacceptable form of surveillance that threatens our freedom in a significant way?
  • What obligations might professionals working with Big Data have with respect to the obtaining of such information and the use to which this data is put?
  • From an historical point of view what distinguishes this system of data collection from earlier systems of collection? Is there something morally significant about any such differences?
  • What limits might there to the collection of such data?


Our keynote speakers are:

  • Dr Angela Daly, (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow)
  • Professor Tony Coady from University of Melbourne
  • Professor Moira Paterson from Lawe at Monash Unviersity


View or download the program (PDF).


Download the book of abstracts (PDF).


This conference will be held via Zoom. Please email Adam Piovarc to express your interest to attend and obtain the conference link and password.


For enquiries, please contact Adam Piovarchy, University of New England