ELSI Workshop at ETRA 2023

With eye tracking becoming pervasive, researchers and developers face fundamental new challenges regarding privacy and ethics. However, these critical topics have only received little attention in the eye tracking community so far. An active discussion about ethical and social implications as well as issues of data privacy is important for the further development of pervasive eye tracking technology and its acceptance in society.

Negative examples from the field of social media or the very critical perspective on artificial intelligence that prevails in society and politics in Europe show that many questions need to be discussed here together with society. We are convinced that this discussion will be very important, but also very fruitful. Eye tracking offers many possibilities to improve people’s lives. Starting with applications in the medical environment for the early detection of serious eye diseases or neuronal disorders, to the massive saving of CO2 emissions through work meetings in virtual reality with optimal user experience supported by eye tracking, to novel assistance systems in the interaction with vehicles or other machines.

With all these applications, the question remains: how can we systematically organise a discussion on the critical aspects of this fascinating technology?

A first step was the foundation of a working group during the seminar “Ubiquitous Gaze Sensing and Interaction” at Schloss Dagstuhl in summer 2018. Starting from then, we organised a panel discussion at ETRA 2019 together with scientists from the community, followed by a very successful workshop series since 2021. A special highlight was our first article “Privacy-Aware Eye Tracking: Challenges and Future Directions” together with Céline Gressel, Rebekah Overdorf, Inken Hagenstedt, Murat Karaboga, Helmut Lurtz and Andreas Bulling, presenting a first stocktaking on this topic, which was published in the Journal IEEE Pervasive Computing 2023 earlier this year.



Again this year, about 30 scientists from different fields of eye-tracking met during the ETRA conference in Tübingen to discuss issues of privacy and ethics. Many new contacts and further points of contact were made.

We are looking forward to advancing this topic with the community and are excited about the next events and articles that will be published on this topic.