WebSci'20 Workshop: Socio-technical AI systems for defence, cybercrime and cybersecurity (STAIDCC20)

This workshop (hosted by WebSci'20 conference) will bring together a mixture of inter-disciplinary researchers and practitioners working in defence, cybercrime and cybersecurity application areas to discuss and explore the challenges and future research directions around socio-technical AI systems. The aim is to showcase where the state of the art is in socio-technical AI, charting a path around issues including transparency, trustworthiness, explaining bias and error, incorporating human judgment and ethical frameworks for deployment of socio-technical AI in the future.


A key aspect of the Web Science conference is exploring the socio-technical challenges of deploying AI technologies in the web for use in interdisciplinary ways. We propose a workshop to explore the wider issues around socio-technical AI systems being deployed in the critical areas of defence, cybercrime and cybersecurity.

Law enforcement, cybersecurity and defence applications of AI often involve decision making that can have significant human impact. Such decisions need support from robust tools and intelligence products, where potential for bias, error and missing data is made clear so that decisions made can be both informed and proportionate.

The web is increasingly being used for open source Intelligence (OSINT), with online posts, images and videos being analysed, data mined, verified and then included as evidence within intelligence products. AI is critical to tackle the extreme volumes of data from the web, allowing filtering, summarizing and modelling for use by human analysts and decision makers. However, AI must be deployed with care and need to be trusted along with the bias/error of results being understood.

Socio-technical AI systems offer the chance for 'human in the loop' solutions, overcoming some of the problems associated with black box AI. This workshop will provide a platform for researchers and practitioners to come together, showcasing where the state of the art in socio-technical AI currently is, and identifying as a group the key challenges and future research directions that are most important in the short and medium term for defence, cybercrime and cybersecurity.

STAIDCC20 is a half day virtual workshop held in conjunction with WebSci'20. The workshop will host an interesting mix of inter-disciplinary researchers and practitioners working in defence, cybercrime and cybersecurity application areas. The WebSci'20 registration fee is nominal (50 pounds) and covers all conference and workshops sessions including STAIDCC20.

List of topics

We invite researchers and practitioners to submit papers on this non-exhaustive list of topics:

- Transparency and trustworthiness of socio-technical AI
- Understanding and explaining bias and error in socio-technical AI
- Methodologies to incorporate human judgment into socio-technical AI
- Ethical frameworks for deployment of socio-technical AI
- Case studies of socio-technical AI deployments and practitioners' reports

Submission guidelines

All papers must be original and not simultaneously submitted to another journal or conference. Short papers are invited of at most 6 pages. The limit of pages includes the references. The authors shall adopt the current ACM SIG Conference proceedings template (acmart.cls), which is available at ACM guidelines. All contributions will be judged by the Program Committee upon rigorous peer review standards for quality and fit to the workshop. We will adopt a single-blind review process. Do not anonymize your submissions. Submissions without authorship information will be desk-rejected without review.

Papers should be submitted through https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=staidcc20, see the associated EasyChair CFP.

Workshop papers will be included in the companion collection of the ACM WebSci20 proceedings. The outcomes from the workshop group discussions will be included on the webscience.org website as a blog post after the conference.

Important dates

Paper submission deadline: April 24, 2020
Acceptance notification authors: May 8, 2020
Camera-ready deadline (for inclusion in Web Science proceedings): June 5, 2020
Vurtual Workshop: 09:00 to 13:00, July 7, 2020


The virtual workshop is hosted by University of Southampton, UK.

Organizing committee

Stuart E. Middleton, University of Southampton, UK (chair)
Anita Lavorgna, University of Southampton, UK
Ruth McAlister, Ulster University, UK

Programme committee

Dr Leonardo Aniello, University of Southampton, UK
Prof Kevin Curran, University of Ulster, UK
Dr Matthew Farrow, National Crime Agency, UK
Prof Weisi Guo, Cranfield University, UK
Dr Alice Hutchings, University of Cambridge, UK
Mark McCluskie, Nuix


Setup (08:30 - 09:00)

Welcome (09:00 - 09:05) - Lead Stuart E. Middleton, University of Southampton

Session 1 (09:05 - 10:10) - Lead Ruth McAlister, Ulster University

Keynote #1 (09:05 - 09:35)
Prof Steven Meers, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
Challenges around Socio-technical AI Systems in Defence: A Practitioners Perspective
pre-print, slides, video

Short paper #1 (09:40 - 10:10)
Dr Stuart E. Middleton, University of Southampton
Information Extraction from the Long Tail: A Socio-Technical AI Approach for Criminology Investigations into the Online Illegal Plant Trade
pre-print, slides, video

Session 2 (10:15 - 12:45) - Lead Anita Lavorgna, University of Southampton

Keynote #2 (10:15 - 10:45)
Prof David S. Wall, Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds, UK
AI and Cybercrime: balancing expectations with delivery!
pre-print, slides, video

Short paper #2 (10:55 - 11:25)
Ankit Tewari, Universitat Politecnica de Cataluna (UPC)
Decoding the Black Box: Interpretable Methods for Post-Incident Counter-terrorism Investigations
pre-print, slides, video

Mini-break for panel to setup (11:30 - 12:00)
Panel led discussion (12:00 - 12:45)
Each panel member proposes an open question around a real-world challenge for discussion.
Discussions will be written up as a workshop blog post identifying what was considered the biggest challenges, and signposting some positive directions of travel to help inspire future researchers.

Summary and Close (12:45 - 13:00) - Lead Stuart E. Middleton, University of Southampton

Workshop panel members

Greg Elliot, National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU), National Crime Agency (NCA)
Prof Steven D. Meers, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
Mark McCluskie, Nuix, EMEA Head of Investigations
Prof David S. Wall, University of Leeds, Centre for Criminal Justice Studies
Prof Dame Wendy Hall, University of Southampton, Electronics and Computer Science


All questions about submissions should be emailed to Stuart E. Middleton {sem03}@soton.ac.uk