This special issue of the Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management gathers five papers built on contributions from the 2015 Annual Information System and Crisis Management Conference (ISCRAM). They focus on the various ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) relating to existing and emerging technologies for crisis response and management. Since 2013, the ISCRAM community has welcomed discussions around these questions, with the inclusion of a dedicated track in its annual conference. The first two rounds of papers predominantly engaged in ELS considerations related to IT innovation and use in crisis management and response in different contexts. These ranged from IT support for triage in mass casualty incidents, to restrictions placed on the use of mobile devices in organizations and the use of social media. Thus, by engaging in discussions about the unintended consequences of such innovation and use, these first occurrences allowed us to frame and propose different ways of designing and mobilizing IT for emergency management and response with an explicit and respectful engagement to ELSI by essentially ‘doing IT more carefully’ (Büscher, Liegl, Rizza & Watson, 2014).