Why You Need a Data Ethics Policy

Straddling the line between data collector/analyst and privacy advocate can be difficult at times. Some might imagine data gathering and privacy to be contradictory terms, arguing that a data collector benefits from more data while a privacy advocate aims to shut off this flow of data. The reality is that data gathering in itself is not the problem - but rather the lack of an ethics policy is.

It's precisely for this reason that all companies should ensure that they have a data ethics policy in place - if not now, then soon. It's becoming increasingly easy to gather and analyse vast volumes of data, which in turn presents a great deal of opportunities for us as a society, not only to help solve a variety of global problems, but to make our lives easier. On the other hand, if left unchecked, this powerful tool can be abused and lead to a breakdown of trust. If we are all therefore to benefit as businesses and individuals in this data revolution, we must have a data ethics policy that respects the following best practices:

As a Business:

As an Individual

We are still in the relatively early stages of a rapidly evolving data revolution where such issues will increasingly have to be addressed. When technology progresses at this rapid a rate, there will seldom be continually relevant guidelines and best practices for businesses and individuals to follow. As such, it's up to us to take the initiative and ensure that our approach to data will be one that makes it used as an ethical tool for good, rather than harm.

Photo: William Ward

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.