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Why Ethical Data?

by Kathryn Bailey and Suchith Anand

Data science has transformed the way we live, solving many issues and providing a wealth of opportunities to improve our lives and our environment. However, the digital revolution has also given rise to questions and challenges that affect everyone.

The growing public interest in data ethics is largely due to the expanding use of AI and advanced analytics, and the risks (privacy, bias, manipulation) they pose to individuals and society as a whole. Extensive use of growing quantities of (often personal or sensitive) data, not to mention the ambiguous way in which it is analysed, poses pressing questions of fairness, responsibility and – ultimately – human rights.

Data is increasingly being referred to as the new gold, with the data space characterised as the Wild West. Lack of governance means businesses are able to bypass business and competition legislation. At the same time, current business and privacy laws, and fair information practices (FIPs) are inadequate and ill-adapted to dealing with the harms going on in the data space. Privacy law is currently based on a system of inform and consent; but these regulations cannot help people who do not understand how the data could be used to make informed choices about granting access to their data.

Unless organisations reliant on data address ethics issues, they will face issues with funding, collecting data and trust.

The Ethical Data Initiative is an international initiative aimed at providing a space to enable multilateral conversations around data ethics, ICT and data governance.

The Ethical Data Initiative is an international initiative aimed at providing a space to enable multilateral conversations around data ethics, ICT and data governance. As a neutral platform, the Initiative aims to address the big issues, including data literacy and transparency, building trust within data ecosystems. We want to build a community around these pressing issues, ensuring all voices are heard in the debate, and providing a neutral space to bring together diverse actors and stakeholders to actively shape the future of data governance. Additionally, we aim to increase equality and inclusivity in the data space; building data confidence and empowering the digital citizens of tomorrow.

The Ethical Data Initiative welcomes expressions of interest from governments, scientific organisations, universities, and standards organisations interested in helping set the Ethical Data Initiative’s mission and aims.

Ethical Data Initiative Partner Organisations will work to:

  • Develop policy frameworks for Data Ethics in consultation with stakeholders.
  • Co-develop Data Ethics training programs with key universities.
  • Develop a series of Executive Education Programmes that contribute to the Data Ethics and Leadership training for a More Ethical, Equitable, and Just World, aimed at senior government officials and industry leaders as part of Science Diplomacy
  • Co-develop open access data literacy-focused Digital Citizenship Training (for staff and students)
  • Co-develop policy and programmes designed to raise public awareness around the importance and relevance of data ethics 

If you would like to get involved, find out more, or discuss ideas for getting involved in co-developing and supporting the Ethical Data Initiative, please contact us here: Contact Us

Or email Kate at kathryn.bailey@ethicaldatainitiative.org

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