The power of Data can be used for nefarious purposes and this is raising ethical concerns in data analysis businesses. This fear has led to an active discussion on ethics in data analytics. With the well-known case of Cambridge Analytica scandal and the roll-out of GDPR, data analytics ethics is too often an afterthought. In the modern digital society, where social data seems to spread at the sped of light, we are seeing controversial and sometimes downright illegal use of sensitive data. Some individuals are taking a stand and even resigning their jobs to avoid perpetuating misleading facts.
GDPR (The General Data Protection Regulation) is a first step towards privacy of data. GDPR was effective from May-2018 by the European Union for protection of EU citizens. This privacy law provides citizens with rights to control their own data. The goal is also to give businesses and consumers in the EU a uniform set of privacy and data guidelines. A small step, but a great beginning and something that can be built on.
The Digital Analytics Association has laid out a code of ethics to be followed by data analytics professional and companies using data, but there is no mechanism to keep check on data users.
This article is one attempt to highlight some of the key area relating to the ethics of data analytics. There are many explanations as to why data is exploited in less than satisfactory ways.
- Data Analytics tools are not an exact science, different results can be drawn from same sets of data by different analysts
- A lack in the concept of Standardization
- Ignorance of Data governance by data users, human involvement is required to solve critical issues or interpret results thereby creating bias
I believe there should be a common code of ethics, and standards should be framed for data analytic professionals similar to other industry with following key points:
- These ethical standards should be applicable across the globa regardless of country, law, cultural differences, or job title.
- These standards should have the backing of cyber or IT laws.
- A governance & standards mechanism should be maintained that data scientists adhere to
- These ethical codes should be communicated by business leaders
Ethics in the field of data analytics is the responsibility of every professional, academician, company and society.
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