Understanding Data Ethics

Data ethics is a concept that stretches across multiple industries and niches. And there are moral obligations for using, collecting, sharing, and protecting data and information. Data ethics essentially is the method that businesses leverage for ethically responsible data management. Today, we’ll share what leaders need to know to fully understand the many facets and dynamics of data ethics.

Recognizing Ownership in Data Ethics

One of the pillar principles of managing data in an ethical way involves safeguarding the ownership of your company data. Any metrics or identifying information your brand collects or encounters always belongs to the individual provider. And you can develop ethics policies that define data ownership. Doing so informs your teams and vendors what they can and can’t do with those data sets without first securing the necessary permissions.

Outline ethics in seeking permission using:

· Written agreements

· Digital pop-up statements

· Online check boxes for users to check

· Cookies disclaimers online

Transparency and Intentions in Data Ethics

Another aspect of data ethics to consider is transparency. In addition to acknowledging ownership of the information you’re collecting, take another step to be open and forthcoming about what you’re doing with that data.

Sample statements might include:

· Alerting individuals that you plan to use their online browsing as a tool for collecting consumer habit information.

· Share your intentions to build an algorithm using the individual’s provided data for improving the online experience.

· Let callers know you’re recording a conversation for training purposes.

Privacy in Data Ethics

Anytime you’re engaging with a brand’s or individual’s sensitive data, you’re going to want to take every precaution to preserve the privacy of that information. Even when those users provide consent, data ethics means providing statements about the steps you’re taking to keep those metrics private. The data you collect and use will vary from other companies. But there are certain details that are always classified as “personal identifying information.”

The most common PII examples include:

· Name

· Address

· Birthday

· Phone numbers

· Social security numbers

· Credit card or banking information

Ethical Algorithms

With so much of today’s business being conducted online, it’s imperative that brands lay in ethics policies and guidance for managing code and algorithms as they pertain to data ethics.

Training – Always be evaluating what data your algorithms are using to ensure ethical management and outcomes.

Coding – Manage teams responsible for coding efforts to ensure there aren’t issues with impropriety.

Human Oversight – Algorithms are initiated and written by humans. So, develop ethics policy oversight that governs those responsible for your algorithms.

Leverage the Ethics Hotline for Data Ethics

So, how can your business provide the ethics oversight needed to enforce data ethics measures? The ethics hotline is a great resource for digital oversight. When your company provides an anonymous channel for reporting concerns, anyone who engages with your brand (including online interactions) can call out suspicious problems. Give your online customers, partnering vendors, and loyal employees a retaliation-free way to point out data ethics issues.

Start prioritizing data ethics with your business model and keep these insights in mind. And connect with our ethics policy experts at Ethical Advocate about launching an ethics hotline to help you maintain ethical best practices both online and offline.