Data Privacy and ethics

“Under EU law, personal data can only be gathered legally under strict conditions, for a legitimate purpose. Furthermore, persons or organisations which collect and manage your personal information must protect it from misuse and must respect certain rights of the data owners which are guaranteed by EU law”.[1]

This is a big problem when it comes to people’s information being mishandled and ending up in the wrong hands. Rules and regulations are getting stricter and stricter but information still seems to be getting hacked and leaked on the net or used to financially benefit themselves.

There’s case studies all over the internet about big companies getting hacked and personal information being taking. There is one that springs to mind back in 2011 where a fairly big company was hacked and names, addresses, date of births and credit card details were stolen. It turns out the company didn’t upgrade its security system and hackers ceased the moment. They got fined $250,000 which is fairly low considering the negligence from the company. In fairness it was a few years ago but it makes you think that if this company could have been hacked what confidence does that give the customer.

Ethics

“Data ethics is a new branch of ethics that studies and evaluates moral problems related to data (including generation, recording, curation, processing, dissemination, sharing and use), algorithms (including artificial intelligence, artificial agents, machine learning and robots) and corresponding practices (including responsible innovation, programming, hacking and professional codes), in order to formulate and support morally good solutions (e.g. right conducts or right values). Data ethics builds on the foundation provided by computer and information ethics but, at the same time, it refines the approach endorsed so far in this research field, by shifting the level of abstraction of ethical enquiries, from being information-centric to being data-centric”.[1]

This is the unwritten rule and largely depending on people being professional and not seeking personal gain. Ethics is seen as the right thing to do but some individuals don’t really care about this and take advantage. Simply put ethics is

learning the right and wrong way and doing the wrong way. Many philosophers consider ethics to be the “science of conduct.” A good way to manage ethics in your organisation is set up an ethics management program and make sure everyone adheres to it and follow the procedures but in place. Professional associations have set up guidelines but ethical behavior is an organisational issue, there is no single type of professional that can have sole responsibility for it.[2]

References

[1]http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/

[2] http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/374/2083/20160360

[3] http://www.informationweek.com/big-data/big-data-analytics/big-data-ethics-8-key-facts-to-ponder/d/d-id/1322143

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