We ask artificially intelligent systems to make order in our messy modern realities, but very rarely do we question what type of order. This is a call for an historical awareness of the social systems that we are building: Which social, cultural norms, values and interests do they represent, reinforce and enact?
The IAPP is the largest and most comprehensive global information privacy community and resource. Founded in 2000, the IAPP is a not-for-profit organization that helps define, support and improve the privacy profession globally.
– by Gry Hasselbalch (based on panel debate participation, Ethics, Observational Platforms, Mathematics and Fundamental Rights, CPDP, Brussels, 2017)
A few years ago a social media company decided to do some experiments on its users. Filling their news feeds with positive or negative stories, they were measuring hundreds of thousands of people’s emotional reactions. When the story surfaced there was of course a public out cry and the company found it self in a situation where it had to show that it cared. So a spokesperson apologized publically. However, she didnt apologize because what they did had been ethically questionable, they were just sorry that it had been “poorly communicated”.
Legally you can do a lot with data right now, and a lot is done with data, that is not necesarilly in the best interest of the individual. And this is the point where we revisit ethics – when the laws, social awareness and formal systems in place are not enough.
Our lives are lived in data. Data crossing borders and connected in virtual space. Most often, it appears, we live in open and too easily accessible data networks. States and corporations are watching us through data, and we are watching each other through data. What does individual privacy mean in this data saturated environment?
We are living in an era defined and shaped by data. Data makes the world go round. It is politics, it is culture, it is everyday life and it is business. Our data-flooded era is one of technological progress, with tides rising at a never seen before pace. Roles, rights and responsibilities are reorganized and new ethical questions posed. Data ethics must and will be a new compass to guide us.
Blog (updated 15 June 2016): There’s a battle of words going on, the battle is about the definition of “privacy”, and it’s been going on for centuries. Somehow we’ve led ourselves to believe that the definition of privacy that we all think we share is something intrinsically connected to the individual. But actually it’s not. Although privacy as such is in fact only something the individual can claim (corporations and states cannot), the individual has always been very absent in the very construction of the concept.
– by Gry Hasselbalch
This January the European Data Protection Supervisor presented his new “Ethics Advisory Group”. A group of experts that will help him “reconsider the ethical dimension of the relationships between human rights, technology, markets and business models and their implications for the rights to privacy and data protection in the digital environment.” He is not the first European decision maker or thought leader to bring forward ethics as a guiding principle in the digital age. Over the last year digital ethics, and in particular data ethics, have become the “talk of the town” in Europe. Based on the realisation that laws have not followed pace with the development of digital technologies, technologists, academics, policymakers and businesses are today revisiting cultural values and moral systems when groping for a new ethical framework for the digital age.
TALKS & EVENTS: “How can you put a health warning on a product if you don’t even know the ingredients”. Talking about Data Ethics at Internet Governance Forum 2015
Advisor for organisations on the social and data ethical implications of tech. Co-founder of DataEthics.eu. Independent ethics expert for the EU. Worked with internet policy and digital rights for 10 years in the pan EU network on youth & internet. Behind several larger studies and reports. Author of Data Ethics – The New Competitive Advantage. @mediamocracy, email@example.com
Phone: +39 3512705584 (Italy), +45 29827374 (Denmark)
– by Gry Hasselbalch, May 14 2015
Our destiny is a product. Fate is developed upon and innovated with. Fate is part of an actual machinery. It can be sold and traded with. Fate is something the Destiny Machine produces.
PUBLICATIONS: Pernille Tranberg og Gry Hasselbalch are currently writing a book about Data Ethics in business development. The book is based on more than 40 business cases worldwide. Expected publication in English and Danish summer 2016.
Privacy is a key emerging issue in Internet Governance processes. Looked upon most often as an area of risk and protection, it is in this paper viewed as an area of opportunity and innovation. A paradigm shift is on its way. This entails a shift in focus where the legal protection of privacy rather than being described solely as an area of governance, policy making and basic human rights guarantee, or as an obstacle to innovation and sharing, can be viewed as the foundation for the evolution of digital media businesses that more critically understand digital media as an evolving architecture of human social relations, and privacy as a new basic market demand. Privacy is core to an ethical evolution of the internet, but it is increasingly also a business model and business opportunity in its own right.