Data Privacy and Security

What does ethical and transparent data use look like?

The Cambridge Analytica-Facebook scandal and allegations that YouTube is improperly collecting and using children’s data shone a light on the collection, management and use of data by companies -- whether tech companies like Google, Facebook and YouTube or third-party users of these platforms who leverage data to target users for marketing and advertising purposes. As users become more savvy about the information collected about them on these and other platforms, data analytics will increasingly become a bone of contention with users asking more questions about how and why their data is collected and used.

For the c-suite, the real question is what does ethical and transparent data use really look like? Getting that aspect right can spell the difference between a company that is seen positively in the eyes of its consumers and one that is seen to be part of the problem.


A changing mindset

Data plays a role in so many aspects of business, from marketing and advertising to employee relations, and a consistent approach to data is crucial across all of these. Kriti Sharma, VP of Bots and Artificial Intelligence at Sage, says recent events add power to a global push for the technology industry to address rising public concerns over data privacy and transparency. They reinforce the need to rethink how technology platforms that pull from data sources are designed, governed and used by people and organizations.

“To immediately address the new dynamic, the business world needs to install workforce ethics training throughout company ranks, develop corporate transparency frameworks and hire diverse teams to interact with, create and improve upon these technologies. In practice, organizations must establish an ethical framework that people creating technologies can work within at the outset of a product’s development cycle,” she says.

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Bianca Wright

Bianca Wright is a UK-based freelance business and technology writer, who has written for publications in the UK, the US, Australia and South Africa. She holds an MPhil in science and technology journalism and a DPhil in Media Studies.

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