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In this episode, Jason talks to Anna Hannem, Head of Data Ethics and Use at the Canadian multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in Toronto, Scotiabank. Together, they explore data ethics, the increased value it can provide customers and how to operationalise across an organisation.

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Buy-in from the organisation’s leadership is also crucial for the success of a data ethics team. It is important for the team to have the support of the organisation’s executives, including the C-suite, as this will help to ensure that the team’s work is relevant and aligned with the organisation’s goals.


00:40 Anna’s background in data and how she came about to specialising in Data Ethics

02:47 Why banks need to take ethical implications of data

04:45 Where data ethics sits within an organisation and why it is so necessary

10:19 What ways in which data ethics awareness is raised

13:20 Breaking down what falls under data ethics

19:12 Use case

23:25 Creating a data governance process where data ethics can branch off

26:10 The composition of a data ethics team

30:47 Creating an agreement between business and data teams to explore data ethics

34:21 Why there needs to be diversity in a data team

35:50 Future plans


Data ethics in banking

Data ethics in banking is a crucial aspect of the industry as it deals with sensitive information that must be handled with care. Trust is of the utmost importance when it comes to banking, as customers entrust financial institutions with their personal and financial information. This trust is built over time and once lost, it is difficult to regain. Therefore, it is essential for banks to not only protect themselves from data breaches and cyber attacks, but to also ensure that the data they collect and use is done so ethically and with the customer’s best interests in mind.

Another important aspect of data ethics in banking is using customer data to provide value. This can include using data to offer personalised financial services and products, or using it to identify and prevent fraud. However, it is important to ensure that any use of customer data is done so with their consent and in compliance with relevant laws and regulations.


Making ethics part of the cultural fabric of an organisation

Making data ethics part of the cultural fabric of an organisation is crucial for ensuring that the organisation conducts its business in a responsible and ethical manner. This can be achieved by integrating ethical principles and values into the organisation’s operations and decision-making processes from the leadership team through to the rest of an organisation. 

Another important aspect of making data ethics part of the cultural fabric of an organisation is fostering a culture of transparency, education and accountability. This can be achieved by encouraging open communication and educating people on how data ethics is relevant for them. 


Use cases of data ethics

One important use case of data ethics is in the development and deployment of chatbots. Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular as a way to provide customer service and support, but they also collect and use personal data. It is important for organisations to ensure that their chatbots are developed and operated in an ethical manner, including protecting user data and being transparent about data collection and use. Additionally, organisations should consider the potential biases that may be present in their chatbot’s decision-making and take steps to address them.

Another use case of data ethics is in the creation of an ethics score. An ethics score is a way of evaluating the ethical performance of organisations or products based on a set of predefined criteria. The scoring methodology should be transparent and based on objective standards that are relevant to the specific industry or field. Additionally, organisations should be transparent about the data they use to create the score and how it is used.

Data ethics also plays a role in purposely targeting specific groups of people. For example, an organisation may decide to target females who are more likely to buy a certain product. While this is a common marketing strategy, it is important for organisations to ensure that this targeting is done in an ethical manner. This includes ensuring that the targeting is not discriminatory and that the data used is collected and used with the customer’s consent.


Composition of a data ethics team

A data ethics team is a group of individuals within an organisation that is responsible for ensuring that the organisation’s use of data is in line with ethical principles and standards. The composition of a data ethics team is an important consideration as it can greatly impact the team’s ability to effectively carry out its responsibilities.

When identifying the composition of a data ethics team, it is important to consider the specific needs of the organisation. For example, a financial institution may need experts in financial regulations and data privacy laws, while a technology company may need individuals with expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

One key aspect of a data ethics team is communication and partnerships with institutions and other educators. This includes engaging with organisations and experts in the field to stay up-to-date on the latest developments and best practices in data ethics. This can be done through attending conferences and workshops, participating in research projects and building partnerships with other organisations.

Another important aspect of a data ethics team is its technology arm, which is responsible for designing and implementing the organisation’s data-related systems and processes. This includes ensuring that data collection, storage, and processing are done in an ethical manner and in compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Finally, the team should have a governance and operations arm which is responsible for ensuring that the organisation’s data ethics policies and procedures are being followed, and for monitoring and reporting on the organisation’s performance in this area. This can include conducting audits, reviewing and updating policies and procedures, and coordinating with other teams within the organisation to ensure that data is being used in an ethical manner.



Data ethics is a crucial aspect of modern business and technology not just to comply with laws and regulations, but to also provide more value to customers. It involves ensuring that data is collected, used, and protected in a manner that is consistent with ethical principles and standards that you as an organisation define and uphold. However, none of this can happen without buy-in from a leadership team who want to implement data ethics in their organisation. 

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