Guest post

Data: Cool or Creepy?
Andrew Strada shares a wrap up of the recent US Chapter CDO Hub discussion that he led, on ethical challenges faced by Data Leaders
The CDO Hub discussion on “Data: Cool or Creepy” addressed the ethical and perception challenges Data Leaders face in determining the appropriate use of personal data.

A Data Leader’s role is to position a firm’s data to enable the firm to be more efficient, make better decisions and enable data-driven insights. With the amount and types of data now available, it is our job to raise and address difficult topics:

  • Are we sufficiently protecting personal data?
  • What would the subjects of the data say if they knew how we were using their data?
  • When people checked the consent box for the use of their data, did they really understand what it meant?
  • What are the legal and ethical responsibilities we have for this data?
  • What should our firm be doing beyond legal requirements?

These questions have not been as pressing in the past as the amount of information we had was more limited, and was introduced at a slower pace. It used to cost so much to on-board information that we had plenty of opportunity to discuss – and analyze – how it would be used and by whom.

This change was highlighted by one of the participants following a chat with her mother, who was incredulous that her phone knows everywhere she’s ever been. Not so long ago, we were lucky if our phones were able to find the cell towers when we’re traveling.

Our discussion went over these topics with examples from personal and professional experiences. We looked at how these experiences inform our approaches to data at work, especially with our ability and responsibility to influence them. We also looked at examples in the media and shared how they could be used and how they were used to change some of our own corporate practices.

Most importantly, we engaged in what we can do to drive the necessary cultural changes and establish guard rails for the appropriate use of data.

Find out more about the CDO Hub

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