As recent data-related news has proven, the opportunities to abuse and exploit personal data is becoming increasingly overwhelming. It is for this very reason that concepts around data protection and ethics become crucial. Technologists and organisations alike, that make up our data-driven world, have a duty to maintain and uphold all personal data regulations to ensure that the staggering amount of data that is collected abides by ethical guidelines. 

The presence of data in business

Unsurprisingly, several major organisations and global sectors find themselves in the midst of one of the greatest analytical data stimulations yet. And even with the boom of big data management, the topic of data privacy has yet to be explored to its full extent. In fact, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, weighed in on the topic and described the gross misuse of personalised data as a “weaponised act”. This was followed by numerous widespread protection regulations being spearheaded to address concerns around data ownership and how this information is being collected, shared and used.  

As the tech-dependent world would have it, data has proved to be a primary asset in the economy, with many even referring to it as a form of ‘digital gold’. It has helped influence how businesses operate, it has contributed to competitive advantages, it has spearheaded technical advances and ensured personalisation digital experiences. Capturing relevant data is not only a powerful tool but actively adds to consumer experiences and corporate identities. Data ultimately helps establish the foundations for any organisation as it is the root of all knowledge bases and informational influence. 

The truth behind data collection

It is crucial that individuals take note of corporate behaviours surrounding data ethics policies to ensure that they understand where and how sensitive information is being used.  

The need for data protection programmes has become particularly important following several high-profile data breaches, where personal consumer data was leaked. Policymakers have had to step in and enforce numerous data protection laws in light of these global data scandals. 

Organizations around the world have therefore had to assess their own data collections through ethical lenses to ensure that the ethical responsibilities of retrieving, collecting and managing streams of data all conform to relevant guidelines enforced by government to protect consumers. Furthermore, consumers are encouraged to read privacy policies to ensure their full comprehension of how data will be collected and used.

Defining Data Protection 

The term ‘data protection’ refers to the legal control over access to and the use of data that is stored in computers. This safeguards important private information from being used for corrupt or malicious intent without the knowledge of persons involved. Many legal entities actively look to ensure that organisations continue to be advocates for data privacy and how it will reshape local legislature. Data protection efforts will ensure that all environments are propelled into a transparent, consumer-centric space where consumers are better informed of trade practices and data journeys. 

This level of protection is crucial given the ambiguity of technology and information-sensitive networks in which we all operate. 

Defining Data Ethics

Data ethics is a relatively new branch related to ethics that evaluates the moral issues associated with data, including how it is generated, recorded, processed, disseminated and ultimately used. Data ethics hones in on the need for analysis to focus on the nature of data operations, digital technologies and how these interactions are ethically established. 

Why data protection and ethics are important 

  • Helps establish public trust in the brand 
  • Your organisation does not have to pay penalties, fines or civil suits following a data breach
  • Improves and helps maintain brand value 
  • Establishes a competitive advantage 
  • Builds consumer and investor loyalty 

Many organisations have established business data privacy and ethics programmes. These policies typically showcase how the business handles confidential information and helps establish them as supporters of innovation and privacy. 

We have previously covered Data Security and Privacy in extensive detail on our Genex blog for a more in-depth look into the subject.