The Hippocratic Oath for the Data Scientist

Over the last few weeks there has been a deluge of discussion about privacy from many perspectives. A large proportion was directed at governments and their role in enforcing privacy through legislation, and while there is no question that governments need to play a role, do we software developers and data scientists need to take some responsibility for the situation we are in? I believe most vociferously YES!

So I decided to write my own personal pledge; adapted from the latest version of the Hippocratic Oath from the Declaration of Geneva.

  • I solemnly pledge to practice my profession with conscience and dignity;
  • To respect the privacy of the people whose data is confided in me;
  • To maintain the utmost respect for the individuals whose data I am analyzing;
  • To be transparent, open, and honest about the type of analysis I am applying to their data;
  • To never use my knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
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5 Responses to “The Hippocratic Oath for the Data Scientist”

  1. Good post. Please also take a look at INFORM’s Code of Ethics for their new Certified Analytic Practitioner program.

    More info at the link in this Twitter post: https://twitter.com/INFORMSCAP/status/331865585237504000

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Am reading Cathy O’Neill’s Weapons of Math Destruction at the moment.
    “I solemnly pledge to practice my profession with conscience, dignity, integrity and respect for the rights and needs of all groups in society” – https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/oct/27/cathy-oneil-weapons-of-math-destruction-algorithms-big-data

    Liked by 1 person

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