Will companies start to take privacy & ethics seriously?

This weekend’s Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal is shocking but not surprising. The privacy and ethics of data science has long been the elephant in the room. I was rooting through my blog archives and it was depressing to see how many posts I’ve written on this topic over the years, particularly since we’ve made little to no progress as an industry.

Will this latest Cambridge Analytica scandal change the game? Unfortunately, I’m not convinced, although we can live in hope. I am absolutely convinced that Cambridge Analytica is only the tip of the iceberg and that there is a plethora of other companies that have similarly harvested Facebook data, thanks to Facebook’s apparent indifference.

Below are just a sampling of posts I’ve written on this topic over the years:

September 2011: Is privacy dead or merely snoozing?

October 2011: Imagine a world controlled by Facebook

February 2012: Is Privacy the software industry’s SOPA?

July 2013: C’mon guys, let’s get serious about privacy

July 2013: The Hippocratic Oath for the Data Scientist

December 2013: It’s time for data scientists to prioritize privacy & ethics above all else

May 2014: “Privacy by Design” is the only way to go

June 2014: Why Privacy shouldn’t be considered an impediment to innovation, but an opportunity to innovate.

November 2014: My Ted Talk; “Privacy by Design, Humanizing Analytics”

March 2016: The malignant side of social analytics

April 2017: Let’s stop talking #privacy and instead talk…

May 2017: Is bigdata analytics architecting a new political landscape?

4 Responses to “Will companies start to take privacy & ethics seriously?”

  1. Yes – a rather interesting development. I note that the data commissioner is investigating too.
    Also interesting to watch out what other organisations might have engaged Cambridge Analytica. I see one notable Irish example in this article https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/q-a-what-s-going-on-with-facebook-and-cambridge-analytica-1.3433914

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing the link. Interesting to see that the Irish pro-life group has used them. A very personal topic which makes using Cambridge Analytica even more distasteful. The cat is really out of the bag and will be interesting to see who else gets caught up. I’ve been a big proponent of analytics transparency for years, so believe that lifting the lid on what’s happening is our only (small) chance of changing things.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes indeed, I was intrigued by that revelation too. “Ethics in Data Analytics” would make for a rather interesting paper! @BethR might be interested in that one too?! Will ping her on Slack!

        Liked by 1 person


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