An interesting perspective on ethics.

Last week I attended a conference on Data Privacy and Security. These are white hot topics, and the conference was filled with attorneys, technologists, vendors and speakers who offer a lot of how-to advice, products and services for dealing with these formidable challenges. This is great, because tackling these issues needs a lot of brain power.

But sitting in on an ethics panel, I was struck by a comment from Dr. J. Peter Burgess, Professor and Chair, Geopolitics of Risk at École normale supérieure, who noted that in the current data-driven world, “Ethics is perhaps being looked at as a problem to be dealt with instead of a solution.” He went on to remark that data must be close to the people, and data-centric products and services must nurture and benefit people and society, rather than people serving data – an idea that may be getting a bit lost in the rush to analytics. He also suggested that producing products and services tailored to data concerns is a good business proposition because this will sell!  Having held this belief for a while myself, I agree with him. But I’d love other perspectives – thoughts anyone?  Would you pay to protect your privacy? Do you feel your data is being ethically treated? Would you even know, or care?

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