The Royal Statistical Society has formed a Data Ethics Special Interest Group to address emerging topics in the burgeoning data ethics landscape.
The group’s formation reflects the growing recognition that in an era of big data, sound ethical practices will need to be considered and developed to ensure good data stewardship in future.
The RSS has already been actively pushing for a council on data ethics for a number of years, and it is a key point of our Data Manifesto. We were instrumental in setting up the Ada Lovelace Institute with the Nuffield Foundation and contributed to two parliamentary inquiries last year relating to data ethics in artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms used in government data.
The new special interest group, whose committee includes representatives from various RSS sections, media communicators, governance structures and academic interests, will continue some of this work and be a focal point for the RSS’s work in data ethics. It aims to be a trusted voice on data ethics and will work with other RSS sections, in particular the Data Science section, to explore topics such as algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) and enhance the visibility of other issues around data ethics, such as skills, standards of transparent public engagement and fostering multi-disciplinary connections.
‘Recent events, relating to the misuse of social media data, highlight the need for an ethical approach by all who use or intend to use personal data for research and statistical purposes,' says Peter Elias, who chairs the new group. 'This Special Interest Group will ensure that the RSS champions best practice in this area.’
and follow the group on Twitter @RSS_DE_SIG