October 24, 2018

Ethics is not enough

by admin123 in GDPR

Global tech leaders and regulators gathered at a high-level International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners on privacy ethics today in Brussels. European capital is talking about how the future needs to be evenly distributed and how we lack in ethics in the sphere of data privacy. But is it really only about ethics?

BASIS ID CEO, Akim Arhipov, shares its thoughts from the conference.

“Ethics between companies, regulators and people”

– opening phrases of the conference.

Governments are used to think about higher values when entrepreneurs are facing the real life instead. Ethics will not fill the gaps of legislation, nor will it make the law flexible. Adaptability and flexibility is what regulation lacks for the creation of engagement. Engagement between business, law and society.

EU has always been promoting cooperation between society’s different pillars as much as it has been supporting education and awareness in digital sphere. But something was left out from the talks today – practice.

It is an ideal world where entrepreneurs put as much time into privacy as they put in creating digital solutions for their business, making privacy an unconditional constant of their digital architecture. It is an ideal world where people are aware of their rights towards their personal data, privacy paradoxes are vanished and society and data protection law are sharing the same values. This is the path EU is following, but maybe not exactly with the right steps.

“People discount long term consequences for short term gain”

At BASIS ID, we have been developing compliance tool for SMEs, interviewing hundreds of e-commerce representatives, seeing different patterns of compliance, finding out all kinds of bottlenecks of data protection “by design and by default”. The most common pattern today is when compliance is done in a quick and painful way, rather than making this path educative both for a company and its customers.

We are raising this question for a simple reason. It’s not law that educates people of privacy and not ethics that shape their privacy behaviour. It is business, companies, media, e-commerce, that are showing the standards of data protection. So, when thinking about protecting people’s rights for privacy, we need to think how to make laws and ethics adaptable in order to come up with educational, sustainable data protection.

“It all comes down to how we imagine the future.” – Giovanni Buttarelli, European Data Protection Supervisor

If we are talking about digital ethics, we need to talk about how data protection and privacy matters should be illustrative and easy to understand. There are great examples that are shaping our digital future already today.  

Noah Sadeh is using machine learning to create Privacy Policy visualisation which shows what parts of this binding legal document may potentially be important for a person.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s product Solid gives every user a choice about where data is stored and which specific people and groups can access your personal data.
BASIS ID shows SMEs that data protection by default is rather an easy path to follow with its specially designed GDPR compliance tools.

This is what we know as the cooperation between companies, regulators and people. Done not by law, but done today.

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