Data PrivacyEthical Use of Data: A Matter of Concern?

October 19, 20220


The digital economy is dominated by data and its uses. There are countless data sources and tools to choose from on the Internet. However, there are just as many privacy issues for each digital user accessing programmes.

The rise in privacy issues is mostly due to awareness of the consumers regarding the functioning of businesses and how such businesses are exploiting the consumer data. Previously, the consumers were not entirely aware of how much of their personal information was being collected by the businesses. Recent years have seen a sharp increase in cybercrime, making user information more exposed than before.

Companies of all sizes should have data protection policies in place, but the bigger the business, the more data threats it is exposed to. Unfortunately, majority of the businesses lack clear policies on how to handle and safeguard consumer data as well as how to stop breaches.


Addressing the privacy issues that come with data collection and its use is the first step towards using data ethically. In spite of the ongoing attempts to plug cybersecurity and privacy gaps, a poor data privacy policy can cost a corporation billions in fees and damages.

With the increase in attempts at cyberattacks, the businesses need to be ready to handle the toughest data privacy risks in order to allay customer concerns about data privacy. These difficulties include:

  • Embedding Data Privacy

Data privacy must be included from the start if the user data is to be protected in the greatest way possible. To do this, privacy must be integrated into data-gathering processes rather than being added as an afterthought.

  • Securing the Use of a Variety of Devices

Currently, remote working and Bring-Your-Own-Device (hereinafter referred to as “BYOD”) followed by Companies add an additional layer of network security problems to the typical data collection procedure.

Data must pass through numerous devices and access points while maintaining privacy rules in order to remain secure.

  • Protecting a Continually Expanding Spectrum of Data

It is difficult to scale security to keep up with this expansion as big data is changing how consumers search for and reveal information. In order to achieve this, a culture of data accountability along with guidelines for reducing data storage and eliminating unnecessary or unused data becomes a requisite.

These are only a handful of the numerous privacy issues that arise whenever data is used in any kind of business transaction. However, the laws that apply may also have an impact on the extent for data privacy issues.

Consumers and businesses alike run a variety of hazards when consumer data is not protected. Poorly managed data typically has a high cost that the businesses cannot afford, such as compliance failure fees and reputational harm. . Thus, organizations should make a commitment to using data in an ethical manner instead.


Some of the worst accounting crises in human history have been influenced by an unethical usage of data. Scandals not only destroy the reputation of the organization with which it is associated but also the reputation of other organizations that collects data.

Data by its very nature supports a wide range of quality and efficiency advantages for almost any business. This is so because data reflects the facts based on which the management and the researchers make improvements to products and services. Researchers are better equipped to improve goods, services, financial models, and other things by arranging this unstructured information into comprehensive software and structure for data management.

The foundation for the implementing these improvements is ethics. The goal of an ethical data use strategy is to improve value for clients without placing them at greater threat. Such a strategy abides by privacy laws while continuously aiming for advancement in a severely risky digital environment. Data can be utilized in an ethical way by attempting to apply ethical standards to its use. These principles are:

  • Empathy

Data eventually includes and has an impact on people. Analysts may use that information more ethically by keeping the human being at the core of every data transaction in mind.

  • Data Control

We are extensions of our data. Organizations should emphasize user ownership and control over their own data in exchange. Organizations should encourage users to choose what they feel comfortable with.

  • Transparency

 As permitted by local or national law, the organizations should provide clients with as much information as possible regarding the intended use of the data that such organizations collect.

According to best practices, the organizations should take this transparency a step further by showing the consumer what information is being collected and how it is being utilized and explaining the aims of the organization in plain and straightforward language.

Informing the consumers about any changes to the way an organization handles its data and getting the permission of the consumers before utilizing it, should be a moral and professional obligation on the part of the organizations.

  • Accountability

The maintenance of the security of information is the responsibility of the organization. This means that if data is to be used, a reliable, advanced security procedure must be maintained.


  • Align on Company Vision and Beliefs

Organizations require a clear vision and mission that is tailored to the peculiarities of their industry for their data initiatives to be effective. Making decisions about data usage can be influenced by having a clear understanding of the organization’s mission, the values it upholds, and how a particular data use fits with those values.

Organizations can select which data initiatives are acceptable and which are not by having values and standards that are clear.

  • Determine Data Ownership

A strong data programme establishes responsibilities for data ownership and ethical use. The accountability of an organization for the collection and processing of data should also be made clear in the policy.

  • Evolve Culture

It is simpler to implement the changes throughout the rest of the organization when there is a culture of openness and privacy at the leadership level. Making judgments about how to use the consumer data based on their possible influence on their privacy rather than their immediate economic impact is another aspect of a customer-centric approach.

  • Set up a Data-Ethics Board

A data-ethics board, which would serve as a reference body for challenging and contentious data usages like consumer segmentation, should be made up of representatives from business, compliance, legal, and operations.


Data ethics discussions can impact industry norms and people’s decisions, such as whether or not to pursue a particular use case for data processing. However, if data management is left entirely up to the Information Technology, even the most complete programme on the ethical use of data would not be successful in the long run.

 Data privacy has become a top concern for information security management as privacy infringement occurs frequently and receives extensive media coverage. The information security professionals seek effective and practical direction when creating data privacy protection guidelines for two main reasons.

The first being the information security functions in a technology-driven, information-intensive environment becomes more complicated due to new risk (e.g., socio-techno risk). Secondly, considering privacy from an ethical standpoint can help businesses create and enhance their code of conduct. By taking an ethical approach to privacy and adopting a code of conduct, a business can hold everyone, not just security personnel, responsible for safeguarding sensitive data.

Organizations can incorporate these changes into their DNA by setting up a written Data Policy and a Board of Data Ethics to support it. The secret to sustaining a data programme over time is to view data ethics as an enterprise-level risk rather than a functional one.

– Team AMLEGALS assisted by Ms. Pratishtha Vaidhya (Intern)

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