Ethics Consideration for Digital Development: How can digital professionals uphold ethical principles in their work?

Digital professionals at all levels need to determine what the ‘right’ thing to do actually is from an ethical perspective. Notwithstanding the level of ethical awareness or ethics training that may or may not already exist within organizations, what is considered ethical can vary across individuals, groups, religions, and cultures, and in a global and fast-moving digital society, these leave considerable room for interpretation.

Even when the right course of action is clear, real-world competitive pressures can cause individuals to make decisions that could have damaging consequences for others. Being ethical will ultimately mean having the skills and moral courage to challenge existing norms and act in an ethical manner. So, in a digital society, what does being ethical actually mean and how can those involved in designing, developing and deploying digital solutions translate ethical principles into professional behaviors that will underpin digital transformation initiatives?

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The General Data Protection Regulations introduced by the EU in 2018 may be a good starting point.
The following website provides a lot of useful information (https://eugdpr.org/). Perhaps some general guidelines could be developed based upon this. I’m sure these regulations will soon start to filter down to any aid projects funded by EU governments.

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I wonder if there is a big difference between the analog and the digital world.
For me personally, it is always an effort to decide if a decision to be taken affects fundamental human rights (which cannot be discussed) or not.
If it does not, our aim should be to respect regional/national/local regulations. But to do this, wen need to talk and learn from locals.
Not sure, if I got your point. I just think, on a meta-level, the question of ethics is the same. So, on an abstract level, the way to get the right way is also the same. Ask - listen - talk, and measeure against human rights.

There are several initiatives regarding algorithms on this level in Europe.

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Thanks for sharing the link @Stanfield this is very useful. I agree that this is a good starting point, the data protection regulation will certainly influence the way data is handled in the future.

Thanks for your insights @Jele I like that your response encompasses fundamental human rights which should be upheld at all times.

This discussion was based on the digital ecosystem and your point around respecting geographic regulations is valid. Just a thought that it would be helpful if such regulations were documented and shared in a central repository. This would ensure that digital practitioners are not re-inventing the wheel every time they seek to implement local or national digital projects.

My experience with central repositories is not all positive :slight_smile:
It is helpful only if data is always up-to-date. And there are not always resources to ensure this. And as a user of the repository, you cannot know if the regulations are current or outdated.
In principle, I agree with your idea, @lkathoki, but cannot yet see a way to get there :wink:

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