Digital ethics, together with privacy, are one of Gartner’s top ten strategic technology trends for 2019. Digital ethics was also the key theme of the 2018 International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. In the world of Cybersecurity, we are acutely aware of what privacy means but are we so clear about digital ethics? The current discourse on digital ethics focusses on the intended ethical breaches resulting in damage to consumer trust – in other words ‘not doing right’ and typically translates into a code of ethics. However digital ethics reaches far beyond this. With digital ethics comes the added variables typically associated with the potential misuse of big data and artificial intelligence translated into the ethical implications of things which may not yet exist, or things which may have impacts we cannot predict. Organisations continue to struggle to recognize and anticipate the unintended ethical issues associated with digital technologies. For instance, who twenty years ago would have anticipated the ethical issues now associated with current digital technologies such as reduced social skills, addiction, bullying and loss of self-determination – or in a broader digital context – the emerging erosion of democracy and the socio-political divisiveness of national security surveillance?
The biggest challenge right now is in thinking we can regulate digital ethics with compliance type checklists. This is because digital technologies are not neutral; they enshrine a vision and reflect a worldview which cannot be checklisted. Unless the creators of digital technologies are given the means to develop and foster an autonomous vision that reflects their values we will inevitably drift towards digital autocracy. What if, instead of checklists we could construct a navigational tool which guides our teams to focus, and refocus, on key areas more likely to be vulnerable to ethical compromise? Drawing on nascent research from the Omidyar Network and Institute for the Future, an overview of the ‘Ethical OS’ toolkit is presented including an overview of the process of undertaking a digital ethics review. This toolkit doesn’t make an organisation ‘ethical’ but it does provide the organisation with an essential guide for its digital endeavours now and into an unknown future.
Valerie is an accomplished information security risk manager with extensive senior-level experience in the financial services sector. She has a proven track record in delivering business-driven information security services.
Her experience spans compliance, corporate and ICT governance, data protection, information privacy, cyber auditing, cyber project management, cyber risk management, cyber strategy and leadership and business process controls. Valerie designs and delivers a suite of bespoke technical data protection training programmes and workshops covering a vast range of topics such as Data Protection, ISO 27001, and general cybersecurity awareness.
Valerie is currently pursuing a PhD in DCU, researching organisation privacy protection. Valerie is a certified CISSP for almost 20 years, and holds a Master of Science in Business Leadership from University College Cork. She also holds a number of post graduate diplomas from the Irish Management Institute; 1) Cloud Computing Strategy, 2) Executive Coaching, and 3) Executive Leadership. Her undergrad is a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems from Trinity College Dublin.