DataEthics is a not for profit politically independent ThinkDoTank based in Denmark with a European (and global) outreach.
The purpose of DataEthics is to ensure the human value in a world of data, based on a European legal and value-based framework. We do so by focusing on collecting, creating and communicating knowledge about data ethics in close interaction with international institutions, organisations and academia.
The mission is constructive and action oriented in nature and supports knowledge exchange and creation and cooperation on a sustainable and data ethical future with individual citizen control at the centre. The ThinkDoTank was founded in August 2015. It is run by three female team members, with an interdisciplinary Advisory Board.
What does DataEthics do?
The last couple of years DataEthics has focused on creating a knowledge foundation and network for an ethical data business and policy approach. We do this by mapping and promoting alternative privacy tech, human centric and ethical data driven solutions; with conferences; representation in various EU and global initiatives/conferences; and content production (such as our newsletter and website). We are also currently actively involved in the shaping of data ethics standards initiatives and networks.
DataEthics was created in reaction to the current data driven online development characterised by invisible data processing where people have no control nor insight into the interests behind, no knowledge of how their data is used and with what consequences it has for them as individuals. This leads to an increasing data asymmetry and information power imbalance, which is a democratic problem in essence.
Research / Academic
DataEthics provides critical independent evidence for policy and business development. We are developing our evidence and research section. The objective of DataEthics Research is to conduct and publish interdisciplinary constructive research with a trans-technical and sectoral focus on data technology and practices. This includes identifying, engaging and collaborating with key academic and research actors in the field. Our research and evidence will constitute a comprehensible framework that can be adapted and implemented in DataEthics as shared as a model for other organizations working with data ethics.
In DataEthics we want to inspire, be practical and constructive, and therefore we use business cases in our work (e.g. in information material and conferences). We don’t represent these companies, nor do we endorse all their company practices. We select the cases as examples of specific company practices, trends and approaches that are shaping a data ethical paradigm shift. We are in a beta phase and not one company has yet found the optimal solution. Every beginning takes time, just as it did with the products and companies that arose from the first inkling of environmental awareness.
See also the book Data Ethics- The New Competitive Advantage (Hasselbalch, Tranberg, 2016)
Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous Decisionmaking
DataEthics has a core focus on AI as the evolution of complex data processing extended in human decisionmaking within politics, economics, identity and culture. We participate in the various initiatives that form the important standardisation process of AI and produce relevant content to raise awareness of the data ethical implications of AI and promote constructive data ethical solutions. For example the IEEE P7006 standard on personal AI agents.
How is DataEthics funded?
Currently DataEthics is formally established as a voluntary association (“frivillig forening”) in Denmark with a limited budget. Our events are sponsored ad hoc. We do not accept sponsorship from companies that we consider not to handle data ethically. The ThinkDoTank receives a fee for new Danish members of Danish IT Association that signs up via DataEthics. This covers basic administration costs.
In October 2018 DataEthics received a grant to develop the organisation from the Foundation Open Society Institute in cooperation with the Information Program of the Open Society Foundations.
In November 2019, DataEthics received a grant from Luminate, part of the Omidyar Group for a white paper on data ethics in AI public procurement.
In early 2020, DataEthics has established together with a few carefully selected industry actors a closed network in which best data ethics practices are exchanged. DataEthics recieves a small administration fee for coordinating this network. More information on this to come.
In 2020-2021 DataEthics is participating as ethics partner and receiving a fee for the participation in the project Det digital etik kompas (The Digital Ethics Compass) funded by the Danish Industry Foundation.
The individuals of the team behind DataEthics run the thinkdotank on a voluntary basis. In connection with specific dedicated funded projects they recieve limited honorariums for hours spent.