Data and Technology Ethics Inquiry Steering Group meeting

The Data and Technology Ethics Inquiry held the first meeting of its Steering Group in Parliament earlier this week.

Jonathan Shaw, Policy Connect’s Chief Executive Officer, opened the meeting by introducing the work of Policy Connect, highlighting the purpose of the Inquiry, as well as thanking Deloitte and Jisc for their sponsorship. Members then introduced themselves and spoke about their professional background and interest in the Inquiry.

The group discussed how to ensure that the Inquiry was accessible to as many stakeholders as possible and that a wide range of views were represented. The Inquiry will gather evidence in the following ways:

  • Parliamentary Roundtables
  • Call for written submissions
  • Interviews with leading sector figures

The group also discussed ways of engaging the public about the policy recommendations that will arise from the report. The APGDA will look into compiling surveys to understand people’s views on how to promote ethical data use and technology development.

Everyone present agreed on the importance of ensuring a range of participants from across the four subject areas to ensure a level of constructive debate. The steering group will explore the trade-offs that will emerge from the new policy landscape. The steering group agreed to also ensure that organisations of different sizes are included in the discussions to help stimulate innovative solutions and examine the costs and benefits these changes may result in.

The steering group also recognised the importance of ensuring that crossovers between the four areas are identified and recognising when specific ideas for maintaining trust in one of the sectors could be scaled up to be applied more widely.

At the end of the meeting the steering group noted that there is significant activity in the area of data ethics by many different bodies and that a positive step for the new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation could be to develop a co-ordination role in order to monitor and respond to projects by the organisations in this field and help guide and consolidate work done by different organisations, commissioning as well as responding to work.

The steering group are now looking forward to the first roundtable on education which will take place next week and receiving submissions to the call for evidence which closes on 30 January 2019.