Research by data consultancy Profusion has revealed that the vast majority of UK business leaders are struggling to use data ethically within their organisation.
The research follows the launch of Profusion’s ‘Good Data Guide’ in partnership with Pinsent Masons LLP. The Guide, which was made in consultation with representatives from London Stock Exchange Group, Oscar O’Connor & Co and others, provides a practical framework for how organisations of any size can use data ethically.
Despite 79 per cent of businesses declaring that they wanted to address data ethics challenges, only 31 per cent stated it was among their top three governance priorities.* When asked what the biggest barriers to addressing data ethics were, 36 per cent said lack of internal knowledge and expertise, 31 per cent lack of training and 30 per cent lack of perceived relevance. One in four said they were concerned that innovation was being held back by a lack of ethical and regulatory understanding, while 26 per cent are concerned they do not use data ethically when marketing to their customers
Of the 83 per cent of businesses that said they felt morally uncomfortable with how their organisation used data, 9 per cent said it was a daily occurrence, 25 per cent weekly and 16 per cent monthly. 33 per cent said they feared their algorithms were not being scrutinised for issues such as bias.
Other findings in the research include:
- Only 16 per cent of businesses said data ethics was the responsibility of their CEO/MD – this increased to 29 per cent for companies with more than 1,000 employees
- 36 per cent of organisations said that diversity within their data team was ‘very good’ with a further 51 per cent stating it was ‘somewhat good’
*Top three priorities cited by businesses were cyber security (42 per cent), risk management (41 per cent) and diversity and inclusion (41 per cent)