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Expert Group “Data Ethics” meeting 24.06.21

The 18th meeting of the expert group “Data Ethics” took place online on June 24, 2021 in the afternoon. We were joined by 8 participants.

Markus Christen started the meeting by informing about the status of the discussion with different Swiss associations about the adoption of the “Code of Ethics for Data-Based Value Creation”. As a specific measure, Swico has created a short version of the Code that will go public soon. The expert group is currently working on use cases to demonstrate applicability of the Codex.

Then the expert group discussed the scheduling of the public event on “AI in Human Resources”. The current plan is to organize the meeting between September and November, based on the availability of the speakers and on the pandemic situation. The Alliance will be informed about the meeting as soon as the availability of the speakers has been clarified.

Of particular interest was the input of two companies – SBB and Mobiliar – on current data ethics practices. Carmela Wey (SBB) demonstrated how SBB used the ethical code as a basis for developing different measures within the data strategy and the analytics strategy. In both strategies, ethical issues are now being addressed, and concrete implementation activities have been started.

Karin Lange (Mobiliar) then outlined how digital responsibility can be implemented in a company as a culture. She explained that, when starting the discussion about data ethics in Mobiliar, privacy and data security issues were broadly accepted, but doing more than this was difficult to accept for many. The situation changed when people realized that data ethics is of central importance in gaining and keeping the trust of the customers. Here, ethical issues beyond the minimum legal requirements are becoming important. Also, Mobiliar used our Ethical Codex as basis for deriving 6 data ethics principles which are now being implemented within the organization. Analogous to the mandatory compliance training, Mobiliar has implemented the mandatory training in data ethics issues, for all employees.

Finally, Markus Christen presented the project of creating a White Paper on Ethical, Legal and Social Issues of Big Data as an output of the ELSI Task Force of the National Research Programme 75 “Big Data” (target audience: policy makers). We are inviting short comments for the White Paper – in case of interest, please contact Markus Christen.