Tech Ranch Data Ethics Center
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This free resource was created by data ethics training firm Ethicause to help Tech Ranch entrepreneurs better understand just how important data ethics could be to your ventures.

And not just data ethics for big data and AI. Consumers, investors, partners, and the media - all are increasingly aware of the need for all businesses, including startups, to demonstrate their commitment to the ethical collection, use, and sharing of information.

This resource was created to help guide you and your teams towards being more ethical stewards of data.

Your free resources include:
  • Short videos explaining what being data ethical really means and how to achieve it.
  • Easy checklists to help you build your own ethical stance and principles.
  • Samples of data ethics oaths to make it easier to share your ethical values with others.
  • On-demand webinars on the latest developments and thinking on data ethics.
  • Links to great articles and insights to help you better understand how to be truly ethical.


The Value of Data Ethics Oaths

There’s growing discussion about the importance of taking and abiding by oaths of data ethics, similar to the Hippocratic Oath taken by medical professionals.

The great benefit of a data ethics oath is that it can reduce to just a few lines or succinct statements what your moral and ethical attitude is towards data. Which hopefully will make it easier to be moral and ethical.

Here’s a simple example from Bain and Co:

I recognize that data science has material consequences for individuals and society, so no matter what project or role I pursue, I will use my skills for their well-being.

I will consider the privacy, dignity and fair treatment of individuals when selecting the data permissible in a given application, putting those considerations above the model’s performance.

I have a responsibility to bring data transparency, accuracy and access to consumers, including making them aware of how their personal data is being used.

I will invest my time and promote the use of resources in my organization to monitor and test data models for any unintended social harm that the modeling may cause.

Click here to download (PDF) other helpful examples of data ethics oaths.


Why Data Ethics Is Great For Business

In a groundbreaking 2016 study The Business Value of Trust, Cognizant concluded  “Trust has become the new battleground for digital success. To win, organizations need to master the fundamentals of data ethics. Companies that earn consumer trust will be better suited to weather the inevitable — and yes, they are inevitable — data and policy breaches.”

For a great summary of how data ethics can be a powerful competitive advantage (IDC), and a strategic business weapon (Tech Crunch), check out Cognizant's report (PDF).


Some Background Reading On Data Ethics

A Rising Crescendo Demands Data Ethics and Data Responsibility (Forbes)

Where is the human in the data? A guide to ethical data use (National Institutes of Health)

It’s Time to Talk About Data Ethics (Oracle)

Data Ethics Will be the New Competitive Advantage (IDC)

Is Humanity's "Moral Sense" Inherited or Nurtured? (Psychology Today)

Scientists Probe Human Nature--and Discover We Are Good, After All (Scientific American)

Even The Data Ethics Initiatives Don't Want To Talk About Data Ethics (Forbes)


If you have any questions or need any more information on the topic of data ethics, feel free to contact Neal O'Farrell, the founder of Ethicause, at neal at