Are big tech’s efforts to show it cares about data ethics another diversion?
You may not have noticed it, but there’s a feeding frenzy under way in the tech world. Traditionally, such frenzies are driven by greed. This one, interestingly, is driven by fear, though you’d never guess that from its cover story, which is that it’s all about “ethics”, specifically the ethics of using (and, more commonly, abusing) personal data. Suddenly, wherever you look, data ethics has become the obsession du jour of governments, tech companies and regulators. Everyone and his dog is now publishing data-ethics guides, codes and pious exhortations.