Freedom of choice

As more services move online do people have a genuine choice whether they use a digital service or not? Choosing not to provide personal data to certain companies, or in certain circumstances, can limit your ability to access products and services. For example, having to create an account in order to view a website. How important is having the right to choose what information is provide to a service in order to access and use it?

Why the contribution is important

The Scottish Government has committed to engaging with citizens and public, private and third sector organisations and is interested to hear your thoughts on this topic.

by Sophie_ScotGov on December 08, 2020 at 08:51AM

Current Rating

Average rating: 5.0
Based on: 3 votes


  • Posted by Ingrid December 10, 2020 at 10:57

    Choice is important, however there is also a certain amount of information that is required in order to produce the service, a reduced service or no service could be the result - identity is a critical element of provision of services or goods, so a minimal amount is required - what's then important is what is minimal viability for the provision of service - the individual then has a choice - or what additional services additional information will open up - again this gives the individual a choice - but I don't think it's possible to provide services with no data
  • Posted by Anthony December 14, 2020 at 14:22

    Data is the key to being able to create tailored services but I think there should always be an option for those who choose not to share data online or those who cannot access digital services through choice or through lack of opportunity. Denial of essential services should never be considered. Offline options should maintain services and identify barriers to entry for online which can be continually explored. Offline user journeys should include clear communication of the benefits of digital routes to build trust and encourage future engagement.
  • Posted by SOCITM December 16, 2020 at 18:04

    This accords with Socitm’s digital ethical practice attribute of Autonomy = Preserve human agency. To make choices, people need to have sufficient knowledge and understanding. It is important to involve stakeholders and interest groups in ethical risk assessment and design. Key Themes: Consent, choice, enhancing human agency and self-determination • Because we value the ability for humans to be autonomous and self-governing (positive liberty), humans’ freedom from external restrictions (negative liberties, such as freedom of movement or freedom of association). • Underpinning this is the fact that each individual has an inherent worth and we should not undermine respect for human life (human dignity), we need to ensure that AI and big data systems do not negatively affect human agency, liberty, and dignity. Areas of Focus: • Human Agency users should be able to make informed autonomous decisions regarding smart information systems • Human oversight: may be achieved through governance mechanisms such as human-on-the-loop, human-in-the-loop, human-in command • Ensure the protection of the stakeholders’ human agency and positive liberty by keeping them informed, ensuring that they are neither deceived nor manipulated, and can meaningfully control the system; • Ensure the protection of the stakeholders’ negative liberty by ensuring that they have the freedom to use the system and that they are not restrained in functionality and opportunity; • Ensure the protection of the stakeholders’ human dignity by ensuring that the system is not used to directly or indirectly affect or reduce their autonomy or freedom, and does not violate their self-respect. see more at
  • Posted by KirstenHunter December 18, 2020 at 09:48

    Individuals should not be discriminated against if they choose not to share data. Everyone should have the right to choose, without a reduction in access to services.
  • Posted by simonbarrow December 18, 2020 at 15:53

    Data is crucial to the provision of services. Sometimes this can work in anonymised ways, but not always. People should always know what data they are sharing, why, howe, where it is stored and how it is accountable. The right not to share data should exist as far as possible, without discrimination. Essential services should never be withhold. There will be data privacy trade-offs in some areas, but these should never be concealed and should always be open to challenge. Building trust through clear information and transparent processes, including data recall, is important in making this work practically.
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