Trade-offs - usefulness

The balance of what personal information you are willing to give up to use products can be described as a trade-off. Giving your data can be necessary to benefit from digital services. However it can be unclear if a product achieves what it claims to by collecting information. How important is it to have the knowledge and skills to make trade-offs and informed choices when you provide information in order to be able to use an online service? How important is it to organisations and businesses to be able to collect and make use of data?

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

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  • Posted by Ingrid December 10, 2020 at 11:03

    See comments under Freedom of Choice idea, I think trade offs & freedom of choice as a balancing act, but organisations do require a base level of information to provide services
  • Posted by SOCITM December 16, 2020 at 18:19

    This accords with Socitm’s wider call for both societal and placed base ethics to be address when considering trade-offs as follows: - On Societal Ethics trade-offs should examine the impacts of digital technology and data analytics on wider society. It thus deals with the acceptability of digital innovations and solutions, human rights and agency, the environmental/energy footprints of digital tools, and wider issue of social inclusion. Has an approach designed to improve the environmental footprint of the IT system been introduced? • Identify a manager and draw up an action plan including raising the awareness of all IT department staff and users, building on recognised standards • Factor in environmental impact when entering into any contract that has consequences for the environmental footprint of the IT system Does the evaluation of the IT system's environmental impacts cover primary energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water, the depletion of abiotic resources, paper and WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment)? • Conduct a regular assessment of the environmental footprint of the IT system based on recognised and auditable indicators Is the societal impact of projects (origin of materials, partners’ good practices) taken into account? • Carry out a societal impact assessment of projects Is an assessment carried out of the impact of innovations on jobs in the company, especially when automation occurs? • Forecast, with the help of teams specialising in forward planning and strategy, the impacts of technological change on the organisation’s jobs and activities. • Include the impacts of automation and more broadly of digital technology in strategic workforce planning Are addiction phenomena factored into the design of digital solutions? • Formally discourage the use of “dark patterns” (interface design tricks intended to trick the user) Are the risks of human cognitive biases factored into the design of digital solutions? • Ensure that digital applications and solutions have not been designed in such a way as to deliberately manipulate users by exploiting cognitive biases Place-based digital ethics The unprecedented rise of smart information systems impacts increasingly on ethics and human rights issues. AI and robotics are already widely adopted but, until recent high-profile incidents, often go largely unnoticed. Coupled with the introduction of these technologies is the ability to leverage better insights from the burgeoning amounts of data that they generate. Our responsibility in the public sector should be to prepare for the changes that result from the use and application of these technologies, using data in a more meaningful way and ensuring that we are embracing these capabilities to make improvements in public service delivery and outcomes. As a consequence, the need to understand and promote the ethical use of emerging technologies and the data they generate and store has never been more important. We need to embed ethical resilience at the very heart of our response to these unprecedented digitally-driven opportunities and challenges. We need to improve our digital capabilities internally and grow our workforce competencies. We also need to prepare and redesign our services, so that the whole of society can benefit with better outcomes from these revised practices and ways of working. Above all, we need to design, develop, deploy and deliver place-based solutions and services that are built around core values of doing good not harm, human rights, justice, fairness, trust and transparency. This calls for more than just a tick-list approach. Local public services need to understand the wider ethical landscape and champion digital ethical practice at the very heart of place-based approaches to responsible use of technology and data for public good. Above all, it requires us to understand and promote the ethical use of emerging technologies; proactively looking afresh at how we use the data they generate and store, and the public service designs, processes and interactions they enable. The need to consider how all this applies to the outcomes generated and how we can ensure public benefit by successfully addressing societal challenges, supporting planetary sustainability and minimising unintended consequences, as advocated in the emerging concept of Doughnut Economics and City Portraits, which seeks to model ethical ways in which “people and planet can thrive in balance”. Themes which also align with Scotland’s own National Performance Framework and its commitment to “reduce inequalities and give equal importance to economic, environmental and social progress”, In response to these challenges Socitm is developing ethical digital place making “doughnut” model and digital ethics resources built around the central pillar the of ethical use of emerging technologies and data. see more at
  • Posted by NCooper December 18, 2020 at 13:39

    It's important to be able to have informed choice when it comes to who you share data with. Personal IoT devices can be useful in supporting independence, health and care and citizens make the trade off to get the benefit from these. However this often isn't an informed choice, more of a leap of faith that the product manufacturer will do no harm.
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