An open letter to the House of Commons Science and Technology committee

I am writing to you on behalf of the BCS, the Chartered Institute of IT, with regard to the Science and Technology Committee’s report ‘The Big Data Dilemma’. I would like to meet in person with you to share our ideas for bringing to life the Committee’s recommendations and I was particularly interested in the idea of a ‘Council of Data Ethics’.

The increased interest and attention that Parliamentarians have given personal data in recent months is very welcome and important. We fundamentally believe that the human stories at the heart of personal data are misunderstood and neglected and  our own recently commissioned YouGov research revealed that 89% of the UK population agreed with the statement "I should be able to control what data a company collects about me online, and what it uses this data for".

You may be interested to hear that since submitting our response to the Science and Technology Committee inquiry, the BCS has launched A ‘Personal Data Challenge’. This topic is at the heart of what our society will look like in future, rather than an esoteric technology debate. Our goal is to achieve the full potential of data by seeking the best possible public benefit; we want to achieve the best outcomes for the most people with the least risk and harm.

As part of our Challenge, we want to further understand the relationships people have with their data, and respectively with organisations that control that data, to discover the underlying issues as to why trust and public confidence remains low, despite nearly 50 years of debate and raise awareness of the role data will play in our society. Only once we understand the human story of data, can we begin to develop solutions and create relationships of trust that will help society realise the full potential of data.

BCS is a charity with a Royal Charter. Its mission is to make IT better for society. It does this through leadership on societal and professional issues, working with communities and promoting excellence. BCS brings together industry, academics, practitioners, educators and government to share knowledge, promote new thinking, educate, shape public policy and inform the public.

This Personal Data Challenge is something that we would like to work directly on with yourself and your Committee colleagues. We also welcome the opportunity to meet with you in the near future to explore how we can bridge from identifying issues raised in the Committee’s report such as trust to addressing them and utilising data for public benefit.

Yours Sincerely,

David Evans
BCS Policy and Community Director

Further Reading:

BCS commissioned YouGov Survey - Data Collection

BCS Challenges: Personal Data - Expert Workshop (8 February 2016)

BCS Challenges: Personal Data

There are no comments on this item

Leave Comment

Post a comment

About the author

Thoughts on membership, the profession, and the occasional pseudo-random topic from the BCS Policy and Community Director.

See all posts by David Evans

Search this blog

October 2017
M
T
W
T
F
S
S
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31