Chapter 16. Informed Consent and Data Literacy Education Are Crucial to Ethics
A key element to ethics of any kind is the idea of “informed consent” from the participants who are giving of themselves for the benefit of others. Informed consent is a central part of research ethics for any federally funded research or for the research that takes place inside most universities and colleges, but it is typically not required in research undertaken by private companies.
In the case of data ethics, it has not always been clear that individuals understand (or are even interested in) the terms and conditions they accept when downloading a new app or cookies on their web browser. Although “click-thru” consent has become an accepted way to pass legal tests, it does not always pass the ethical test of ensuring that people have an understanding of those terms and conditions. Thanks to initiatives like GDPR in Europe and the CCPA in the US, people are more aware of hidden terms and conditions and have ways of opting out of certain types of tracking. While people are happy to click “OK” to get things “for free,” they have limited understanding that they are “paying” by giving access to their data, which is being used and/or resold to pay for their access. At the moment, there are still only limited options ...