"If it ends up ... lacking the requisite backbone to speak truth to power"
then the govt will have be seen to have "done something" without upsetting any lobbyists.
Amid myriad bodies offering advice, opinions and rulings on the use of data springing up all over the shop, the government used the Budget to announce plans to create yet another. The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation is described (PDF) as "a world-first advisory body to enable and ensure safe, ethical innovation in …
19 May 2016, the Cabinet Office published 'Data Science Ethical Framework' , a document which betrays not the slightest understanding of ethics, is ethics-free and provides no framework whatever, ethical or otherwise. This farrago was issued over Matt Hancock's signature and makes no contribution to the debate about disclosing personal information.
The CIA, among others, have looked into ethics and determined that there are lots of theories with just one common factor – do as you would be done by. Seems like a good starting point. Not mentioned by the Cabinet Office, who must have already forgotten care.data.
The only ethical theory mentioned in the UK in connection with public services is the ghastly utilitarianism, "that action is right which promotes the greatest happiness of the greatest number". Utilitarianism justifies the tyranny of the majority : "Lenin and Hitler were pious utilitarians, as were Stalin and Mao, as are most members of the Mafia". Avoid.
"'Data Science Ethical Framework' , a document which betrays not the slightest understanding of ethics, is ethics-free and provides no framework whatever, ethical or otherwise."
The difficult bit was got rid of in the title. It sounds like a very competent piece of work.
Generously we should allow them a year from first recruitment.
If after that time they haven't pronounced on the major elements of the Surveillance State - such as ANPR - and ruled its implementation unethical on the basis of its obvious Accountability Theatre, then its credibility will be on a par with fig leaves...
"Again, aside from the fact it would be refreshing to see the government choose someone who isn't a white man pushing 50 for this kind of role,"
Whilst the track record of government quango appointees is poor, I think you'll find that's not about age or gender, but because they're picked for being uncontroversial, and often have no experience in the area that they're regulating, and an education in something useless (like classics, PPE and similar). AFAICS, the performance of female and ethnic minority minsters and MPs appears every bit as patchy, mediocre and self interested as their male and white counterparts. And thus far, Sharon White's not exactly bucking any trend at Ofcom.
I propose a ban on the unattractive. Competence won't be arriving any time soon whatever we do, so lets at least rid ourselves of people who look dull, and dress to unimpress. Under my Hunks and Babes Guaranteed Interview Scheme, and my "photograph before CV" selection process, the outlook will definitely be a whole lot brighter.
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