The creation of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation was announced in late 2017. The Government launched its Consultation on the Centre in June 2018, seeking the views of interested groups from across society regarding how the Centre should operate, and which work it should prioritise.
Summary of the Turing’s submission
The Institute’s response addresses each question posed by the Consultation, and focuses on two areas that we feel we are particularly suited to advise on: how the new Centre should work, and which issues in data ethics it should focus on.
On how the Centre should work, we raise questions around the overall resources that the Centre will have at its disposal, how it is structured, and to what extent research will be undertaken by the Centre itself versus by outside groups on the Centre’s behalf. We argue that among the Centre’s proposed functions, its mandate to “publish recommendations to Government” and to “provide expert advice and support to regulators” will allow it to differentiate itself in an increasingly crowded field of digital ethics.
On which issues it should work on, we agree that the Centre’s identification of six areas of interest represents a good overview of the current state of the field. We also highlight other areas, including accountability, proportionality, and consent, which we feel are relatively underemphasised in the Consultation, and argue that some of the existing themes require more conceptual clarity.
Our response also includes comments on the legal and political basis of the new Centre, the ways in which it might engage with stakeholders, and how it should deliver its recommendations to Government.